Legend ain’t an adjective

by Hober Short

This past Friday, Will Smith psychotically leapt onto silver screens in “I Am Legend”, the latest remakes of some old book no one’s read. Well, it’s a damn good thing that nobody has, otherwise people might be pointing out how different the movie is from the book, which would be bad. (Golden Compass, I’m lookin’ at you.)

In fact, aside from the first three paragraphs of Wikipedia’s summary of the book, they’re very different stories. Vampires have been replaced with monsters reminiscent of the zombies from the 28 x Later movies, listening to records replaced with watching Shrek, and, well, the rest would be spoilers to varying degrees.

At any rate, it’s a very loose adaptation.

That said, I still found it a very satisfactory film. The Fresh Prince can, indeed, play a completely whacko character, with a modicum of skill. And the effects (the savior of any action movie) were uniformly excellent. There is a certain supernatural litheness to the monsters that makes them creepy in a not-quite-human sort of way. These were clearly once humans, but without hair or skin tone, they become something vaguely Gollum-like. Plus the CG deer looked very tasty.

Also, I may be primed to lend post-apocalyptic settings credence due to my recent viewing of Jericho, but the story was, on the whole, believable. The story was, while sometimes silly, on the whole cogent and well-developed. It just wasn’t anything like the book.

I did leave the theater with one bad taste in my mouth, however, and that was how short it felt. Clocking at 100 minutes, it’s at the low end of the spectrum, but by no means record-setting. And given that any DVD release worth its salt adds at least fifteen minutes of content, by the time we see this on our own screens, it’ll probably be expanded to an adequate level. I wouldn’t be surprised if an entire sub-plot was cut out.

On the other hand, given the rich source material, there should have been no shortage of stories to tell. On second thought, it was probably budget driven, since this film also set some kind of records for money spent to record scenes.

Back to the topic at hand, it was an enjoyable stroll down Survivalist Lane that is nothing like its parent, but stands on its own two legs quite well. (Actually, given preliminary box office reports, it is popular enough that it could play DDR on its own two legs.)

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~ by Hober Short on December 17, 2007.

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