I took the time to watch I Am Legend (2007) yesterday and I must say I found it better than I expected. Especially the first half of the film impressed me while much of what I enjoyed disappeared during the second part. So, why did I enjoy it? First of all the desolate and lonely atmosphere was delivered quite effectively. This is one of those films where the term “sound of silence” seems quite appropriate. The abscence of sounds really ephasize how desolate the city is while also making the viewer much more focused when something is actually making noise. The silence becomes substantial and almost threatening. This combination of an abandoned city and a lonely survivor (who is slowly going mad) felt quite much like a combination of 28 Days Later (2002) and Robinson Crusoe (1719). To me there was also something quite beautiful about the city being retaken by nature; plants and trees cracking through the pavement and animals living amongst the ruined buildings. Will Smith was also quite convincing in his role, perhaps the best performance I’ve seen him do, though to be honest I haven’t seen him in too many films. All in all this sums up the first part of the film. Atmospheric, engaging and good acting.
Then came the second part. I can’t say I found it terrible though not at all as interesting as the first half. Why is that? Well, first of all I didn’t enjoy the “zombies”. One reason was that they were computer animated – I would rather have seen them as actors wearing make-up. Sure, they weren’t supposed to look like traditional zombies, but the CGI created a gap between me and the world of the film. I also didn’t like the fact that the zombies had some kind of “intelligent” leader. This was mostly hinted and didn’t play a very large part in the movie. Still, I found it as an attempt to try and create a more individual antagonist where a individual antagonist wasn’t needed. The horde of zombies was enough. Lastly I had some issues with the hinting at God and some kind of saving providence. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind religion in films and I have no issues with intuition or the sense of some higher being or fate. These are quite natural aspects of how we humans work, especially perhaps in a situation like the one in the film. What I didn’t like was the fact that in the end it didn’t feel as if this belief was situated in the character expressing the providence but it felt more like a general appeal: “In God We Trust” (with all it’s political and cultural implications).
All in all I Am Legend was a quite enjoyable film. No masterpiece but it certainly had it’s good moments.