Movie review for I am a legend Essay
I Am Legend
The search for answers to our numerous questions can have variable consequences. The movie, “I Am Legend” dealt with the escapades and struggle for survival of the supposedly “last man alive” in New York City, and pressumably of the whole world. The film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel gave us an insight on the effect of man’s quest for knowledge to cure Cancer. This was directed by Francis Lawrence; the same director who did Constantine.
The movie is about Robert Neville (Will Smith), a U.S. Army Officer, who believed that he was the last person alive on earth. The movie chronicles the daily struggle of Robert, together with his dog Sam, to survive against the raging infected humans. This vampiric infestation manifested when the supposedly cure for Cancer was made. After some time, this cure turned humans into bloodsucking carnivores who were apparently afraid of light. Fortunately, Robert Neville and his dog Samantha were immuned to this plague. Being the supposedly “only survivors”, Robert wonders how the disease had no effect on him and Sam.
Three years after the cure for cancer turned most humans into zombies, we see Robert and Samantha wander off the streets of New York enjoying the whole city to themselves. During the day, he goes around the empty city looking for food and supplies, while attempting to send radio messages to possible survivors. Before he gets home, he pours alcohol on everything he passes by to avoid being followed. During the night, he secures his home with steel barricades to keep the infected from consuming him. Sometime while confined in his house, he takes the opportunity of finding a cure to the said plague using his own blood.
Unfortunately, during one of their escapades, Sam was bitten by an infected dog. It turned out that canines when bitten, were not immuned to the infection. They were only immuned to its airborne effect. Soon after, Sam started to shed her thick coat of hair and eventually started her outrage. Robert had no choice but to inject her with a lethal dose to save them both. This particular instance led Robert to commit suicide. He offered himself to the bloodsucking infected humans, but unfortunately was still saved. It turned out that he was not the only one alive. A lady and a little boy survived the plague, just like him.
Robert still felt desolated despite the fact that he was not alone. Eventually, they were followed home and were viciously attacked by the infected bloodsucking humans. Prepared as he was, Robert battled out with the numerous bloodsuckers who attacked his home. He was left with no choice but to either sacrifice himself or save the lady and the little boy. In the end, he chose to sacrifice his life in order to save the latter. Before his death, he gave the lady his “cure” for the said infection.
The kind of performance that Will Smith executed was far more the best amongst the roles he played before. After his compelling role in “The Pursuit of Happyness”, he comes back with “I Am Legend” as a scientist determined to find a cure for a plague that caused the destruction of mankind. Will Smith’s performance in this film showed his versatility to act different roles, from being the funny guy to being the last man alive on earth.
His role as an established and well known scientist was very much effective. From the way he looks, to the way he thinks and moves, we are convinced that indeed, he is someone of great stature. He made us, the audience, feel that it is important for him to find a cure to the harsh infection that destroyed mankind a few years back. One of the scenes that left me teary eyed was when Samantha, Robert Neville’s dog and companion, was bitten by the infected canines. We felt in this scene that Robert (Will Smith) was willing to risk his own life defending the last companion that he had. We saw in the succeeding scenes how hard it was for him to inject Samantha with a lethal dose of the cure. We can feel his depression upon learning that his only surviving friend had died. The key to Will’s effective acting were his eyes. He had very expressive eyes, that when captured by the camera, gives us a glimpse of his feelings, especially for that particular instance.
This movie had a lot of antagonists, so to speak. The infected human beings, outraged and scavenging for food, were the main antagonists in the story. Their main objective was to kill everyone who would come their way. These infected humans used a language that was quite difficult for us to comprehend. Majority of their communication was done by howling or screaching at each other.
Two of the supporting casts who exemplified in their acting were Willow Smith and Alice Braga. Willow Smith plays the role of Marley, the daughter of Robert Neville (Will Smith). On screen, you see the distinguishing chemistry that each has for the other. Willow’s role was only seen in some of the flashbacks, but the intense feeling that she shows through her eyes convinced us, viewers, of how she felt in the movie. The pivotal part of her role was when she had to say goodbye to her father, Robert Neville (Will Smith). You can feel her sadness and the pain of having to say goodbye to her father. I personally found it very touching, and it is one of the best scenes in the movie.
The short appearance that Alice Braga did in the movie was something to be considered. When you see her in the film, you will soon get curious as to who she really is. You begin to assume different ideas about her- from being a nun to being a prim and proper lady. Eventually in the course of the film, we begin to learn that she is an extraordinary lady filled with high hopes and dreams. Her quest for answers paved way for her to fight and go on with her life. She is accompanied by the little boy, Ethan (Tahan) to search for the cure of the deadly disease.
Of all the supporting cast members, I could definitely say that one stood out from everyone – “Sam” the German Sheperd. Although no lines were given to the dog, the chemistry that she had with Will Smith was inevitable. Sam performed beyond what was expected of her. I specifically want to put emphasis on the part where Sam followed a deer, and eventually entered a dark warehouse. When Will was calling Sam, she refused to obey him; she had that scared look painted on her face. That part made the viewers scared with what was to happen next. At the same time, we were amused by the fact that she can disobey her master.
Camera angles and the shots taken played a very important role in this film. The dark shots taken gave a sense of gloom and fear to the viewers. The arial shots of New York City made us feel that once in our lives, the big and crowded city can also be empty. This movie was told by flashback. It starts with the present time, with Robert Neville and his dog Sam, driving fast in the empty streets of New York. We then see the flashbacks of what happened during Robert’s frightened days. As viewers, we then feel this sudden loneliness for him, as the protagonist. The approach that was used in this film by the director was very much appropriate for the movie. It gave us this sense of being, and that we should learn to be contented with what we have today.
This movie was extraordinary, but and the astonishing realistic effects exemplified it more. In this film, we see that both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge were destroyed. Even the attractive lights and the thousands of people walking in Times Square were nowhere to be found. All we see in the film was the abandoned city with destroyed billboards and the tall grasses that grew around the once busy city. The make up of the infected people were very much convincing. With proper lighting and camera angles, their make up turned their appearances into that of gore, leaving the viewers frightened.
With all these taken into consideration, I can say that the movie has a achieved its goal of presenting to everyone the effect of wanting to acquire more power. Playing “God” is not placed in man’s hands and should not be thought about. I would recommend this movie to everyone, since the movie has a general message. Both children and the adults alike will enjoy the story and can learn a lot from it. Out of ten popcorn buckets, I give this movie a nine.
I Am Legend. Dir. Francis Lawrence. Perf. Will Smith, Willow Smith, Alice Braga.
Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution, 2007.