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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

I am Legend

When “I am Legend” hit theaters last December it broke all kinds of box office records, eventually raking in nearly $600 million worldwide. But if there is one thing Hollywood proves time and time again, it’s that just because a movie is a financial blockbuster, it doesn’t mean that it’s good.

“I am Legend” is set in New York City in the not-so-distant future, where an unstoppable manmade virus has left the city completely deserted. Will Smith plays Robert Neville, a military scientist who is naturally immune to the virus, and may just be that last man on Earth.

Accompanied by his faithful dog, Sam, his sole companion, Neville spends the majority of his days hunting the wild animals that populate Manhattan and searching for supplies in the abandoned city. When he isn’t out scrounging for food or taking joyrides in any of the thousands of cars that litter the streets, Neville is in his basement laboratory attempting to find a cure for the terrible disease. Those who have survived the virus are left as zombie-like creatures who hunt the uninfected by night.

The depiction of Neville’s routine is sadly repetitive, and far too much time is spent on his solitude, which quite honestly doesn’t seem all that bad. And while seeing a completely abandoned New York City is a cool sight (much credit must be given to the special effects team who did an amazing job), it doesn’t provide much excitement for viewers expecting to see an action movie.

Despite the fact that Neville is well armed, there are surprisingly few action scenes involving the infected, and most of the real excitement is saved for the final battle, a last stand for Neville, and for humanity.

The story is predictable, and there aren’t any real plot twists thrown at the audience to keep viewers guessing. Even the inevitable scene involving Neville and Sam (a tug at the heart strings that no screenwriter could resist), can be seen coming a mile away.

Smith portrays the isolated last-man-alive well enough, especially when you consider his sole co-star is a German Shepherd, but the story fails to keep things exciting. The final act seemed like it was slapped together at the last minute, as all of a sudden the script seems to change directions. The ending is a disappointment and nowhere near as satisfying as the Richard Matheson novel the film is (loosely) based on.

The DVD release offers few bonus features to entice prospective viewers. The single disc release adds four short animated comics based on the world of the film that are somewhat entertaining, but only last a combined total of about 10 minutes. The two-disc release meanwhile offers three deleted scenes and an alternate ending, which are nice, but there is no commentary, interviews, behind the scenes features, or anything substantial for those who have already seen the film in theaters.

Sadly, “I am Legend” is anything but legendary. And while it may have been popular upon its release, it is a story that will be quickly forgotten.