Sunday, January 6, 2008
I am legend
I am legend, an adaptation of a 1954 science fiction novel, is one helluva movie. It is based in New york city in the year 2012. A genetically altered virus called 'KV' has spread across the globe, annihilating most of the world population and reducing the rest to cannibalistic zombies. Virologist and US soldier Robert Neville(Will Smith) believes himself to be the only survivor. He lives at the site where the infection hit and fights to discover a cure.
We watch Neville go through his daily routine, with only his dog and mannequins for company... and our hearts go out to him. Will Smith proves himself yet again with an extremely endearing performance. He is the only human actor on screen for the majority of the movie. Despite this isolation and lack of costars, Smith's screen presence is enough to hold the audiences' interest. In fact ,the introduction of two fellow survivors in the form of a Brazilian woman and a little boy actually dampens the intensity of the movie. Smith fares better when he is on his own.
Though the movie has all the makings of a typical horror flick- marauding zombies, rabid dogs, guns and explosions, it goes much beyond that because it is TRULY scary. A mutated virus causing a deadly epidemic, billions of people killed, quarantines and evacuations- such a situation is scary because it could actually happen. In the age of SARS and bird flu, this seems eerily real. Above all, the notion of being all alone, of being the last man on earth, is terribly frightening.
The movie's dramatic end evokes mixed feelings. But the ending can be overlooked because the movie delivers what it promises- 1 and a half hours during which the we become one with Neville- feeling his loneliness, his angst when darkness begins to fall, his frustration when his experiments fail and his sorrow when he loses his family. With all its larger than life sets, neat special effects and hair-raising scenes, it is the human touch of 'I am legend' that makes an impression in the end.