Nobody's brought up the recent movie version (the third!) of Richard Matheson's classic novel I Am Legend. Read the book after I saw and liked the second version (the one with Charlton Heston)...took awhile to appreciate the book's intrinsic qualities, but I managed after a few years.
I probably won't see the movie until it comes out on DVD, but, from the reviews and ad copy, seems this version once again missed a vital point. The character played in this version by Will Smith was kind of an everyman, just your Average Joe who finds himself the only human in a world of vampires...but all three movie versions make him some kind of scientist, involved in some way in the plague that has descended on the world and created this situation.
I haven't read the book, and didn't know until now it had been previously made into a movie. Maybe I'll check out the CH one.
At any rate, I think there's a perception that in order to be a blockbuster it has to be dumbed down a little. It has to be the sort of movie that the average man can relate to (sorry, scientists!). It's sad, and I think it's just another symptom and cause of spoon-feeding entertainment.
Also, Will Smith is hot in Hollywood these days. It makes me wonder if they didn't have someone like him in mind when they wrote the movie. He's got the "every man" character down pretty well--it's exactly what he played in Independence Day, Men in Black, etc. etc.
I'm a big fan of the book. My sister described the movie to me. It sounds faithful to the book right up the end, where they replace Matheson's awesome, thought-provoking, ending twist with some dumbed down, generic, Hollywood powerbook nonsense. So this movie definitely misses the point.
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I heard, somewhere between the original post and now, that this version is not so much based on the novel, but based on the second movie version, the Charlton Heston one. (The first had Vincent Price.) So it's been filtered through one coffemaker, then filtered through another one...
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Should also mention that there was an "I Am Legend" project kicking around for a few years a few years ago, set to star Arnold Schwarzeneggar...don't know if this one is connected with that in any way...
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I saw the movie and would love to talk about the movie, but I've never read the book. I need to, it was a very interesting premise, but there were many things I felt were loosely handled that are probably covered better in the book. In particular, I understand that the book had some concepts of the vampire/night-walker characters as seeking to create a new society, accepting their new vampireness, and viewing the attempts to "cure" them as wrong. But there's really only a teensy tiny hint to that in the movie, no exploration of that theme.
I thought there were some things about the movie that were done very well. Will Smith is a great actor, he carries the movie almost completely solo (with a canine companion) - like Tom Hanks in Castaway.
But then there were other things that made me wonder what the filmmakers were thinking. One review I read said the flashbacks detracted from the feel of the movie, the feel of a post-apocalypse world, all that. I think they're right. But it is interesting how the writers decided to handle the need for backstory through flashbacks. I can see why that's kind of considered a cheat in fiction circles I frequent (here being one of those places, LOL.)
Anyway - has anyone else seen the film? Want to talk details? Should we take it to another thread to alert for possible spoilers?
The book had extensive flashbacks...it's not an inauthentic element...not that, in the book, the lead character ever got more than a slim grasp of how it all happened. He figured out how to be a better vampire hunter...and the "new society" KayTi mentions does come up. The Price and Heston versions both added some details that were inauthentic, in my view...
(I won't bother going to the movies to see this---I only rarely go to the movies at all, the last being the last "Star Wars" movie, I think---but will almost certainly pick up the DVD when it's available. I look forward to seeing it in the comfort of my own home. I'm starting to shop for a new TV set with HD...maybe I'll have that by then...)
Funny story about the novel: The copy I had came with a bonus-short story at the end. Evidently the demarcation between the two was a little bit blurry, because I kept on reading and was very confused by the fact that the story was suddenly taking place somewhere else, with different characters.
I just recently watched the Will Smith version of the movie myself. I haven't read the book yet, but it seems worth tracking down at the local library.
I found the movie entertaining but rather unmemorable honestly. It was a fun ride, and in any true Hollywood style includes some fun and intresting action moments. The ending was a bit of a let down honestly, as it seems that modern movies are afraid to explore diffrent branches of endings that don't involve leaving the audience happy.
I think alot of this comes from the process of filming multiple endings and then screening them with a test audience and polling them on which ending they more enjoyed. Could you imagine if authors did such things?
A couple of questions I had for people who read the book. (Warning the next couple of paragraphs contain spoilers)
There was a weird sort of sub plot with Will Smith's character having manequin friends to help keep him from loosing it and at least maintain an illusion of social interaction. Was that in the book? And did they elaborate more on his seemingly strange degeneration into madness, where the dummy 'set up the trap' that almost got him killed.
Also, when I saw the previews, I was hoping the story might actually end with Will Smith, as the title itself seems to hint at. Humans being only legend. Reading a book about a man chronicling the death of humanity, and him being the sole survivor seems compelling, if not a bit depressing. Did the book touch on this?
1) No mannequins, but the book seriously explores the psychological consequences of being alone that long. He defnitely degenerates into what would have been considered insane, if human society still existed to judge it
2) This is what the book IS ALL ABOUT. Sounds like the movie missed it completely./=