Monday, December 17, 2007

AverageBro Goes To The Movies: I Am Legend

[With an infant, I don't get to go to the movies at all nowadays. Pre-AverageBaby, I didn't miss an opening weekend. Now, Netflix is my best friend. So, I don't see things in a timely manner, but when I do, you get the best review in town right here.]

Say what you want about Will Smith as a rapper, but if you're hatin' on the man's Hollywood game, well, lets just say you must be related to Andrew Young. Smith is about as close to guaranteed money as you can get in Tinseltown, and judging by the record setting first weekend numbers of I Am Legend, it looks like his track record is safe.

That said, leave the kids at home, because I Am Legend is not your typical Happy Negro Saves The World movie, even though that's the premise.

In this umpteenth film adaptation of the Robert Matheson novel "The Last Man On Earth", Smith plays scientist Dr. Robert Neville. When an incurable manmade virus wipes out the entire population of (where else?) New York City, Neville and his trusty canine companion Sam search the city for survivors by day, while holing themselves in at night, as virus infected, nocturnal, carnivorous mutants come out in search of their blood. It's a far more complicated premise than I just described, but for real, if I gave away much more, I'd be probably spoiling it for someone.

Speaking of spoiling it, I think the movie's advertising is a bit misleading. While the trailers for Legend make it look like another Independence Day, or Men In Black, make no mistake: this is a horror movie. AB likes being scared to death, loves it in fact, but judging by the response of much of the rest of the audience (quite a few of whom had small children and got up and left), maybe the movie could have been more truthfully advertised. I'm just sayin', you've been forewarned.

Anyways, if you're into large scale explosions, dogfights, creepy CGI generated creatures, deer beeing eaten alive, high speed car crashes, eerie ghoulish sounds, and ridonculously blatant product placement, this is the movie for you. And if you like being scared s*****ss, you might wanna leave work right now and go peep the matinee.

I know sci-fi/horror movies, especially ones with $250M budgets are never seriously considered for awards, but Smith's role as Robert Neville is probably even better than his work in The Pursuit of Happyness. Seriously. Smith spends about 90% of the movie as the only person onscreen, and as he goes through the range of numbness, optimism, fear, dementia, and hope, you realize that few other actors could have pulled this off as skillfully. The role is race-neutral: Brad Pitt could have played it, but not nearly as well. There's no way a big budget flick like this will get an Oscar nomination. And that shows why the Academy Awards, intent on always elevating marginal indies nobody's ever seen or heard of, stays losing. But for the record, Smith is in career best form here.

If you couldn't already tell, I really liked this movie. It's the kinda flick that home theaters and 50 inch plasma TV's were made for so it will be on my must-buy DVD list in about 3 months. Do youself a favor and good peep it, but beware of my disclaimers if you aren't into horror flicks. This ain't no typical Will Smith movie.

Final Verdict: I would give this movie a perfect 5 stars, but I try to reserve that rating for more serious movies. That's the only reason why. 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

I Am Legend [Yahoo! Movies]

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