"I am Legend" was a book and later a graphic novel ABOUT VAMPIRES!
Bloodthristy vampires straight out of Dracula. Pointy teeth and everything. The whole story revolved around the myth of vampires and science.
Richard Matheson wrote the original science fiction classic.
Vincent Price starred in the first remake.
It was based in a small town in the graphic novel and in the Price movie which really created an awesome atmostsphere. Here was a sleepily overgrown town with picket fences and cute little square houses which at nightfall turned into a vampire invested hell. The main character fought against what were once his friendly neighbors. Still recognizable, but transformed into vampires (which really is one of the bases of the vampire myth, people you know coming back as vampires, but not total monsters).
When they made a remake with Charleton Heston, "The Omega Man", they kept the same mood but for some reason made the vampires "mutants". This really confused me when I watched the movie for the first time. The town was a bit bigger and the lack of vampires seemed to suck all the personality out of the monsters. It seemed like a real last second change. And the "mutants" seemed more concerned about avoiding technology and making Heston's character on an even playing field with them. It was a pretty blatant attack on Communism. While Heston's character, a hard working capitalist, wanted to work hard and create an innovative cure for the problem the mutants, dirty commies, wanted to take the easy route and just infect everyone and keep everyone living in the stone age as mutant equals. This movie was FAR inferior to the Price movie which has much stronger themes of myth, religion, morality and science throughout. The Heston remake was basically good ideas versus bad ideas.
In the Price movie as well as the original work the main character goes out during the day and kills vampires who are hiding from the sun. This is a problem because later on he finds out he has been killing "innocent" vampires who had not tried to attack him. He just assumed that all vampires were like the evil/insane ones that attacked his house every night. This created a huge morality problem for the main character and results in the tragic ending. In the Heston remake there are no different groups of "mutants". They all pretty much want to kill/infect Heston. A couple of the mutants disagree with the methods but in the end they all try to kill him and his attempts to protect himself are totally justified. How lame is that??? Why would they take away that great theme of morality? Heston's character is basically Jesus-like in this movie and his death helps save all mankind. Lame and not as thought provoking as the original work.
And now in 2007 there is another remake starring Will Smith. He is not a bad actor. But is not a great actor.
So wow. NO VAMPIRES. But instead of making the title "The last man on Earth" which would be appropriate, they named this film "I am Legend"...
THERE ARE NO VAMPIRES. WHAT IS THE FRIGGEN' LEGEND?
Is there some legend about "mutants caused by science" that has been around for hundreds of years and has been shared by every major civilization? Because the myth of vampires IS THAT LEGEND. THAT IS THE LEGEND THAT THE FREAKING ORIGINAL WORK IS BASED ALL AROUND. Not this "science gone wrong" thing. That was a theme in the original work, BUT NOT THE ONLY THEME.
So they took that away.
Also, they set the movie in New York City...???
NYC is a big scary place during the day and night. So goodbye to the lovely difference between the sleeply empty town during the day and the vampire infused dark streets of the night. Plus there is the whole thing that there should be MILLIONS of mutants in an area like that that would completely over-run ANY fortified apartment.
Also Will Smith's character is shown working out during the day.
The original works character, Vincent Price and to a lesser extent Heston's character all pretty much went a little insane due to their situation. They drank a lot and looked haggard. The character in the graphic novel stopped shaving and wore revolvers all the time. At the end he pretty much looked like a modern caveman. And that totally made sense.
I suppose they added in all that "working out" footage to somehow justify Will Smith looking as healthy and bulked up as he does. Ever since he gained all that muscle mass from playing Muhammad Ali he has just looked way to weird in some of his roles.
In "I-Robot" I thought it was strange that he never lost his muscles from the training he did. Nobody else looked as big as he did and it seemed really strange. It would have been better if he had an "everyman" type look to him.
Then in the trailers for this movie I see that he still is carrying all that muscle...
What the hell? His trainer and manger should be slapping him upside the head. He is not a boxer, he is not trying to be an Action star. He is supposed to be a mainstream actor.
In this movie he plays a damned SCIENTIST. A scientist whose situation should have made him and insane drunk just like in the original material. Have you EVER seen a scientist on TV that looked bulked up AT ALL? Have you ever seen a drunk person train and keep that fit???
Yet somehow this scientist looks like someone who is a trained boxer. So they shoot these "working out" scenes to explain it.
If Will Smith looked like he did in the "Men in Black" movies it would be believable. Yet for some reason this mainstream actor has let all that muscle mass weight stay on him.
A. Is too vain to stop training/protein loading so he looks normal again.
B. Used Human Growth Hormone/Steroids to gain all that muscle and it is not coming off easily.
C. Both A and B (Most likely)
Like I said his manager/trainer should hit him upside the head. If he wants to be a mainstream actor he need to look normal again.
All in all this sort of movie shows that people have lost what's really important in movies. The STORY AND UNDERLYING THEMES.
This movie seemed to just indulge the whims of the director Francis Lawrence who also ruined the "Constantine" movie with his shitty misinterpretations.
They spent MILLIONS of dollars on CGI and paying to use public areas for filming to make NYC look like it was empty. The reason being is that anyone who has been in NYC knows just how filled with people it is The VAST majority of people who will watch this movie have not been to NYC. They will never go to NYC. Just because a bunch of art-snobs and Hollywood people go to NYC and know how crowded it can be is no reason to SPEND MILLIONS TO MAKE IT LOOK EMPTY. It will be sure to impress anyone who has been there, but most people have NOT...CAN'T YOU SEE THE FUCKING STUPIDITY IN THAT? Can't you just feel the raw waves of smarmy bullshit fumes wafting from decisions like that? And just compare that to the original setting of the suburbs THAT ACTUALLY LENT SOMETHING TO THE THEMES IN THE MOVIE. An empty NYC is just a form of visual masturbation. It's just an empty theme within itself. As empty as the fiction city.
And of course this means that Will Smith is left to try and act by himself. An actor whose ENTIRE MOVIE CAREER has been made by playing off of other actors. Can you try to visualize a scene in a movie, ANY MOVIE, where will Smith is alone onscreeen for more that 10 seconds? I can't.
The choice to pick Will Smith was ENTIRELY a monetary one. The wanted a hot actor who would bring in MONEY. They used NYC as a location to bring in MONEY.
The makers consulted with experts on infectious diseases and solitary confinement. But they apparently never read the original book. Maybe then they could have come up with some ideas that were not self indulgent or based on a monetary bottom line.
Here is the Vincent Price movie "The Last Man on Earth". Is in the public domain so you can also download it off the Prelinger Archive. IT HAS VAMPIRES IN IT. YOU KNOW, THE LEGENDARY VAMPIRE.