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Movie Review: I am Legend

Alternate Title: I am Schlock

Story: I am always interested in seeing a film where NYC gets to be the star attraction. This one was especially interesting to me because for many nights into dawn they filmed the same car scene over and over and over again right outside my building. I watched that nifty red car do really cool spins dozens of times from my window perch. So, how could I not go see it? I was also glad to see, after the first five minutes, that my apartment building did not end up on the cutting room floor. Sadly, I could have easily walked out after that five minutes.

This pretty awful film was directed by Francis Lawrence with a screenplay (if you can call it that) by Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsman based on the book by Richard Matheson. The good news is that there were some visually exciting scenes showing an abandoned NYC. The bad news, is just about everything else - except the dog named Samantha.

The story is simple. A miraculous cure for cancer mutates and wipes out 93% of the population. The remaining people apparently get picked off at night time by wandering marauders who feed off of their blood, called the Darksiders (I kept thinking they were called Docksiders, and chuckled every time I heard their name). Our hero, Robert Neville, is a military scientist who wanders the street by daylight with his amazing dog and tries to contact anyone who still is alive. At night, he hunkers down and hides from the Darksiders and tries to find a cure for the disease. Do you really need to hear much more?

Our hero simply does not pull off any emotional heft that would have you believe in his cause and passion (although we do get to see a very buff and toned Will Smith). The monsters are really not that scary and the plot is too thin.

However, if you like to see NYC, in yet another film, check it out.

Acting: Will Smith was not believable as the last man on the planet. The dog, Samantha, was believable as the last dog on the planet.

Predilection: I like films that star NYC.

Critters: The aforementioned German Shepherd, Samantha, is the star of the film. She does not meet with a happy ending.

Food: There is lots of hunting for food, but little gathering. Lions get to kill a deer, Will Smith gets to open lots of cans of food. There is a whole lot of to do about eggs and bacon.

Sex Spectrum: Are you kidding?

Blatant Product Placement: It seems that the last man on earth has chosen to stick with a Mac (good choice, Will).

Soundtrack: Typical horror film noise and some nice tracks by Bob Marley.

Opening Titles: We get a quickie update on how we got to where we are on this lonely planet.

Visual Art: Some really good digital shots of an empty NYC and apparently our hero has taken some paintings from museums to enjoy in his own home including a Van Gogh and a Rousseau.

Theater Audience: Pretty crowded for an early show on a Thursday. Mostly guys.

Weather: The weather was very nice. I remember it was filmed in the summer.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 3 - I do not like to see animals hurt. Zombies do not bother me.

Drift Factor: I did not drift but I did eye roll a bit.

Predictability Level: Higher than high.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Ha

Big Screen or Rental: If you like to watch NYC devoid of people, check it out on the big screen. If the destruction of NYC is something you like to watch, rent any or all of these films and watch the Big Apple get baked, stomped, blown to smithereens, fried, frozen and drowned. Deluge (1933), When Worlds Collide (1951), Invasion USA (1952), Planet of the Apes (1968), Destroy All Monsters (1968), Meteor (1979), Escape from New York (1981), Ghostbusters II (1989), Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), Armageddon (1998), Deep Impact (1998), Aftershock: Earthquake in New York (1999), A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Godzilla Final Wars (2004), Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York (2006), Babylon 5: The Lost Tales (2007), I Am Legend (2007) and the soon to be released, Cloverfield (2008)

Length: 100 minutes