Friday, December 28, 2007

I Am Legend

I guess I were to sum up the experience of watching I Am Legend, the first movie I've seen in the theater since Shoot Em Up rocked my socks right the fuck off my feet, I would say that it was "not all bad." And that's true too. It didn't suck 100%.

While the majority of scares in the movie are of the loud-noise and quick-camera variety, something more akin to the scares in a Freddy movie than say, The Ring. Regardless, I can easily say that at least one scene towards the beginning scared me stupid. It's long before you even catch a glimpse of the zombie things, so you have no idea what to expect, and the suspense is built into the scene, not manufactured. What I mean by that is that there's no trick of the camera to manipulate the suspense (like in other scenes); Smith is walking down a dark corridor and only occasionally shines the light in front of him (presumably to avoid drawing attention to himself). Each time he shined that light, I was certain that it would be his last. I pretended like I was cold, but really I was hiding underneath my coat.

The storytelling in the first half of the movie was exceptional too. You receive the smallest of backstory, and then it goes straight into the action. The rest of the backstory is explained as the movie progresses, and once the backstory is completely filled in (again, about halfway through), it's hard to keep caring. I was disappointed that you become so readily acquainted with the zombie things (called "Darkseekers" because they burn up when exposed to light) so early on. The trailers don't reveal a thing about what they are or what they look like, and that's so extraordinarily crucial in horror movies that I can't believe they blew their load so early on, which, contrary to what all my former girlfriends have told me, is not a good thing.

The other thing is that it's completely nonsensical in some places. I don't think I'll be giving too much away if I tell you that the world has been infected with a virus, and that Smith just happens to be immune to it. Why? Nobody knows. And they don't say anything about it either. Is it genetics? Does he have magic powers? Does his superior acting ability render him impervious to harm? It's probably not that last one.

This might give a little bit away, but I'll say it anyway. The Darkseekers are not exactly geniuses, but they're a little bit smarter than zombie-smart. Actually, towards the end, I began wondering why they didn't grab one of the billions of guns floating around New York City and just shoot Smith in the noggin instead of banging their heads against a locked door.

And finally, the movie beats religious overtones into the audience. Yeah, a touch of spirituality, a bit of the supernatural, all these things help boost a movie into a new stratosphere, but when it's too much, it gets irritating so quickly. Maybe it's just me, but I'm sick of hearing the tired old "Bad things are happening, so therefore there must not be a god. Oh wait, if I have faith, things will work out in the end" schtick. And yes, that was an actual quote from the movie.

But like I said, in the end, it doesn't completely suck. There's a few scenes in particular that I thought were amazing. One being the scary scene in the beginning, but another one I should mention is when he starts reciting -- verbatim and in perfect tone -- a scene from Shrek. You start laughing at first, because you realize that his character has seen that movie too many times. Then he keeps going. Then he keeps going after that. Then you stop laughing, because you realize that his character has seen that movie too many times because loneliness has taken away his sanity. That scene is a lot like this movie has a whole "Oh man! This is zomb-awesome! Oh wait...this is actually pretty sad. Is it too late to get tickets for No Country For Old Men?"
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