Now I’m one of those folks who has read the original book on which I Am Legend is based and seen both of its cinematic precursors – one starring Vincent Price and the other Charlton Heston. One of them full of swaggering machismo the other an aficionado of fine art.
I’ll let you guess which is which.
Price’s version in particular was more “The Last Man on a Cheap Interior Soundstage,” while Heston was busy parting a sea of Soul Sisters and making the empty world safe for militant afros.
In Will’s new version, the trouble starts with a cure for cancer that has, shall we say, “side-effects.”
No, not just a headache and some nausea. More like your clothes dissolving, your skin turning a pasty white, your housekeeping skills evaporating, your body transformed into a CGI cartoon, and your ability to speak replaced by a lion’s roar.
What? I can remove any possibility of cancer and roar like a lion?! Sign me up!
Plus you get to hunt deer on Times Square, where right now you have to hunt for a bargain on overpriced electronics.
Will races across the city to hunt for dinner with way Kiefer Sutherland races through the Hollywood Hills hunting for last call.
All of humanity is pretty much turned into CGI or eaten or appearing as an extra in the flashback scene where Manhattan is evacuated.
Thanks to the botched cancer cure, “social de-evolution has occurred,” says Will. “And typical human behavior is now entirely absent.”
In other words, it’s another night on the town with Lindsay Lohan!
Will’s friends are the mannequins at the video store, which explains why the top rentals are Independence Day and Men in Black.
Why it is that Will drives about in a spotless and shiny-clean vehicle in this post-apocalyptic world is never clear. “When your clothes dissolve and you gain the ability to roar, auto detailing is pretty much your only skill,” explains Will.
Will our hero conquer the infected hordes and emerge victorious?
I Am Legend is another story about the unintended consequences of technology or science or man’s vanity. The stuff of horror movies for generations. And it still works.
Now if only someone would tell Hollywood that the more blue screen creatures they create, the more unreal the movie looks. More than once it felt like Will was battling the cast of The Flintstones.
“Back off, Wilma!”
Except for the fake-ass, lion-roaring, distracting blue screen beasties, I Am Legend is top drawer stuff.