The Last Man on Earth… is a Long Way from Bel Air.
Will Smith is synonymous with what people think a Blockbuster film should be. It all started in July of 1996 when a movie by the name of “Independence Day” was released. Since then Will Smith has worked his way to the top becoming The box office gold standard in Hollywood. His latest release “I Am Legend” further cements his decade plus of supremacy.
“I Am Legend” is indeed the third adaptation of a
book of the same name written by Richard Matheson. The other two adaptations were ‘The Last Man on Earth’ and ‘The Omega Man’. While I’ve seen neither of these former adaptations it seems that based on public opinion ‘I Am Legend’ deviates the most from the original work. (that and Wikipedia is a hell of a drug)
Will Smith portrays Dr. Robert Neville, a scientist who is immune to a virus that wipes out mankind (incase you don’t own a tv this is info available on the trailer) He is the last man on earth, yet he isn’t alone.
The film instantly captures you with impressive imagery of a barren New York City. Famous landmarks like Times Square, Union Square, The South Street Seaport and Washington Square Park are transformed from urban utopias to post apocalyptic barren wastelands where nature has reclaimed its former place. The scenery is so expansive it becomes the supporting cast to the one man show Will Smith masterfully presents. Of course that one man show is supported by his trusty dog who acts as his companion and in some cases sole comfort.
The idea of solitude might not seem daunting to some, but absolute solitude with no human contact and the prospect of never seeing another person alive again is a lot for us to truly fathom. This backdrop not only forces Will as the actor to obviously carry the entire movie, seamlessly I might add, but also forces the character Robert Neville to experience the entire range of the human condition. From joy to fear, triumph to sadness, victory to defeat. Watching this movie you feel privy to the intimate thoughts of a man and from the safety of our voyeuristic standpoint, you allow yourself to become emotionally tied to this Hero of sorts as he fights what seems to be an impossible fight.
Without revealing too much I must say the antagonists of the film are frighteningly displayed and you sympathize with the fear Robert faces every day as he lives to survive and regain the world he feels he lost through his own fault.
While the ending left people wondering, I felt it suited the movie perfectly. We as moviegoers have been too conditioned with what we expect to see so just for the simple fact that people were forced to *GASP* think about the ending makes me think it was a job well done.
Will Smiths compelling portrayal is sure to raise some nods come Oscar time. Is it his best movie to date? It’s too fresh in my mind to safely say. His performances in IRobot and The Pursuit of Happiness are merely too strong to discount. Should you go see it. HELL YES! I live in NYC and movie tickets here cost 12 bucks a pop, shit paying that much a ticket you’d think I’d see my name as Associate Producer. Though during the Manhattan montage they featured the theater I was actually in… in the movie.. NY wins again.
Thanks for sparing us that Kha-Lee-for-Knee-Yaa.