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I Am Legend


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#1 Clint M

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 04:18 PM

I don't think we have a thread devoted to this film (I searched, honest!). After years and years spent in development hell, and at one point having Ridley Scott's name attached, I Am Legend is in the midst of pre-production. Francis Lawrence (Constantine) is directing, and Will Smith is the lead, but it looks like Johnny Depp may/is playing a vampire villian in the movie.

ANd if so, this just moved up to my must-see list.

Edited by Clint M, 30 June 2006 - 04:19 PM.


#2 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 04:41 PM

This reminds me, my wife has the Vincent Price version (The Last Man on Earth, 1964) on DVD, but I have not watched it yet. I have, at least, seen the Charlton Heston version (The Omega Man, 1971).

#3 The Baptist Death Ray

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 04:49 PM

I had no idea that The Omega Man was a remake of The Last Man on Earth. How did I not make that connection?

#4 opus

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 11:10 PM

Haven't seen The Omega Man, but I have seen The Last Man on Earth. I think it was on one of those uber-cheap DVD collections you can pick up at Best Buy for $5. I remember liking it a fair amount. If anything else, it was interesting to see Price in a slightly different role, one where he isn't leering and rubbing his hands together with sadistic glee all of the time.

#5 Jason Panella

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 11:11 PM

QUOTE(The Baptist Death Ray @ Jun 30 2006, 05:49 PM) View Post

I had no idea that The Omega Man was a remake of The Last Man on Earth. How did I not make that connection?


I've only seen the Omega Man, but they're all based off of Richard Matheson's short novel (which is, I may add, very different detail-wise than the Heston flick).

#6 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 08:00 PM

Depp Not in Legend?
In fact, the part that Depp was rumored to play -- Phillip, friend of Smith's character Neville -- may not be written into the movie. The new Legend will reportedly be closer to the 1971 adaptation called The Omega Man than the original 1954 novel. In related news, Blackfilm.com reports that "Salli Richardson has been cast as Ginny, the wife of Will Smith's character, and that Alice Braga (niece of legendary Brazilian actress Sonia Braga) has been cast as Anna."
IGN FilmForce, September 19

#7 John Drew

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 08:12 AM

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Sep 19 2006, 06:00 PM) View Post

The new Legend will reportedly be closer to the 1971 adaptation called The Omega Man than the original 1954 novel.


sad.gif I'm completely convinced that no one is ever going to do a proper movie version...

#8 Jason Panella

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 02:35 PM

I've watched the trailer a few times since it came out several months ago, and I'm convinced that the movie will at least be OK. Some of the shot's of Neville walking alone really conjure up the same creepy feelings I got from Matheson's story. I hope it turns out well!

#9 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 07:53 PM

CHUD.com says the junket is happening at the end of this month ... but they were still reshooting the ending LAST WEEK!

#10 CrimsonLine

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 07:10 AM

The trailers have me pumped. I've never seen any previous version, nor read the novella, and this sounds like a story I will enjoy.

#11 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 01:52 AM

Kyle Smith: "a rare Hollywood movie in that it contains a pro-God message in the midst of a scientific inquiry into the nature of the cure for a supervirus"; "Call this the first movie of the post-stem cell-debate era."

#12 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 02:59 PM

"GOD STILL LOVES US ... BUT DO WE STILL LOVE GOD?"

- - -

Smith has new box office 'Legend'
Warner Bros.' Will Smith topliner "I Am Legend" made history at the box office yesterday, posting a whopping $29.7 million from 3,606 sites - the biggest opening day ever for the thesp.
In addition, the sci-fi/actioner registered a few more records in Warner Bros.' B.O. ledgers: not only was it the second highest opening day for the studio this year behind "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (first day take $44.2 million), it was also their top December opener of all-time, besting the $14.7 million generated by 2004's "Ocean's Twelve."
Among post-Labor day releases, "Legend's" first day is the fourth highest of all-time and the third best for a PG-13 release behind 2005's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" ($40 million) and the Wednesday bow of 2003's "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" ($34.5 million).
The top three-day opening for a Will Smith vehicle belongs to "I, Robot" which generated $52.2 million in the summer of 2004. Hands down, "Legend" will beat that figure by Sunday.
The actor's previous opening day high belonged to the Wednesday bow of "Men in Black 2" which generated $18.6 million in 2002. . . .
Variety, December 15

#13 opus

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 07:09 PM

Just got back from a screening, and overall I thought it was decent. The first two-thirds or so are really good. The film creates a very strong, even haunting post-apocalyptic tone that is perfectly inline with the novel, and the effects are stunningly realized. The ending, however, felt rather watered down to me, especially compared to the original ending. Which, while considerably more downbeat, does give the story a nice mythic and complete feel.

The ending's spiritual components -- the "pro-God" aspects -- were pretty weak, IMO, and didn't add much resonance or substance. The movie wouldn't have suffered much if they hadn't been there at all.

When the survivors appeared in the film, I had a brief thought that the film might be heading down a final stretch similar to the novel's (in the novel, Neville encounters what he thinks to be a survivor, but who is in fact, a spy sent by the other side to figure out his weaknesses and to trap him somehow), but alas, such was not the case.

Also, did anyone else get a serious 28 Days Later vibe during the monster attacks?

#14 Jason Panella

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 10:50 PM

I haven't seen it yet, opus, but I'm as a fan of the novel, I have to ask: does Neville die in the end, like he does in the book? I think Matheson does a great job with how he wraps it up. It's one of the few endings in literature that still haunt me.

Edited by Jason Panella, 15 December 2007 - 10:51 PM.


#15 opus

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 11:27 PM

QUOTE (Jason Panella @ Dec 15 2007, 09:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I haven't seen it yet, opus, but I'm as a fan of the novel, I have to ask: does Neville die in the end, like he does in the book? I think Matheson does a great job with how he wraps it up. It's one of the few endings in literature that still haunt me.

Yes, but in a way that's very different than Matheson's ending. I'd describe it as an "inspirational" or "warm fuzzy" ending, rather than a "haunting" one.

#16 Denny Wayman

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 11:38 PM

I liked the film at the theological/psychological level. It clearly belongs within the "Remnant Theology" of Scripture where God acts to protect his people and let them start again. That these survivors "behind the wall" place a church in the center of their compound is indicative of such a remnant people as they are called to carry on the creation.

Here is wikipedia's explanation of "Remnant Theology."

QUOTE
The remnant is a recurring theme throughout the Hebrew and Christian Bible. The Anchor Bible Dictionary describes it as "What is left of a community after it undergoes a catastrophe."[1]. The concept has stronger representation in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) than the New Testament.


I had some questions for those of you who read the book - why are the mutated humans superhuman in strength? And if the dogs could get it why not the deer, or lions? Did Will's character no longer see these humans as human? Who was the leader of the mutated humans? Why didn't the mutated humans eat each other or the animals? How did the virus spread around the world in 3 years?

Denny

Edited by Denny Wayman, 15 December 2007 - 11:44 PM.


#17 Crow

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 12:09 AM

I liked the film. The first 2/3 made it worth watching, even though everything involving woman and her son strained all credibility, from how they got into Manhattan with all the bridges blown up to how they survived the final explosion. Talk about dues ex machina. And I agree the God stuff felt tacked on and wasn't fully explored.

Will Smith makes the film work, though, due to his believable performance. I could buy that he was really the last man alive, and he even almost sold me on the ending, but not quite.

I wish the survivors had looked more real instead of just being CGI vampire/zombie/monster/whatevers, but I did like the scene where Will Smith faces off with them across the single beam of sunlight

Edited by Crow, 16 December 2007 - 12:11 AM.


#18 opus

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 12:42 AM

QUOTE (Denny Wayman @ Dec 15 2007, 10:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I had some questions for those of you who read the book - why are the mutated humans superhuman in strength? And if the dogs could get it why not the deer, or lions? Did Will's character no longer see these humans as human? Who was the leader of the mutated humans? Why didn't the mutated humans eat each other or the animals? How did the virus spread around the world in 3 years?

The movie diverges quite a bit from the book in some ways. The mutated humans don't really have super strength, nor are they mindless zombies. For example, they know where Neville lives, and much of the tension in the book occurs as they try to break his spirit by surrounding his house, mocking him, keeping him awake, etc. Also, the stuff about the animals catching the virus or not isn't even touched on, IIRC, nor is how the virus spread.

You can find a nice overview of the book's plot at Wikipedia (though it obviously contains spoilers).

#19 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 02:34 AM

I used to be so much better at staying on top of this stuff...

Anyway, today I finally got around to watching The Last Man on Earth (1964), which stars Vincent Price in the role that was later filled by Charlton Heston and Will Smith. And I am tempted to say something in my (short) review about the Will Smith movie being the most obvious in its use of religious themes but also the shallowest and the least convincing. (Don't you hate it when a screenplay throws in a really HUGE coincidence, and then has one of the characters say "It isn't a coincidence! it must be God!" as a way of trying to distract you from how bad the screenwriting was?) The thing is, I haven't seen the Heston film in AGES, so while the only religious motif I can remember is the climactic bit with his blood being shed, and in such a way that it might spread and bring healing to the contaminated people, it is possible that there are OTHER religious motifs in that film that I DON'T remember.

What I'm getting at is, I don't think the Price or Heston movies make a big deal of the CHARACTERS being religious in any way, but they hint at a religious subtext in their use of a church as a setting or in their characterization of the protagonist as a sort of Christ-figure, at least at key moments in the story. The Smith film, on the other hand, has characters engage in superficial religious discussions and uses crucifixes and church bells to identify specific characters as Christian, but it never EMBEDS the religious elements into the subtext in any way. There's no subtext; it's all text, and poorly written text at that.

I have never read the book, but based on various people's comments about it, it looks to me like the Vincent Price movie might be the closest to the book, albeit in a sort of B-movie-ish way. Yes?

I have to say, I also didn't care for the way Will Smith's sheer stardom overwhelmed whatever it was his character was supposed to be and/or do. During the earlier portions of this film, I found myself thinking, "Hmmm, this is an interesting departure for Will Smith, I wonder if his fans will follow him on this interesting artistic and/or dramatic experiment." But alas, Smith tends to revert to his pop-culture-citing, brand-name-promoting, naked-muscular-torso-displaying ways. And he does it often enough that it takes you out of the movie and, when he starts getting all dramatic and suchlike, you find yourself thinking not of the CHARACTER'S emotion, but of the ACTOR'S simulation of that emotion. "Oh, look, on top of everything else, Will Smith can ACT, too!"

#20 opus

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 09:46 AM

QUOTE (Peter T Chattaway @ Dec 16 2007, 01:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...I am tempted to say something in my (short) review about the Will Smith movie being the most obvious in its use of religious themes but also the shallowest and the least convincing. (Don't you hate it when a screenplay throws in a really HUGE coincidence, and then has one of the characters say "It isn't a coincidence! it must be God!" as a way of trying to distract you from how bad the screenwriting was?)...

My thoughts exactly.

QUOTE (Peter T Chattaway @ Dec 16 2007, 01:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What I'm getting at is, I don't think the Price or Heston movies make a big deal of the CHARACTERS being religious in any way, but they hint at a religious subtext in their use of a church as a setting or in their characterization of the protagonist as a sort of Christ-figure, at least at key moments in the story. The Smith film, on the other hand, has characters engage in superficial religious discussions and uses crucifixes and church bells to identify specific characters as Christian, but it never EMBEDS the religious elements into the subtext in any way. There's no subtext; it's all text, and poorly written text at that.

Ditto.

QUOTE (Peter T Chattaway @ Dec 16 2007, 01:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have never read the book, but based on various people's comments about it, it looks to me like the Vincent Price movie might be the closest to the book, albeit in a sort of B-movie-ish way. Yes?

Well, I haven't seen The Omega Man, but my gut feeling is yes. I watched The Last Man on Earth a few years ago, after I'd read the book, and was surprised at how faithful it was. Yes, it's sort of B-movie-ish, but still very good -- and it was nice to see Price play something a little more straightforward and "normal" than what he is usually associated with.