Wednesday, 19 December 2007

I am Legend

A buff and chiseled Will Smith tears through the deserted and apolcalyptic streets of Manhattan in his Mustang Shelby in the striking opening scenes of "I Am Legend." He carries a high-powered rifle by his side, his German shepherd Sam is in the front seat, and he's out hunting galloping herds of deer, which bounce through the midtown streets, now overgrown with weeds and cluttered with deserted cars frozen in permanent gridlock. Smith is playing Robert Neville, the last man alive in New York and perhaps on the planet. A deadly virus, the fatally ironic result of a "cure" for cancer that backfired, has wiped out all but those few who, like Neville, are immune to the virus. Neville has the run of the city during the day, but at night he boards himself up in his Washington Square townhouse. For at night, the Infected come out; they are contaminated humans who have mutated into raging, flesh-eating zombie vampires who cannot tolerate daylight.The screenwriters and Francis Lawrence, the director, have found clever ways to sustain what is, for more than half the movie, a one-man show. It helps, of course, that Smith is that one man; there are few movie stars who can hold the screen with such effortless charisma and who deliver most of their lines to a dog. The reviews are good on the whole but say that the visionary depiction of a postplague world, where a solitary man tries to hold on to his sanity, gives way to an intense but quite conventional night-of-the-living-dead remix and the vampires/zombies are there for cheap thrills. I am told by a sci-fi enthousiast who knows about these things that there is a metaphysical dimension to the film as well.
As for the dog: Abbey is a 3 year old German Shepherd and is called Sam in the film. She was not discovered on the streets of NYC or at a Hollywood casting call but was hand picked and rescued from a California kennel. Experienced trainer, Steve Berens, selected and gave her three weeks of intensive coaching before introducing her to the rest of the cast. While there may have been some "creative differences" at the start -she barked at Will when he first walked up to her- after a short while, the two became friends.
She might be the only reason I would want to see the film.


Anonymous said...


Crystal xx

jmb said...

I can't imagine that I would enjoy it, even with Will Smith and Abbey/Sam. If you go let us know if it's worth it.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas Eurodog.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Great review, eurodog. I knew nothing about this film. As you say, it must help that WS is the man. Like you, I would probably only want to see the film because of the dog!

Anonymous said...

Hi Eurodog - just wanted to thank you very much for your comment on my blog. Your thoughts and good wishes have meant so much. Sparky is definitely on the mend, wanting to play with the ball, chewing chair legs, even jumping up on to the chair she often sits on in the kitchen. Fingers crossed, the vet might be able to remove the strap tomorrow morning. I shall let you know and thanks again.
Crystal xx

Rebecca Taunton said...

I watched the film for a birthday outing and thoroughly enjoyed it. It portrayed a depth of emotion that most films tend to skip over nowadays. I wouldn't say that it followed the conventional approach of "night of the living dead" though.

I'll admit that I had a tear rolling down my face at one point, which was very much related to a scene with the dog, but to tell you why would ruin it.

A good review, ED.


Eurodog said...

my daughter saw it and enjoyed it. She told me the scene with the dog.

Rebecca Taunton said...

Oh! Considering what happened, it was a very well filmed scene, even if a little disturbing.

Hannah Velten said...

Saw the film the other night and remembered your review - 'Sam' was definintely the best thing in the movie!