Pat Coston Movie Reviews

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I Am Legend

It is actually a fantasy of mine to wake up someday and be the last man on Earth. What an adventure I could have! I would probably avoid trying to fly a plane or base-jumping or anything else that had a high probability in getting me killed or injured. I love to explore and with nothing stopping me, I would probably go places I would never be allowed normally.

I would arm myself with guns and knives for protection against wild animals. I would always carry with me a first aid kit in case I did get injured. I would carry with me lots of water and try to plan ahead so I didn't get myself stranded in the middle of a desert for example.

Without a companion, I'm sure I would be like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. He had a volleyball with a bloody face to talk to. I would probably crave one of those super realistic Japanese sex dolls. That would be the closest thing to a real person. I would also love some kind of Artificial Intelligence to have conversation with for example in the Marvel Comic Book Deathlok the Demolisher, the cyborg at a computer in his brain which her referred to as 'puter. I would probably enjoy games like Chess with computers as well as other computer games.

I imagine I would spend a lot of time watching movies but this might get me depressed since it would remind me of how the world used to be. Getting depressed and lonely over time is only natural. I would have to find ways to cope. I'm sure I would start losing my mind after 10 years. I'm not sure how I would stay sane. Would I get bored? Would I get fat or get lots of exercise? If I got sick, there would be no doctors to help me. Death may be slow and painful taking many years if I got stick and didn't know which medicines to take or how to treat my illness. That would suck.

Even so, it still remains a fantasy but it's only a fantasy. I don't really wish it.

I have yet to see a movie about one person left alive on the Earth. They always end up finding some other humans or there are mutants left alive.

"The Last Man On Earth" (1964) starring Vincent Price, has mutants and he finds other humans, although they are turning in mutants (more like vampires).

I used to enjoy the DC comic book "Kamandi", The Last Boy on Earth. But it turns out that was a lie. There were other people his age as well as a wide variety of creatures, some with super powers.

There is also a graphic novel named Y:The Last Man written by Brian K. Vaughan and published by Vertigo about the spontaneous death of every male on Earth. There are still women so it's not a pure "last person on Earth" story.

The New Zealand film The Quiet Earth (1985) looked promising. It seemed that he was the only man alive on the Earth and there were no zombies but eventually he found other people besides himself. At the end, he does manage to transport himself to some alternate world and does end up being the only man alive on that world but that's where the movie ends.

In Stephen King's The Stand, most of the world population is wiped out by a virus except a handful of survivors. This movie features the Devil as a crow so it's not purely Science Fiction.

In the "made for TV movie" named "Where Have All the People Gone" (1974), most people are wiped out from solar flares, but again, there are a handful of survivors.

In 1971, Charles Heston starred in the Omega Man (1971). At first it seemed he was alone except for the zombies, but later he found other survivors.

In Night of the Comet (1984), most people are killed by the radiation produced by a comet. Those who were inside metal buildings were spared. Those who were partially inside metal buildings are zombies. It's a really bad movie with a non-sense ending.

I just rented "The Last Man" (2000) but in that movie there are two men and one woman. Plus it's a comedy.

So my search continues for that pure "Last Man on Earth" movie which is free from zombies and where he or she is truly the person on Earth.

I'm guessing the reason a truly pure "Last Man On Earth" movie has not been made because it's too hard to make it interesting with a single person for the entire movie. It can be done. The Tom Hanks movie "Cast Away" (2000) was interesting and it's just one guy on an island for most of the movie.

I've read some interesting articles about what might happen if man suddenly disappeared from the Earth. Things would fall apart fairly quickly. Nature would reclaim the land and buildings would tumble. A domino effect would happen where one thing leads to another, causing a rapid destruction of the man made world.

You would need your own generator because the power would go out in a short period of time. You would need to stock pile food then learn to hunt and grow your own food. You would need to take great care because there would be nobody to help you if you were to get into trouble like fall into a hole or break a leg.

If such a pure movie was made, I'd like to see a young child be the last person left on Earth. I think it would be more interesting seeing a child struggle to survive. They have far less survival skills than an adult for example they don't know to drive or tie knots.

I've enjoyed movies about child survival like The Black Stallion, The Blue Lagoon and Lord of the Flies. These were all castaway movies where children were stranded on a remote island.

Image "The Blue Lagoon" meets "Last Man On Earth" and you have a movie that has never been made. Imagine a coming of age film where a young boy and girl must fend for themselves in a world void of anyone else. No mutants. They would become the new Adam and Eve. Or maybe "Lord of the Flies" meets "Last Man On Earth", where a group of children must survive and repopulate the Earth.

This reminds me of the Star Trek Class episode "Miri" where the Enterprise finds an Earth-like planet and discovers a group of 300 year old children. The disease prolongs youth but upon reaching adolescence, the disease causes rapid aging and madness.

A film-maker friend of mine made a student film where HIV becomes airborne and wipes out most of the human race. A handful of children are kidnapped and put into suspended animation until everyone is gone and the virus has run its course. They awake into a savage world of survivors who were immune to the disease. He has yet to make this into a real movie but maybe someday he will.

Time to get off my tangent and back to the movie. "I am Legend" is actually based on a novel by Richard Matheson named "I Am Legend". It has been made into a movie many times including "The Last Man On Earth" (1964) starring Vincent Price, "The Omega Man" (1971) starring Charles Heston and most recently, "I Am Legend" (2007) starring Will Smith.

I'm a huge Will Smith fan and will usually see any movie he stars in. Combine that with the Last Man on Earth theme and I'm there. Will Smith was great as usual. But there were a good number of survivors and the CG Zombies were superhuman. I liked how the zombies operated like a hive so there was some order and structure to their lives. It doesn't make sense that a disease would create hive based zombies.

Will Smith is looking for a cure and he finally finds it when he attempts to cure a 19 year old female zombie but we never see the full transformation from zombie back to human. I would think the damage is done. You can't go back. It's asking a lot to believe that his cure can transform the zombies back to humans. For example the zombies seem to have the ability to open their mouths about 4 times wider than humans. Their strength and speed is also super human.

Although the zombies are a product of a man-made virus to cure cancer, who's to say that they need curing. They seem superior to humans in many ways. It reminds me of the attempts to cure homosexuality. Just because they are different, people think they are bad and need curing. These mutants also kill and eat humans but so do a lot of animals on this world.

Humans are not the only animals transformed by this virus. Upon contact, other animals can also turn into their alternate zombie forms from this virus. The transformation takes a few hours to start but then happens within the space of a minute.

I must say that the special effects were amazing. I can't wait to see "The Making Of" because I kept wondering how they did these scenes.

Days after seeing "I am Legend", I wondered why Will Smith had to die in the end. He did not need to be holding that grenade when it went off. Am I missing something? Grenades have a delayed fuse. Pull the pin, hide in the protective area with the woman and child and let the Grenade kill the zombies. His blood contains the cure. It didn't make any sense to me.

Another thing that didn't make sense to me is that Will Smith lived in a vulnerable building in which the zombies could easily attack. He could have easily found a facility that had far stronger walls, doors and windows for protection.

This movie does have some good scares. I jumped quite a few times. When Will Smith is forced to go into a dark building to rescue his dog, it's quite scary especially when he stumbles upon the hive.

The Zombies cannot tolerate sunlight so during the day, he has some level of safety so it lets us relax because we know he is safe but at night, he can hear the screams of the zombies as they own the night.

As he enters his apartment, he sprays something on his stairs. We are not told what this is but it must throw them off his scent. Later when he is brought back to his apartment unconscious by the woman, she does not spray and Will Smith fails to remember to do this and therefore they get attacked.

I much prefer my version where the only challenge is for a group of children to try to survive and there are no mutant zombies and there are no other survivors to be found. It's just them fighting things like hunger, weather, animals, injury, crumbling infrastructure, etc. Make my science fiction as real as possible please.

If you are interested in helping me develop this story line further, check out my wiki. My working title is Children of the New World.


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