Monday, December 10, 2007

More on I Am Legend

Looking over my previous post, I noticed I may have given the wrong impression and recommended the new film version of I Am Legend, which opens in theatres this Friday. Since I haven't seen the film (though I have read one review at Variety), I couldn't really recommend it in good conscience. What I was recommending was the original Richard Matheson novel the film is based on. That novel still packs a punch! (Guaranteed: after you finish the book, you'll be sleeping every night for a week with the lights on!)

I also wanted to point out that, while the new film takes some liberties with the book's plot, the casting of Will Smith is, I think, spot on. Vincent Price and Charlton Heston were two of the best actors to appear in films, but because of their theatrical backgrounds (and an occasional tendency for hamminess), neither of these guys ever struck me as playing "average joes". The protagionist of Matheson's novel is an average 9-5 guy in the proverbial gray flannel suit who quickly adapts to his surroundings as best as he can. Will Smith, in some of his previous performances, has shown he can "take it down a notch" and act in a more naturalistic manner (without being mannered), giving the sense that, yeah, he's a "regular guy" like you & me, which only makes the impact of the plot even more powerful. (What would we do in such a situation? Smith shows us one possible path by reacting the way we might in a planet where everybody else is a literal monster.) So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Oh, and here's hoping the scenes of Neville (the book's protagionist) researching the history of what led up to his present situation by reading newspaper articles & research journals in the now-deserted local library in his neighborhood is kept in the film. (Take that Google!) We librarians have to get some good PR wherever we find it.... -Ed

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