While work continues to beat me about the head, the always fabulous Ms. C has stepped in to offer a few thoughts on "I Am Legend," recently released on DVD. Beware, it does contain spoilers for the uninitiated.
I recently watched "I Am Legend" and I have to say that the movie does an excellent job of entertaining. You got your action, your pathos, your scary monsters, and the wild improbability of someone in the future living completely unaware of Bob Marley. Now, THAT'S a sci-fi fantasy!
For those who haven’t seen it, "I Am Legend" stars Will Smith as the last man on Earth – or the last guy in Manhattan (same thing) -- walking tall and manly though a post-apocalyptic world that naturally appeals to those of us Cold War babies who were taught that we always need to be prepared, like Boy Scouts with canned goods. Post-apocalyptic movies are useful and important in that they teach us how we'd manage the end of the world as we know it. In this case, Will Smith survives it with fast cars, a well-stocked laboratory, videos of the “Today” show and a bad case of the lonelies with no one to talk to but a dog and Paris Hilton (I was just told that wasn't her; it was a store mannequin. Apologies.)
"I Am Legend," however, commits three sins in my book: (OH, SPOILER ALERT) it kills the hero, it offs the lovable mutt, and has crazed zombies or zombie-like creatures. The movie has a bittersweet ending with the death of Mr. Legend, and I was still crying over the dog till the end. Worse though – much worse – is that ever since I watched the movie, I've had nightmares of those violent monsters breaking into my house, vaulting upstairs, and attacking me. In my dreams, sometimes I have only my fists and wits to defend myself, other times I have Will Smith's serum to inject in them before they chew me to pieces, and other times it’s just me and a rolled-up “TV Guide.” Which sucks.
I am terrified of zombies. I know the fad of "loving zombies" is on its way out, and for that, I'm glad. Zombies are not a joke. Werewolves and vampires can be scary, but both seem to retain an aura of hirsute and fangy romanticism, no matter how violent or disgustingly portrayed. Not so with zombies. Even when they are accompanied by jokes and lightheartedness as in the incomparable "Shaun of the Dead," zombies remain frightening beyond the pale. At 3 a.m., when I'm jolted awake, I do not fear vampires or werewolves. I fear burglars. And thanks to "I Am Legend," I now fear zombie burglars.