‘I Am Legend’ Blu-ray Review
The story of ‘I Am Legend’ is a sci-fi classic that has gone through hell and back with all of the movie adaptations over the years. In 1964 Vincent Price starred in ‘The Last Man on Earth’ and in 1971, Charlton Heston starred in ‘The Omega Man’. While both these films borrowed pieces from the book, they also went on a different road. While both films have garnered a love/hate aura amongst movie critics and fans, I found both to be enjoyable in their own right, but not without their flaws. This project has been in Hollywood hell for years and years with many first rate actors names attached to this project dating back to the 80’s. I am very glad that Will Smith was the actor that out of the list of names that I saw on the internet to have the lead role. As we will see in the review, he plays a very good Robert Neville and to the point where he is alone on screen for the first half of the movie, he holds the film together very well.
‘I Am Legend’ begins with Robert Neville driving a Mustang Cobra down the streets of New York chasing a herd of antelope. In these opening scenes, you see how beautiful this movie looks on Blu-ray and can reassure even those not sold yet on the technology. We start off the movie with a bang that has you wondering as to what is going on. Through a series of flashbacks in the first part of ‘I Am Legend’, we learn what has happened with the outbreak that wiped out humanity and how Neville’s life turned for the worse without his family.
This post-apocalyptic world looks just plain creepy and probably creepier than some of the other sci-fi films that I have seen over the years. Through the small news clip of actress Emma Thompson, we learn that there was a discovery for the cure for cancer……but fast forward three years later and an airborne virus/infection has taken out almost all of humanity on earth. What has happened to the humans that were affected? They have become something known as the “Dark Seekers”, which can only survive in the dark. It is up to Neville and his only friend, his dog Samantha to find a cure for the virus that he created which took out all of humanity. There is never a dull moment in ‘I Am Legend’, as Neville is racing through the streets, into buildings, studying rats and the “Dark Seekers” looking for a cure while also looking for remaining human survivors. As I mentioned earlier about Smith’s performance here, he really makes you feel for his character through his emotions. Times that he was crying or upset really made you feel bad for the character and it pulled you into his world.
One thing that many may not know is that Neville is a “Legend” amongst the “Dark Seekers” because he can walk in the light during the day, while they can only make their rounds at night. What many may not realize here is that who is the villain and who is the hero of the movie. This is one deep story that if you have read the book (which I still need to, but have read many comments about it) and have watched all three films will make much better sense. I like to try and keep these reviews as spoiler free without giving much away so people can enjoy the film. There is one scene that still creeped me out yet again last night just like in the theater and it was the movement of Fred’s head in a particular scene, it either has to be Neville’s mind playing tricks on him or something that I will never understand.
Having seen this film twice, once at the theater and once at home, I think the “Alternative Version” is what Warner should have gone with in the theatrical release. It is just a much more satisfying ending if you ask my opinion. Granted, neither ending match the other two films or even the book. Not only does the alternative version give you a better understanding as to why the “Dark Seekers” were after Neville, but it gives you a much more complete feeling at the end. I think if Warner ever decided to go with a sequel, the “Alternative Version” makes better sense. I was disappointed in the “Theatrical Versions” ending, so for those that are going to get this on DVD, Blu-ray, or whatever format…….I recommend that you purchase the version of the film that has both versions since on DVD I believe there are 3 different version of the DVD.
The picture quality is top notch for ‘I Am Legend’ and both versions of the film are on a BD50 dual-layer disc, which is an awesome feat. This has to be one of the cleanest transfers I have seen yet on either High Def DVD formats. This is one of those films where you use this as reference material to show off what Blu-ray can do. Even the CGI looks good, which I wasn’t a big fan of at the theater but watching this a second time I warmed up to the idea. While ‘I Am Legend’ offers a TrueHD audio track, I wasn’t as impressed with the audio like I have been with FOX releases in the last week such as ‘Hitman’ or ‘Independence Day’. Personally, I think that the DTS-HD has a much louder punch with dialog and action scenes in FOX titles than TrueHD does with many Warner releases. Regardless, the TrueHD track is still excellent and would take this over DD+ any day.
Besides some of the holes in the story, I highly recommend ‘I Am Legend’