Hi everybody, well, I saw "I am legend" yesterday. Before you scroll down to the actual review, please use the search engine on this site to check out my other reviews. They should clearly indicate that I am a miserable old coot with no life, a deep rooted hatred of Hollywood schlockbusters, and a sincere conviction that a) Akiva Goldsman should burn in hell, and that b) the Fresh Prince just isn't an action star, not matter how much he pumps up (to Dolph Lundgren-esque proportions by now). I have followed the development of this movie since the time it was supposed to star Schwarzenegger (a story perfectly retold in "The greatest sci-fi movies never made" - buy it!). I know the original story, I have the Vincent Price version (odd, but strangely satisfying), I love the Charlton Heston version (I'm a kid of the 70's - sue me), and I recently listened to the superior BBC radio adaptation. All of which should strongly indicate that I went into this screening with a desire to hate whatever the director of numerous J-Lo videos, the writer of "Batman & Robin", and the lead actor from "Wild Wild West" were going to throw at me. And yeah - it started tacky enough: Loads of attention grabbing shots of a digitally depopulated New York coupled with a "chase scene" that combines Fast & Furious-style driving with distractingly obvious CGI animals. But then the movie proper started - and man, it's a BLAST! I don't care what everybody else says, but this bitch ROCKS. Not just because they actually manage to build a plausible backstory (even for the "vampires"), and give the scenario an atmosphere of dread and isolation. No, "I am legend" works because despite all the action sequences and FX fireworks, it's still very much the story of a lonely man incapable of accepting fate. The finer details of the script are too numerous to list here, but if you look for it, everything in the movie has a subtext, a mirror opposite, or some deeper connection. Mankind brings the plague upon itself, and every time things take a turn for the worse, someone has caused it. Even Robert Neville is responsible for everything karma throws at him, and when his carefully balanced world starts to unravel, it's strictly because he made mistakes, ignored facts, slipped up. I can not praise Wil Smith enough in this one - his Robert Neville is a man clearly trying to hold on to his sanity, but man, it is slipping. You can see that his strict daily fitness and security schedule is the only thing that keeps him from going totally bonkers. And when things go from bad to worse (well, in this case from worse to worst), he rapidly unravels. He is no hero. He is frightened, mad, alone, desperate, hateful. That's another thing: Despite the big budget, big property, and big star, "I am legend" is not a heroic blockbuster. It's almost - intimate. There, I said it. Robert Neville might be a trained scientist and soldier, and he is trying to save mankind, but he is also a lost soul. Again, it's all in the details: His daily radio call to find other survivors ends with "Please... you are not alone". And in the "please" we feel his pain, because: HE is alone. I was stunned how well Goldsman and Protosevich have not only updated the original script, but filled out all the blanks, eliminated a ton of inconsistencies, and elevated it from a "survivor movie" to a deeply affecting human drama. Only after seeing this film did I realize how unsatisfying the previous adaptations were. Apart from the core drama, the action scenes are really well done, with enough pizzazz to satisfy die hard movie fans, bit also enough restraint to make them plausible and real (no Michael Bay style editing here). There is also actual suspense built into the action scenes - the "dog attack" is nothing short of stunning. I also liked the way they told the backstory fast, and integrated it into the movie. Zero fat, folks. You may not want to hear this, but "I am legend" is a blockbuster remake that actually stands head and shoulders above the original. Is it a perfect movie? No. The decision to depict the "vampires" as agile CGI creatures was a big mistake. They sap a lot of the reality out of the movie. And they are not very well done, with unconvincing movements and distracting facial tics. And while Neville is never painted as a messiah (see the ending of the Heston version), some unnecessary references to religion and faith could've been eliminated. But that's a matter of personal taste. The story also requires Neville to be immune to the virus, a bigshot soldier, AND a proficient scientist. That's a bit much. I was going to list numerous references to "Ground zero" as a drawback, but thinking about it, "I am legend" actually uses the analogy to its advantage: Seeing Robert Neville in a depopulated city, saying "This is Ground Zero! This is my site! I can still fix this!" works on numerous levels... Final verdict? I am STUNNED. This is better than it has any right to be. While it is not (and was never supposed to be) a true adaptation of the Matheson story, it delivers on the potential and dramatic power of the source material. For anyone who claims that big movies can be big entertainment, but not quality entertainment - this one should shut them up.