So last night I saw the new Big Willy joint "I Am Legend" based on the 1954 Richard Matheson classic. Chances are you've already read a bunch of reviews recently that told you that and forgot when I told you about it months ago. So I'm not going to repeat myself. I WAS excited about this movie...until the CGI news I heard...but you know that too. I never really understood how unbelievably disappointed I'd be by the CGI until the first scene where an infected human flies out the window and starts banging his CGI noggin on the pavement flopping around like that fish in the end of that Faith No More music video "Epic".
I think the most frustrating thing for me about this movie is that it didn't need to be eye bogglingly ridiculous. I was drawn in and sold so well with the haunting city scapes, the eerie silence and somber but still positive attitude of Neville (Smith). It was starting out as a very fine adaptation of the novel, until the creepy crawlies came on the scene. I was so built up and excited that this might NOT end up to be a steaming pile of manure, that I fell extra hard when all of the infected humans looked worse than Imhotep from The Mummy remake in 1999. In fact, it looked as if they were modeled exactly from the creatures in the mummy just given different skin textures. Those mummy's actually looked BETTER and that was about EIGHT YEARS AGO. Is our CGI actually getting WORSE?
Also, I don't know why they even bothered to try and establish a lead infected human if they were going to make a hard left turn from the novel. So this one vampire bangs his head against things and screams a little louder at Neville than the others? Big Whoop. He wasn't nearly as cool as Mathias from the 1971 film "The Omega Man" that was also based on the Matheson novel.
They also threw in some dogs from the Resident Evil movies for spice, some explosions for ticket sales, and Will Smith reciting a scene from Shrek for laughs. It ended up just resorting to cheap startle tactics to get scares from folks as if it were a 28 days later ripoff, and the screams of the "vampires" don't get me started. I'll never figure out how a virus can transform a human larynx into that of a T-Rex/Dolphin/Monster from LOST hybrid that can rattle glass as well as bust my ear drums in the theater. I'm not putting my hands on my ears cause I'm scared, I'm doing it because it's painful and annoying to hear. In fact, the most creepy scene was when Neville found them while they were sleeping and you could hear the rapid and frantic breathing patterns of them in the darkness. Much more effective than a close up CGI mouth and a Dolby shattering squeal.
Which with all these distractions leads me to the ultimate disappointment; they drove us away from the TRUE scary point of the whole novel entirely. The infected humans aren't what we are supposed to be frightened of at all. Neville is the monster in their world, he is the last of his kind in a new place, and he can travel in both daylight and darkness, hunting and experimenting on the the infected. In their eyes, he's the enemy and he's their legend. Not the savior of the human race...though I suppose people don't buy tickets to see intelligent endings.