In 2007, the film I Am Legend was released in theaters and captivated audiences in a heart racing, edge of the seat thriller, but this is not where I Am Legend began. The year 1954 the fantasy novel, I am Legend, by Richard Matheson came out and was one of the original zombie apocalypse novels that enticed its audience in the idea that mindless zombies would someday take over the world. At the time this book, it was looked at as an interesting read, but as time began to pass, more and more people began to become attracted to this idea of a zombie apocalypse. The Last Man on Earth, and Night of the Living Dead were inspired by the novel I Am Legend.
The 2007 blockbuster, I Am Legend, was directed by Francis Lawrence and starred actors such as Alice Braga, Will Smith, and his daughter Willow Smith. The story takes place in a fallen city of New York after a virus, meant to cure cancer, spreads throughout the entire world killing off everyone. Dr. Robert Neville, aka Will Smith, is the main character who is a high ranking official in the United States Military. The opening scenes of the movie are with the evacuation of all high ranking personnel within the city. Of course, like in all movies the lead character feels as if he should not leave because of his sense of duty. Dr. Neville watches as his family dies in a horrific helicopter crash as he stays in New York because of his sense of responsibility for the city. The movie then fast forwards to the now post apocalyptic world where Dr. Neville and his partner, Sam, his German Shepard, try and find a cure for the virus in hopes of finding someone in a world where he may be the last person alive. Personally, I love the direction that Director Francis Lawrence takes in the opening of the movie. First off, it is a truly original opening sequence that leaves the watcher questioning if it is reality or fiction. The movie continues with the depicting of everyday survival in a post apocalyptic world where you and your dog are the only things inhabiting the earth. Dr. Neville continues his research for finding a cure on zombie test subjects, but is still unsuccessful. At the same time, everyday he visits the peer to broadcast a message looking for survivors. At this point, the viewer is asking, Isn't this a horror movie? Yes, Will Smith is an amazing actor and for the beginning half of the movie single handedly carried the movie with his acting. I think this what director Lawrence wanted because at this point, the viewer has a personal connection with Dr. Neville and his situation, due to how hopeless and lonely he is. Hold on, is how I describe the rest of the movie because right when the movie feels as if it's about to stall out, everything goes wrong. The movie at this point pushes towards an idea that these seemingly mindless zombies actually have cognitive thinking. This is a huge turning point because we discover that Dr. Nevilles test subject is the love of one of the zombies and this is why Dr. Neville ends up trapped by him. The plot thickens because the lead zombie is only being held back by the light from a setting sun. So as time is running out, the zombie, with his zombie dogs, edge closer and closer to struggling Dr. Neville. This is one of my favorite parts of the movie because unlike other blockbusters I Am Legend does not need over the top special effects, but rather Will Smith and his acting which was phenomenal. Fast forwarding through the plot twists, Dr. Neville escapes but Sam had to be put down due to being infected with the virus. This was the most dramatic plot twist that could have happened. The rest of the movie is a mix between a thriller and horror movie, where the viewers were locked in until the end. The ending of I Am Legend is one of the best movie endings that has ever came across a movie screen. The entire movie was a slow building connection to Dr. Neville and in the final scenes he sacrifices himself for the good of the world. I believe this was on purpose because it achieved a new level and the viewers hanging. Even though the viewer understands the decision he is left with a feeling of emptiness and unsatisfactory taste. This movie was a success not because of a huge bolstering budget with special effects, but because of a complicated plot that viewers dive into along with Will Smith's incredible acting.
Overall, I would rate this movie a 9 out of 10, not because it is one of my favorite movies in existence, but because of the plot and execution of a classic novel in a modern sense is almost incomparable. It took a great plot and combined it with outstanding acting to achieve a new level of personal connection to the audience which has not been replicated since. This connection is what makes this movie such a compelling and convincing story that plays on emotions that all humans share. The director decisions with the direction of the movie along with the original plot has created a movie that will last through the ages.