spirits that speak

1.13.2008

i am intrigued


WARNING: IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN I AM LEGEND YET, BUT PLAN TO SEE IT, YOU PROBABLY DON'T WANT TO READ THIS REVIEW UNTIL YOU DO SEE IT.



so, if you've read my most recent post on my other blog you know that i saw i am legend. it took a while, but i finally saw it. i got in late but i don't think i missed much.

the movie deals with several complex themes. first, that i noticed, man's best friend. robert neville's dog, samantha, became his hunting partner and best friend. his only friend left. this created a little bit of a problem. when the dog got into a fight with an infected dog, and finally died because robert gave her a dose of the cure that kills quickly, all of robert's remaining hope died with her. so much so that he gave up his will to fight. the scene where the dog died was heartbreaking, but the scene where robert lured out infecteds so kill as many of them as possible was heartwrenching. his dog's death left him only with desperation. that's when one realizes that the dog represented robert's reason for the hard work he put into finding a cure. work that he was willing to throw away when the dog died because he allowed that event to make him think that he was the only immune left in the world. so what did it matter? what was left? take your agression and loss of hope out on infected zombies and then let other ones tear you apart and kill you.

but then there was the unexpected glimmer of light that was brought by the immune woman and her child that rescued him. unfortunately it was too late. by this point robert spent so much time without other human companionship that he was no longer prepared to re-integrate into some form of society. i don't think his failure to believe in the possibility of a colony was brought on because he couldn't find faith. i think his failure to believe was because he spent so much time allowing himself to be convinced that he was alone that he no longer cared about the possibility of that colony that confronted him in the form of someone who heard his message. but, by the end, he was willing to avoid allowing all that work to be wasted. if there is the possibility of a colony of immune people, however remote, he needed to do something. that remaining effort took a spark. that spark was created when he realized he created the cure and found out how to make it work. if that was possible, and becoming reality, then all the possibilities that he lost hope in were not quite out of the question. i'm tempted to think that in the moment before his death, he didn't just regain hope. he didn't just regain faith. he knew that his original hope was correct. he was right all along and now he needed to make that a reality.

i suppose it's the final ending of the film that i'm most conflicted about. it's an appropriate ending, don't get me wrong. life doesn't always work out the way you think it should. robert died but left behind a legacy of hope for humanity. it's probably the way the movie should have ended...but it still left me feeling a little empty. the course of the film spends time convincing us to like robert and relate to him. we're hoping beyond hope that he will see the fruit of his labor. even see his wife and daughter again, in the colony. when his heart breaks at the death of his dog, our heart breaks with him. we almost have a relationship with him.
we have little to no relationship with anna (the immune that rescued him). we don't dislike her. after all, hers is the voice of faith. she believes in things that are beyond her control. but we don't have that relationship with her. although at the end i'm relieved to find that her belief in the colony was correct, i'm slightly less happy about it because robert isn't there. if i can find a flaw in the story, and i usually don't see flaws in films as easily as the jaded skeptics i keep company with, it would be that robert didn't get to see what anna did.

after i see a movie i always go through a process of deciding whether or not i will eventually buy it on DVD. sometimes it's not even a question. sometimes i know i will buy it, sometimes i know i never will. in this case i'm still not decided. there are so many emotions involved in the movie i don't know if i could get through it again. i was depressed when the dog died. but then i think i want to see it again, and again, and again...if only to gain a better understanding of what it says. not to mention to again find an appreciation of the acting, the cinematography, and the art of it. i had a similar indecision when i first saw the departed.

if you know me you know how that one worked out...

3 Comments:

  • i saw it at the midnight showing on the release date. i have to admit for some reason i've been drawn to the zombie genre in the last few years so a mainstream zombie (esque really in this case) is worth a theatre visit. i bought the book but didn't read it until after the movie, and it actually made me appreciate the ending alot more. or more to the point enjoy the rest of the movie despite the abrupt ending. it didn't bother me that he died, just that it was over so quickly. I tried to watch Omega Man with charleton heston, man that was a mistake what a horrible wretch of a movie. i still haven't seen the 50's vincent price version, but have read it is closest to the novella. I didn't think i would want to watch it again, but am looking forward to it now - the cinematography is great, some of the scenes are beyond creepy (the bank vault for instance), and as a character study it is definitely will smith at his best.

    off topic, a friend of mine in calgary might be out in your neck of the woods sometime in february - i'm not totally sure when yet i have to talk to him still; will you two be around then? you can respond on my facebook wall! haha, talk to you soon!

    By Blogger pxpaulx, at 20:31  

  • yeah, it'll be a while before i live the facebook thing down.

    but, anyway, it depends when you will be here. it would be painful to miss you. the only time in february when i know we won't be here is feb 15-19 (getting back on the 19th). we're going to bc so i can get my next tattoo. other than that it'd be great to see you guys.

    By Blogger johnny m, at 10:43  

  • actually, my take on the dog is that (beyond the point that it was his only companion), because it was his daughter's dog, it was his only connection to his family. Once the dog died, that last connection to his family and his normal life was cut off - very abrubtly.

    As to the introduction of the 2 characters toward the end (the lady and her son), I felt it all happened a bit too suddenly and didn't really make sense. It was kind of awkward. I think they could have done a better job of that one.

    I feel good about the ending. It was really fitting. I always hate it when people die and initially I just groaned real loud and yelled "STUPID MOVIE!" But after a bit of pondering, I realize it was exactly what was supposed to happen. A good redemption through sacrifice story is always a good thing.

    By Blogger Shiny Beamer, at 13:53  

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