Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I AM LEGEND (Francis Lawrence, 2007, USA) This should be re-titled THIS IS GARBAGE. Loosely based on the great Richard Matheson novel I AM LEGEND, this popcorn flick has diluted the intelligent scientific discourse of the source material to the point of a second grade mentality with an equally condescending finale. And don’t tell me this is “just a movie and get over it” because any good story must be internally consistent so we the audience can suspend our disbelief and fall through the rabbit hole, so to speak. Running water? Gas pumps that work? Even Heston in THE OMEGA MAN manually siphoned fuel and went grocery shopping for canned food when he was hungry! As cheesy as Heston’s film is it at least didn’t fall victim to these unforgivable inconsistencies. These blockbusters make it difficult to get intelligent and thoughtful science fiction films produced because the audience expects and is attuned to this flotsam and jetsam. “If a million people believe a stupid thing, it is still a stupid thing.” The only possible consolation is that I hope Richard Matheson had a nice paycheck from this “adaptation”. If your brain is still functioning after this crapfest, please read the original novel and pick up a few more from Matheson such as HELL HOUSE or BID TIME RETURN. (F-)
THE OMEGA MAN (Boris Sagal, 1971, USA) Another film based on the Richard Matheson novel I AM LEGEND, Charlton Heston is a gun slinging scientist who believes he is the last man on Earth after a biological War wipes out humankind. He has injected himself with an experimental vaccine so his blood carries the salvation of the entire human race! This cheesy 70’s flick has plenty of automatic weapons, crashing cars, seething Black Power, and is a homily to children everywhere. The little girl asks Heston “Are you God?” and he just laughs evasively but I’m sure Chuck thought himself so! This is one of the fist films I saw as a child where the hero actually died at the end…though his Jesus like pose is not lost on me as an adult. For all its faults, this adaptation is much better (and more fun) than the Will Smith crapfest I AM LEGEND. (C+)

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