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I AM LEGEND Special Edition
DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 100 minutes/ 104 minutes, 4 animated comics, alternate version of the film, DVD-ROM weblinked featurettes
VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital (Theatrical cut)/ English 5.1 (Alternate cut)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

STUDIO: Warner Bros. Pictures/ Village Roadshow Pictures/ Original Film/ Weed Road Pictures/ Heyday Productions/ Overbrook Entertainment

I AM LEGEND is a fantastic novel by Richard Matheson. It has now been the subject of three film adaptations (THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, OMEGA MAN, I AM LEGEND). Now have fully captured the full essence of the novel. The first hour of the latest attempt, I AM LEGEND, captures the novel's atmosphere. Then the film starts to get into trouble by revealing a Hollywood style climax. Will Smith is great as Robert Neville. He captures the lonely and desperate nature of Robert Neville.

It is a little far fetched that he is a scientist looking for that miracule cure to a miracle cure to Cancer that mutated and created this whole mess. Neville fights to cure the infected (about 5 percent of the world's population since 94 percent died from the virus and only 1 percent are immune). Neville's only companion is his dog (he has been alone for about three years in New York City). He hunts for food and supplies during the day while being hole-up in his townhouse (and sometimes in the bathtub) at night when the infected come out. He works on finding a cure in the basement lab. He is the last uninfected person on Earth (as far as he knows). He broadcasts a radio signal in hope someone else has survived infection free and avoided being killed by the infected. The infected are fast and almost midnless. That is one of the film's faults. They are CGI and seem to be devoid of intelligence (one actually learns to spring a trap to get Neville). The infected take away from the film's power. They should have been more released and the film's third act shouldn't have been so rushed. I would have loved to seen the events in that built on more and be more true to the novel. Like other film versions, I AM LEGEND shares the rushed third act fault. If I AM LEGEND is ever adaptated into film again, I hope someone gets it right. This version comes the closest despite all it's faults and variations from the source material.

The alternate cut on disc 2 adds a deleted scene and a different ending that makes I AM LEGEND better film. The alternate and longer cut makes for better viewing that the theatrical version and follows up on a few plot points earlier in the film.

Disc 1 loads with trailers for THE LOST BOYS: THE TRIBE, THE DARK KNIGHT, SPEED RACER, and JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER. The only extra on the disc are four animated comics which are hit and miss. I rathe have had teh original theatrical trailer and a featurette or two on the making of the film. Sadly if you bought this on DVD instead of Blu ray, the only way to access the featurettes (making of featurettes and exploring the history of life-threatening viral infections) is through the DVD-ROM via a PC weblink. DVD-ROM and web-linked material have never won me over. It has been a bad idea always. I hope a better special edition comes along soon.

The second disc's other extra beside the alternate cut of the film is the ability to download a digital copy of the film (something that doesn't win me over since you can't play it on certain programs).

DVD case art: The Best Buy steelbook case for the two disc is more creative than the one and two disc case art.

FINAL ANALYSIS: I AM LEGEND is a flawed and yet interesting adaptation of the book. The alternate cut is worth watching.

this DVD review is (c)3-19-2008 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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