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« Hold the Juice | Main | What were they thinking? »

December 19, 2007

’I Am Legend’

I_am_legend After reading that the new Will Smith film I Am Legend broke box office records last weekend, I decided to go see it yesterday. Though I haven't read the book, I am old enough to remember the Charlton Heston film version (The Omega Man), and I was curious to see how the storyline had been adapted for a new generation.

Overall, I'd give the film 3 out of 4 stars for the acting and production values alone. Will Smith is virtually alone throughout the entire film, and his portrayal of (perhaps) the world's last man is poignant and heart-wrenching. Evidently, he spoke with men who had been prisoners of war, especially those who spent a lot of time in solitary confinement, to figure out the best way to approach his character's isolation. All in all, he does well and should at least receive an Oscar nod for his work.

Next, the scenes of an abandoned New York are a stark reminder at how quickly all man's enterprises can come to naught. Finally, while I'm not much of a horror film enthusiastic, I must admit that the scenes with the mutant humans provide some excellent "jump out of your seat" moments if you like that sort of thing.

(WARNING: Spoiler alert!) 

What elevates this film above the usual horror flick is the subtext about how man has wrecked God's creation, and what it will take to restore life. Robert Neville (Smith's character) starts off as a research physician who has both faith in God and faith in science. He loses the first, but not the second, when the "cure for cancer" turns into a virus that wipes out most of the world's population. Only a fortunate few, like Neville, have a natural immunity. Throughout the film, he is convinced that the science that caused the problem can cure the problem, and he stays at "Ground Zero" in order to discover a cure.

Late in the film, Neville rightly tells a female survivor that "God didn't do this; we did this," though he quickly adds, "There is no God!" She brings an end to his isolation, but (more importantly) she shares her faith in God with him. Through her actions and words, and through some signs that Neville realizes are from God, his spiritual faith is restored. Ironically, at the same moment, he has an scientific epiphany regarding the cure that has alluded him up to this point. It's as if to say that our human abilities have severe limits until we acknowledge the Source of those abilities. Only then are we able to use our God-given gifts the way He intends: to heal, not harm, others. (There's more to the story after this moment, but I don't want to spoil the end for those who have not seen it.) 

Ultimately, it's this message that made the film really stand out in my mind, so I encourage everyone to take a couple hours off during the busy holiday season and go see I Am Legend (rated PG-13 for violence). I don't think you'll be disappointed. 

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Comments

Jimmy D.

I saw the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a powerful reminder that life as we know it is fragile and that people are only a breath or a mist, as God's Word tells us. As for the "jump out of your seat" moments, I would advise a trip to the restroom before watching the film. :-)

Shalene

We saw the movie last night too, and though I don't usually like horror flicks (I didn't know that's what it was when I went to see it) I was pleasantly surprised by the faith shown by the characters in the movie. I really liked it. Blessings to you and Merry Christmas.

Ben

I prefer Omega Man. True the actings and effects were good in "I Am Legend", but Omega Man was somehow more realistic. As for the message in "I Am Legend" about how science is our doom and faith is our salvation: that is a rather old and unoriginal message, honestly when have you seen a "science is the salvation and faith is our doom" message in a movie?

LeeQuod

Ben wrote: 'honestly when have you seen a "science is the salvation and faith is our doom" message in a movie?'

When I saw "The Da Vinci Code".

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