Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I Am Legend: Alternate Ending

I liked this flick all the way up to the last 10 minutes. I haven't read the graphic novel but from what I gather, this ending is a little more in keeping with the spirit of the novel. The "Legend" isn't from the Bob Marley album but is supposed to describe Will Smith's character: this man who abducts the "zombies" (in the novel they're vampires) while they're vulnerable to the sunlight and then performs all sorts of painful, horrible experiments on them. He is the legend they fear, a reversal of our fears about urban "legends" such as vampires and the like. The whole plot line of God supposedly talking to her and her exodus (just a little more unnecessary Marley and religious pablum for you) to the little fenced in religious compound upstate just felt like a focus group approved hack job. Watch and see if this seems a bit more in keeping with previous events in the film:


Anonymous said...

You need to read the book. So do I, for that matter. I read the original 90s script that is commonly thought to be the best script never put to film in the 90s. It was awesome. Between that script and spoilers I've heard about the book, there are a lot of things I'd have wished different in the Will Smith edition. In general it was pretty good though. Here are some of my assorted thoughts:

1. They're not zombies or vampires, they're hemocytes. The treatment that people were taking to cure their cancer had virus-like qualities and was programmed to eat the bad blood cells. However, instead of stopping there and dying, it would begin eating the good blood cells as well. That's why the people become so bloodthirsty... they've got this thing living in them that wants a constant supply of blood. This also explains why they're so pale and (I guess) sensitive to light.

2. I do not like the way they portrayed the hemocytes. In the book and the 90s script they were VERY much human still. They had a civilized culture, knew exactly who Neville was and had dialogue with him.

3. I do not like the Hollywood ending that they originally tried to run with. (The one you just posted.) The ending they ended up using was much closer to the spirit of the story, though still not quite there. Bob Neville was a tormented and depressed human being. He fought hard for his life but had nothing to live for except the dog.


4. The reason I liked the revised ending more is because I still felt like Neville was not trying to be a hero. I actually thought that once he'd seen his dog die and his house get destroyed, he decided to finally let go of life. He was sick of it and decided to commit suicide. No, this is not a happy ending, but I don't need that. You can certainly look at the whole scene and say he WAS trying to be a hero, but for a relative purist as myself, I refuse to believe that's the decision he made. This guy was sick of life in hell. Because let's admit it, that's where he was living.


Perhaps, if our schedules allow us, we can each get a copy of this book and read it in November, and talk about it over Christmas. Reading the book is a goal of mine. The 90s script was totally worth it. If I can find the link where I read it, I'll post it for you.

Anonymous said...

Found it:

Anonymous said...

Okay, my husband is officially obsessed with your blog. Why did you start one again???

I enjoy reading it too!

JBW said...

As I obviously haven't read the book either I may have been wrong about a few details. I think reading and discussing it over Christmas is a fine idea; count me in.

Some quick research tells me that the hemocytes (which is another name for a blood cell), if not vampires (is there an exact definition?) do seem to exhibit the same symptoms. Their aversion to garlic seems to be a strong arguement for this, in addition to the same aversion to sunlight and the thirst for blood.

The vampires in the book are apparently made up of two societies: one is the fully transformed and the other is a recently formed one of infected but not changed humans. It is this group that eventually comes for Neville because he kills the infected as well as the vampiric.

I have to disagree that it makes more sense for Neville to end his life. I don't think that he just goes on because of his dog (in the book he only has it for a week before it dies of the infection); he has his work of curing the disease and is broadcasting every day in an effort to find other humans like himself. I think that if anything was going to make him cash in his chips it was the deaths of his wife and daughter. A man doesn't go to that kind of trouble on a daily basis if he's that tired of life. Also, he doesn't have to continue to dwell in "hell"; he's a military man that I'm sure could outfit an armored personnel carrier or the like to suit his needs and leave the city. In the book he doesn't welcome death; it is forced on him.

I'm glad you guys are digging the blog. Spread the word! I have "Blogging For Dummies" coming in the mail; going to see what I can do to make it better. Oh, I sent a link to Reed but I don't know if I have his correct email address. Please forward this to him and my momma if either of you get a chance.

Anonymous said...

As soon as I posted this I regretted using the name hemocytes instead of just saying human. But I left it in there because I figured you wouldn't think twice about it. Whoops. Anyway, the emphasis in that other script was heavy on the fact that these were real people with a sickness that could potentially be cured, not just bloodthirsty Dracula types.

I'd love to read the book because I understand that his character in there is 100% different and the ending makes perfect sense. Based on this movie alone, I think my statements that he is incredibly depressed and defeated hold true. You might even throw "a little insane" in there as well. I don't believe he really wanted to find out if the survivors camp was myth or not. I think he would have much rathered stay at home and continue to do his research. Well, he's got some hope with this last mixture, so that's good, but his home is destroyed now and he doesn't really want to leave. I suppose they didn't have another way out of that closet, but I really do believe that his decision to grenade the joint was 50% quitting and 50% giving her a chance to take that serum elsewhere. He made a lot of effort to contact other people over the years, yes, but he experienced a tremendous amount of loss in that last week. Losing his best friend, his home and a bleak outlook for the future in his opinion. Even if he was trying to be the hero, I still like the used-ending better. The only human qualities they gave the infected throughout the film came when he kidnapped the girl in the first place.

Either way, the script I linked to previously was miles ahead of the one we watched in the theater. The girl and the boy have MUCH better roles. Neville's relationship with the infected is more interesting as well.