Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at the New York ColdFusion User Group (May. 2009) with: Gert Franz and Peter Bell

I Am Legend Starring Will Smith

By Ben Nadel on
Tags: Movies

I don't think you can really discuss this movie without giving away some I Am Legend spoilers; so if you haven't seen this movie yet and really want to go in fresh, don't read any further as it will take away some of the mystery.


 
 
 

 
I Am Legend Movie Poster  
 
 
 

I Am Legend is a fantastic movie. It's gripping and intense and I think, perhaps, Will Smith's greatest performance. The movie really draws you in and effects you at a deep emotional level. There's something about the way the story is told that, while the scenario is highly fantastical, the character is almost painfully relatable. When it comes down to it, the movie is about being alone and I think that this is the single most terrifying human fear.

When I think about the things that would make my life very difficult, such as going blind, losing the use of my hands, or even being paralyzed, it's a horrific thought; but the fact of the matter is, all of that could be bearable if you still had love and companionship. If however, you were simply and completely alone, even the smallest challenges in life would feel almost insurmountable. This is how we find Dr. Robert Neville, played by Smith, at the beginning of the film. He has nobody but his dog, Samantha (Sam), to keep him company.


 
 
 

 
I Am Legend Movie Still - Will Smith With Dog In Bathtub  
 
 
 

Every little detail of the film makes you think about his solitude - whether it's the way he talks to his dog and forces him to eat his vegetables, the fact that he has positioned mannequins in stores to simulate a real shopping experience, or even the fact that he starts off every day watching old, recorded news tapes; you get this almost sick, knotted feeling that he is doing everything he can just to hold on to his sanity.

There's a point in the movie where a mannequin, that Will Smith is used to "chatting" with, suddenly appears in a different place in the city. When Smith's character sees this, he freaks out - is he going crazy? is he being watched? is someone else there? You can practically feel what he is thinking, and I'll tell you, I almost felt nauseous with anxiety during this scene.


 
 
 

 
I Am Legend Movie Still - Will Smith And Dog Alone On Road  
 
 
 

The whole movie had me on edge and highly stressed. When I left the theater, I felt completely exhausted. Even writing about it now, I feel my shoulders tensing up. If that's not the sign of an amazing movie, I don't know what is? In a world where we have become all but numb to violence and injustice, to have a movie come along and really just tear at you somewhere deep down inside, it's pretty remarkable. I highly recommend that you see this film, and really try to see it in the theater; I think you need to experience it in this larger than life way to really get the full effect.

The effects in this movie, especially the fact that they could make New York City look empty, are quite awesome. But again, the effects are almost second to the human experience as seen through the eyes of the main character.

Tweet This Interesting post by @BenNadel - I Am Legend Starring Will Smith Thanks my man — you rock the party that rocks the body!


Reader Comments

I liked this movie but I thought that the use of computer generated characters took away from the realism. The vampire like characters would not have been difficult to recreate using makeup and costumes. They need to keep-it-real :)

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This was a movie that I was really looking forward to seeing after reading the book. Big mistake on my part. I'm glad others seem to enjoy it but I didn't. Let's just say it would be like watch Episode 3 of Star Wars and finding out that Jar Jar Binks became Vader.

Enjoying the movie reviews so keep them coming.

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Ben, this movie was a pale shadow of the book. I expect a movie to not be as good as a book, but in this case it really falls far from the source. Do yourself a favor and pick up the book. It is a quick read (I think around 110 pages or so) and is infinitely more intense and emotional. Will did an OK job... but frankly until you read the book you just don't know. There are scenes in the book that haunt me to do this day. Of all the 'End of the World' books/movies I have seen, none have done as good a job in really putting yourself in the mind of a survivor.

I won't ruin the book for you - but the ending - most of all - is dramatically different. The monsters are quite a bit different as well.

Trust me - pick up the book.

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The previews got me all pumped to see this movie.

I have to say I was let down after seeing it. Yeah there were some tense moments, and I gripped my chair during a a few parts, but I never really got INTO it.

I was just detached from most of the movie.

Next up, Alien VS. Predator! :)

Will

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@Ray,

I will check out the book. I've talked to a few people who have read it and I hear nothing but good things. I love end of the world stories.

@Will,

Maybe that just says something about me. Maybe I am just more sympathetic to the feeling of being alone. Or maybe it just jived with me.

Yeah, I'll see AVP2 also. I am a sucker for action movies, and especially the predator. What a badass character :)

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while the movie was good, i still preferred the book & the second movie (vincent price starred in the first adaptation of the book which the author worked on--don't recall seeing it but i never really liked most vincent price movies).

it's in line w/most other modern "survival/horror" movies which seem to be populated w/dumb asses who really don't deserve to survive--i mean who the hell hunts deer like that? why take umpteen un-needed chances like that? do hollywood script writers think characters need to be dumb to pump up the excitement? you'd think living thru the end of the world & living in a city populated by crazed vampires would be exciting enough?

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I picked up the book at the train station on the way up to my family's for Christmas. I'm though the first 70 pages (almost half way), but I do like the book. It is very different from the movie in almost all aspects. It's pretty good so far. I am at the point where he is trying to find cures by reading through the medical books. Hopefully, I can find time to finish it this week.

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I say "I am Legend" on Dec 24th, and I have to say I enjoyed it in spite of the CGI characters. Next movie is Alien Vs Predator 2 - maybe tomorrow, if I can get some work done tonight. That just looks like fun.

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@WTL,

Yeah, I am kind of excited for AvP-R. I have a real soft spot in my heart for The Predator. He just seems like such an honorable warrior; he never uses a weapon unless you have a weapon and I just feel like their race is bound by some sort of a code. I'll feel like they're a do-right kind of people. You can see aspects of this in Predator 1, but especially in Predator 2 (with Danny Glover). He's also a huge-ass alien with dreads, and you just don't see that enough these days :)

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Unfortunately, AVP-R sucks as well. Just saw it last night. You couldn't even tell what was happening because they filmed it in the pouring rain to drowned out details.

Oh well....

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@Will,

Crap! Is it worth seeing at all, at least for "fun" factor? Or should I just wait till it's the Friday night movie on Fox?

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I guess ... majestic Colorado as the backdrop makes it worth seeing.

just be warned... there's lotsa DRIVING RAIN in the fight scenes.

Will

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The previews to the movie really made me want and feel the need to see it, and all in all, it was very good. Some parts were slightly disappointing, mostly whenever you saw the Dark Seekers' graphics. I found them completely unrealistic and that they took away from the movie.

*SPOILERS*

I cried like a baby whenever Sam died/mutated. There's nothing sadder in a movie than whenever the main character's best friend is a dog and the dog dies.
I didn't really enjoy the acting of Anna, but I LOVED Will Smith's acting. Once again, he really out did himself.
The music in the movie was perfect for the scenes.
My least favorite part had to be the scene when Sam went into the bank (that dark place w/ the money on the ground). Don't get me wrong, that was probably one of the most suspenseful scenes, and I did cry thinking that she was dead, but I couldn't stand how you weren't able to see anything. It was all dark!

If I were to rate the movie by stars, and 5 was the best, I'd give it a 4* review.

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@Gretchen,

I agree with the Dark Seeker comment - especially the "leader". It seemed like this head kept shape shifting and distorting when he screamed; what's up with that? They were just infected, they still had solid bones.

I loved the dog scene, very moving; as someone who grew up 7 dogs and held one as it was being put to sleep, it was easily relatable. But, I have to disagree with you on the dark bank scene. It was a little bit drawn out, true, but when he is down on the first floor still, and you can hear him saying "I gotta go Sam, I gotta go", but at the same time, he's crying and obviously can't gain the courage to leave the dog there AND can't find the courage to keeping going farther in .... to me, that was insanely tense and emotional. If anything, you can really see how much he loved and valued the dog when he wouldn't leave her in there even if it was clearly a huge chance of his own death.

But yeah, Will Smith really outdid himself with this movie.

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I saw AvP2 today and I have to say, I really enjoyed it - but I went in with zero expectations (as I do with most films).

Yes, it is dark and rainy. I thought that just made the situation worse.

Ben, from your previous comments, I *think* you'll enjoy it. The audience certainly enjoyed it here. Heck, even my wife thought it was kind of cool.

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@WTL,

Well that closes it - I'm gonna see it. Sounds like a good popcorn movie :) Popcorn and violence!

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I recently saw this movie, and liked it so much that I followed it up by reading the book.

I was surprised, as from the very outset, the book and the movie are very different. I thought the book was a little better; a little more engaging on an intellectual level. In particular, the book had a better ending.

However, I don't agree with all the naysayers that harp on about how disappointing the movie was compared to the book. Frankly, I've seen enough vampire movies, and I'm glad they changed the "plague" to a man-made mutating virus.

One thing I like in particular about the movie was it's use of the man vs. God dynamic. At several points in the movie they bring up that the disease (evil) is brought about by man, not God. When Dr. Neville finally listens to God he is finally led to being the "legend", the salvation of mankind. On the other hand, the original book dismisses God's role as the one who people turn to in a final act of useless desperation.

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@Daren,

I just finished the book over the weekend. It was a good book, but it was almost a completely different story from the movie. I feel like I can't even compare the two because they don't have enough in common. It's like someone read the book and was then like, "Hey, that book gives me an idea for a really kick ass movie."

I don't even want to say which one I liked better as I feel like they were too different. The book was very good, but so was the movie. I can really see how people were thrown off when the movie was nothing like the book.

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@Ben

I read the book back in high school (late 80s) and was a bit confused when I saw the movie, but realized that it was one of those movies that is incredibly loosely based on the book rather than a careful adaptation.

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@WTL,

I think that's a good outlook. I can see why people could be really thrown if they expected it to be a real faithful port to the big screen.

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This movie was fantastic. Every scene really brought me to the edge of my seat.The plot was amazing the characters were great and the scenery was what really put me into a stake of shock and awe. WILL SMITH IN THE MAN!

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This movie was fantastic. Every scene really brought me to the edge of my seat.The plot was amazing the characters were great and the scenery was what really put me into a stake of shock and awe. WILL SMITH IN THE MAN!

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Quote
___________________________________________________________

The previews to the movie really made me want and feel the need to see it, and all in all, it was very good. Some parts were slightly disappointing, mostly whenever you saw the Dark Seekers' graphics. I found them completely unrealistic and that they took away from the movie.

*SPOILERS*

I cried like a baby whenever Sam died/mutated. There's nothing sadder in a movie than whenever the main character's best friend is a dog and the dog dies.
I didn't really enjoy the acting of Anna, but I LOVED Will Smith's acting. Once again, he really out did himself.
The music in the movie was perfect for the scenes.
My least favorite part had to be the scene when Sam went into the bank (that dark place w/ the money on the ground). Don't get me wrong, that was probably one of the most suspenseful scenes, and I did cry thinking that she was dead, but I couldn't stand how you weren't able to see anything. It was all dark!

If I were to rate the movie by stars, and 5 was the best, I'd give it a 4* review.

Posted by Gretchen on Dec 27, 2007 at 3:48 PM

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I completely agree with you, Gretchen, Will Smith really did out do himself.
And at the part where he had to kill Sam, I almost cried too. Just to have to kill my own dog because it tried to save my life, and got infected, it just makes me feel sick.
I really hope Will can make another movie like this, because it really was an amazing movie. It had me tensed up at just the right moments, the music was good, and it was also a kind of sad movie, in the way that Dr. Neville had to kill his dog, and sacrificed himself for Anna and her son, just so they could bring the cure to the stronghold.

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I thought at the end of the film That he will let them eat him ! , so he will be the CURE ,and this will be the great end of a great Movie .

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I expected much more action out of this movie. I preferred Will smith in the movie iRobot, much more exciting than this.

The movie is also unrealistic... How the hell does almost the whole world die out and then there are 2 kids who are safe? For them to style alive with the infected humans doesn't make much sense.

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Of course it won't be 100%, but only the strong can survive! Especially when you have "monsters" walking about. I wouldn't call a young boy and a young girl strong enough to live while the "monsters" are about.

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