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I AM LEGEND (WIDESCREEN TWO-DISC SPECIAL EDITION WITH DIGITAL COPY) (2007)

 



I Am Legend (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition with Digital Copy) (2007)
 

Actors: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Thomas J. Pilutik, Salli Richardson, Paradox Pollack
Directors:
Francis Lawrence
Format:
Anamorphic, Color, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
Language:
English
Subtitles:
English, French, Spanish
Region:
1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35:1
Number of discs:
2
Studio:
Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date:
March 18, 2008
Run Time:
100 minutes

DVD Special Features include:

Single disc contains:

  • Four animated comics

Second disc contains:

  • Never before seen alternate ending
  • DVD-ROM PC Weblink to more than 90 minutes of bonus content and featurettes, revealing how the film was made and shot on location in New York City etc.
  • Digital download copy of the film
     

Movie:
Disc:

This double-disc edition of the recent Will Smith blockbuster I Am Legend contains two versions of the movie, each with a different ending.

[SPOILERS!] In one version of the movie the hero dies and in the other one he gets to live. Surprisingly Hollywood went for the one in which he dies and the "controversial" ending (as the DVD box breathlessly declares) unique to the DVD release is the one in which Smith's character gets to live. I suppose in a future Blu-Ray release one day they'll have a button asking "Do you want Will Smith to live?" It'd be interesting to know how many people would vote for what and how Will Smith himself would feel when faced by those particular statistics. [END SPOILERS!]

In one way the alternate ending makes more sense than the one finally used in cinemas, but in another way it doesn't. For starters, the alternate ending omits the meaning of the movie's title. But that that is something which the movie got wrong in any case: it differs so wildly from the original 1950s novel by Richard Matheson that all similarities are almost coincidental. On the other hand, it makes sense from a narrative point of view and will score higher with thoughtful sci-fi types. The ending used will however go down better with action movie fans. It is really difficult to choose between the two endings to be honest.

The story is by now familiar: Will Smith is the only living survivor of a deathly man-made plague which has either killed most of the planet's population or turned them into rage-filled animals, a bit like the ones seen in 28 Days Later . . . Unlike the zombies in said movie, the creatures in I Am Legend are extremely averse to light, which makes them somewhat akin to the vampires featured in the original source novel.

Upon re-watching it the movie's faults become more apparent, but are also minimized at the same time. On the small screen the CGI special effects no longer seem so poor. However it becomes apparent that the first half is much better than the second, and that the film-makers had no clear idea how to end the story.

THE DISCS: An audio commentary of some sort would have been welcome, especially to discuss the two alternate endings and why the one was chosen over the other one. Was the one ending shown to test audiences first? Or did the suits decide on it?

As it is there are no making-of featurettes on the disc itself. Just a web link for PC users - but to be honest, who wants to watch this sort of thing on their PC? I'm sure that it could easily have been fitted onto the discs themselves so that you can watch it in the comfort of your own couch.

Maybe if they skipped the senseless bonus digital copy they could have fitted the extras on instead. This digital copy allows you to watch the movie on a portable medium such as an iPod, but hey! who really wants to watch a movie on such a small screen? Besides there seems to be so many restrictions attached to the digital copy that it probably makes portability a joke. (Plus one has to type in a code that is so long that it resembles a string of computing code!)

WORTH IT? I Am Legend is elevated by a surprisingly good performance by Will Smith. If only the rest of the movie were as good as Smith it would have been one of the year's best films. As it is, I Am Legend is worth checking out, but it could have been great instead of merely good.

RECOMMENDATION: Worth a rental. We really missed those audio commentaries and easily accessible making off featurettes. The animated comics on the first disc were okay, but this set is a bit of a letdown. Wait for it to be reissued one day with all the features one would like one.


 



 

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