I am Legend
Alternative titles for this film: I am Mediocrity; I am Missed Opportunity; I am Total Waste of 90 Minutes of Your Life.
I'd heard that this film was bad, but I didn't realise how bad. I am Legend bears so little resemblance to the classic SF/horror hybrid novel by Richard Matheson that you almost wonder why they bothered to give it the same title. Aside from the fact that the protagonists in book and film both have the same name, there's not a lot in common between the two mediums.
What makes the book so brilliant is the tense, claustrophobic feel as Neville cowers in his barricaded house, listening to the vampires howling his name as he prays for the dawn. This aspect just doesn't appear in the film at all, which is one of two fundamental flaws that undermine it.
The other flaw is the use of CGI for the monsters. The mutants just look like cheap cast-offs from the Mummy films - they just don't inspire fear at all. This really killed the film for me - why the hell didn't they just use actors? Sure, this would mean less flexibility, but a far better degree of realism.
Will Smith does his best with a rather dull script as he wanders about a ruined cityscape that just looks like a movie set, but the whole film just falls totally flat. There are flashes of what could have been, namely the sequence early on when Neville ventures into a dark building to find his dog, but overall it's a bland, unexciting mess with a really weak ending bolted on. If you want a post-apocalyptic film with ruined cityscapes and survivors struggling for survival against a mutated population, then watch 28 Days Later instead.
Now this is a rarity - a good vampire film. In terms of atmosphere, this film is bang on the money - it's tense, it's unnerving, it's visceral. Josh Hartnett is perhaps a surprising name to take the lead role, but he does pretty well. The script is good, building believable relationships between the characters and setting up some cool sequences.
The vampires are really well done, bearing more similarities to the terrifying creatures of European folktales than the melancholic types floating around in frilly cuffs. Unlike the monsters in I am Legend, real actors are used instead of dodgy CGI, and it makes all the difference.
In all, a really strong horror movie with a surprisingly moving ending.
Bit of an odd one, this. One of those movies which you quite enjoy, but don't really quite understand the point of.
I loved the scenes set in Meanwhile City; really liked the Victorian/Steampunk setting, and the really odd happenings going on here. These sequences were really evocative and atmospheric.
The storylines set in the real world were engaging as well though, with some surprisingly noir-ish prose and characters. The script cleverly links all the stories of the separate characters together, resulting in an intense climax to the film.
And yet, despite this, I couldn't help but wonder what exactly the meaning of at all was. Still, clocking in at just over 90 minutes it's well worth a watch, and a good opportunity to show some support for an upcoming British director. And it's certainly better than much of the drivel coming out of Hollywood these days (Pirates of the Caribbean 4? Yawn).
Bit underwhelmed by this one. Robert Downey Jr. is admittedly terrific, bringing real charisma and dynamism to the role, while the effects - as you expect these days - are excellent, and the actual Iron Man suit is just unbelievably cool.
But the plot is rather thin on the ground; the film starts well enough, though a lot more could have been made of Stark's imprisonment. But once he escapes, the whole thing goes downhill a bit. Main problem is a lack of a decent villain; Obadiah Stane just didn't cut it for me. The eventual mash-up between Stane and Stark was rather disappointing.
Feel like this was a bit of a missed opportunity, it's all just a bit lightweight. Hopefully the planned sequel will have a meatier plot and better bad guy, as that was all that was really missing from this first instalment.
I loved Pan's Labyrinth, which single-handedly proved that Guillermo del Toro is a massively talented film director. I was intrigued by the premise of Cronos (which involves a parasite contained in a mechanical critter, giving eternal life to anyone who uses it) and the many accolades the film received seemed to indicate that it would be well worth a watch.
Wrong. Cronos left me totally cold, it just didn't do anything for me at all. There's no tension or atmosphere, and the painfully one-dimensional plot offers little of interest. So much more could have been done with the relationship between Gris and his wife, after he becomes a vampire (there are hints but it's emotionally muted), and also with Dieter de la Guardia, the dying man who is desperate for the parasite's gift. Ron Pearlman's villain, Angel, is one-dimensional to the point of embarrassment.