I am Legend on DVD

I am Legend on DVD. As other reviewers have noted, this film does not have much original thinking behind it, but is rather a salad of ideas taken from other films, such as “Escape from New York” and “28 Days Later,” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining, especially for those science fiction fans who are accustomed to seeing and willing to accept the unexplained. Will Smith plays what I think is an army scientist (it’s not really explained) who is immune to a deadly virus which has depopulated the planet. Three years after the original epidemic, Smith spends the daylight hours roaming the streets of New York with his dog, Sam, gathering supplies and hoping to make contact with other immune survivors. At night, he hunkers down in a Washington Square townhouse which is part fortress and part laboratory as he tries to find a cure. This cure is needed because the humans the virus didn’t kill have mutated into light-sensitive, super-aggressive vampire-like creatures. Occasional flashbacks give viewers an idea of how this story started, but much is unexplained, including how he managed to build the lab/fortress all on his own.

Although primarily an action film, it also has subtle commentaries on how we deal with isolation, depression, paranoia, ethical drug testing, faith vs. science and the value of technology (apparently without humans to maintain it, the Internet collapses as Smith uses an AM radio broadcast in an attempt to contact others). The visuals of an empty Manhattan Island are quite good, though why the streets are all clear for him to zoom around on is another thing not explained. As a side note, New York Magazine did a nice list of the ten best movie destructions of New York.

The bonus features consist solely of a set of animated comics related to the film, certainly a different idea and entertaining on their own, but they add little to the main feature.

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