I am Legend

I like the film adaption (the one with Will Smith), so I thought I’d read the book.
Mostly, I liked it, and at the start, I thought “well hey, that sounds better than the movie!”. But as the book progresses, I liked the movie more and more - that doesn’t mean the book gets worse and worse, but the content which appeared was adapted in the movie better in my opinion.
Especially the ending… well, I won’t say I’d have done it better, finding an end for that kind of story is hard. But the ending of the book quite surprised me in an uncomfortable “Oh you just complety pulled that out of your… bottom”-way.

I have the dvd with 2 endings. Never having read the book I don’t know which was authentic.

Either way the movie was probably one of the better I have seen from the “connect with the character” perspective. One that I plan to watch a gain soon.

When I was 15, I thought it was the coolest book ever written. I still like the idea of being the only man left in a huge city, careening around in a jeep and taking whatever I needed, in order to defend against the beasties who will arrive each night. It’s sort of a huge steal from Robinson Crusoe, but still brilliant in its warped, fantastic way.

I have to completely disagree. :slight_smile:

I watched the movie and thought it was a decent film let down by an abysmal, typical Hollywood ending. I thought the ending was utter rubbish, in fact.

Having never read the book, I only found out about the original ending here:

5 Awesome Movies Ruined By Last-Minute Changes

I have to agree with everything they say there. The bloomin’ title, I AM LEGEND, makes no sense whatsoever with the altered ending - the whole point is that he is legendary among them. I’m not saying the original ending would make the film great or anything - unfortunately it’s not realised that well - but the idea of the inversion and his realisation, done properly, could have raised it above the bog-standard Hollywood blockbuster that it turned out to be. In the end, it seemed - even though the book came first - the movie seemed to be riding on the tails of 28 DAYS LATER and 28 WEEKS LATER (both much, much better films) but diluting it Big Movie-style (“He must have a dog - audiences love dogs!” Danny Boyle would have killed the dog).

All the best,

I’m with Keith. Read the book when it was first published (by a company which later reneged on a book deal with me, damn their souls). I’ve seen Will Smith in some fair movies, but he’s not the kind of movie star who’d be in a literally fair-to-the-original of this book. If you want a complete summary of the book – including further elaboration on the title – there’s a good essay at Wikipedia.



Like we are surprised by this! :mrgreen:

Last night Mrs and I watched Ms. Pedigrew Lives for a Day (patience, there is a point). Unlike our normal pattern of mumbling explicatives about the parentage of the director, actors, or both, we actually looked at the bonus material. At one point the son of the book’s author makes an interesting statement:

That was a bit of in eye opener for me. While I always agreed with the idea that some deviance was OK in the book to screenplay move, it never occurred to me to consider them as completely separate works, each with their own distinct audiences, methods, and intention. A level that makes more sense to me would be contemplating a piece of music inspired by a painting. Since there is no common medium, or preconceived ideas (our imagination) that can be absolutely referenced (character dialog) we give much more room for creativity to the composer.

Shouldn’t we give that same room to the directory/screenplay adaptation/actor when a book inspires a movie?

It does. He found a cure for that “Vampiris” (ok that name is from the book :smiley:). He sacrified his life to save the cure and two humans. So he’s a legend cause he saved humanity.

I especially liked the new role of the dog, representing his only companion. Robert treats Sam like a human or a (human) child cause there is no one else he can treat like that (without being eaten).
Also (I assume you all read the book and / or watched the movie) - the dog dies, where’s your problem? :smiley:

Ha, I couldn’t remember the dog dying, my bad.

I completely (drumroll ta-ra-ta-ra-da!) agree with this. I think they are different art forms and have no problem when films wildly veer from books. Stardust is a good example of this. The protagonists in Neil Gaiman’s story are much more passive - they take very little action and all their problems get resolved along the way by other characters who arrive before or after them. There’s less humour and less characterisation, too - Tristan is much less sympathetic and Yvain (isn’t that usually a boy’s name, as in the knight?) is barely characterised at all. But that’s fine, because Gaiman was aiming to write a modern day fairy tale, using the tone and style of the Grimms, Andersen et al. But a film with characters who take very little action is much more frustrating (this was my problem with Vantage Point - an enjoyable movie but it’s all tied up by an accident rather than any direct action on the part of the characters; mind you, this is better than invoking a supernatural being a la Battlestar Galactica, but hey, let’s not go there :slight_smile: ). So Stardust the film had Robert de Niro as a cross-dressing pirate who does the can-can and Yvain played by the ever-lovely Claire Danes as a “spunky” take-no-s**t heroine. The book has some great turns (the “two Mondays in the same week” being great) but is also much sadder - Tristan returns after not much time in the land of faery to find his little sister all grown up, and eventually decides to abandon his family altogether, whereas in the film they are all reunited. But Stardust the film is a perfect example of how to adapt a book for a movie - change it all you want, as long as it stays true in spirit. The book hailed back to old fairy tales and folk lore; the film hailed back to older films that played with fairy tales and folk lore such as The Princess Bride.

My point (see, I can go round the houses too :slight_smile: ) being that I totally agree with the idea that a film doesn’t have to stay true to the book, and most often probably shouldn’t too rigidly (wasn’t that a problem many had with Watchmen, that if you had read the graphic novel there was nothing new to be gleaned from the film?), but a film still has to be judge on its own merit and I don’t think I Am Legend worked. I felt let down by the ending when I first saw it, and when I read that it originally had a different ending, it immediately made more sense, so I wished it had gone the other way. But as I said in my earlier post, having watched the original ending online, I don’t think it was particularly well-executed either, so I probably would have felt let down either way…

All the best,

DMJ, check to make sure he is not feverish.

Of the 2 endings, I preferred the … hmmm don’t want a spoiler … more explosive one. But then I was not looking at the movie in any other context than “do I like the movie” and “does this make sense”. I also seem to like movies with Will Smith in them even though I disagree with much of his politics and life philosophy (which is not an uncommon disagreement with me). I am probably giving more to leeway to the film than it deserves.

But I have marked today on my calendar. Now if I can only get snort to agree with me…

One of my favorite books as a kid, not as much for the quality of the prose (though it’s well-written), but for the circumstances of the read.

My mother took us to visit friends of the family, who had a place on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (i.e. A Remote Cabin In The Woods). Because there was no TV and the other kids on the trip were all 6 years younger, I sought out a shelf full of old novels to pass the time. I picked up I Am Legend thinking it was an “Indian” book, like Last Of The Mohicans — the title just sounded that way to me. I was happy to discover, with the mention of that it took place in modern times. It took me two or three pages to make the key discovery, though. I remember reading the word “garlic” and thinking: “Oh. Vampires.”

I read the book through twice – always at night, always alone in a room. Best read of my life.