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I am legend- Movie Analysis

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I Am Legend – Movie Analysis

This movie is about the book by Richard Matheson. Will Smith is the main star and he plays a military viral expert Doctor Neville living alone in New York City after a major viral disease that destroys ninety percent of the human population. The remaining ten percent is made up of those who cannot get sick and those who are sick and turning slowly into zombies. These creatures have great appetites but they cannot survive in the sun and have to hunt at night. The acting skills seen in Will Smith in the film are exciting considering he was alone in majority of the film’s scenes.

One of the hardest scenes to make, as only major actor is one requiring self-conflict as seen in shots where he is hunting a dear or laying a trap to catch the hemocytes. Others are scenes where Doctor Neville is performing tests and experiments on the drug he hopes to find a cure for the great virus. The difficulty is increased with the fact that most of the hemocytes in the movie were created by computer graphics thus were not there while the shots were taken. Two dogs were used to perform the role of Sam, Doctor Neville’s dog. The movie thus needed very many scenes and shots where Will Smith was close to the pet, another aspect of the movie well acted out. For instance, the scene where Doctor Neville tries hard to save Sam after a hemocytes’s bite and then having to mourn for Sam’s death with no one else on the scene to relay the emotion to was quite touching

The movie shows certain values and themes such as the decaying nature of humanity where the bad virus resulted from mutation of a genetically made virus that was meant to cure cancer. However, the creator of the virus, Doctor Alice Krippin, had used a strain from the measles virus making the mutation very infectious. The decay of humanity is seen in the empty Manhattan streets that are covered with vegetation, car shells, and empty storey houses. Additionally, the hemocytess show a mixture of human and beastly behaviors built on human decay. Other values that can be seen in the movie include hope and sacrifice. For instance, on suspecting his cure for the infectious virus is effective Doctor Neville sets a trap and captures a female hemocyte encouraged by hope for a cure. Doctor Neville faithfully sends messages for three years in hope of getting in touch with any healthy human survivors. This is another portrayal of hope with Doctor Neville coming out as a possible last hope for humanity

On the other hand, after Sam’s death, Doctor Neville sets out to a revenge hunt for the hemocytess but he is injured after a near death fight only to be saved by Anna and Ethan in a demonstration of sacrifice. Community is another value seen in the movie’s plot especially since surviving healthy humans have come together to form a guarded survivor’s colony in Vermont where Doctor Neville hopes to take the cure once its effectiveness is confirmed. The final display of hope is shown in the end when Anna and Ethan are seen entering the survivor’s colony to hand in the antidote after Doctor Neville dies in an act of sacrifice. Doctor’s Neville death happens while he attempts to save the cure, Anna and Ethan from an attack by the hemocytes’ in his laboratory.

The setting in the movie is that of landmarks in an empty New York City. The main scenes include the mass evacuation seen on Brooklyn Bridge to show clearly the desperation caused by the virus outbreak. This is among the flashbacks in the movie of the mass exodus. Another flashback is Doctor Krippin’s announcement on television of the cure for cancer and the negative effects of the virus that follow. The scenes filmed on location further show the natural aspect and feel in the film. The emptiness characteristic of the dark film is well shown by the empty streets covered with overgrown weeds that were actually imported and placed on the roads in the actual movie shots after temporarily closing the roads. Majority of the screen filming was through the anamorphic format where the pictures need a subsequent view anamorphic lens to recreate the initial scenery.

The most important visual effects were the hemocytes who initially were real humans with prosthetic costumes did not have the ability to be fully convincing in light of the night conditions and terrain while shooting. Additionally, the growling, shrieking and screaming characteristic of such creatures were difficult for human actors to produce. Thus, computer-generated sequences were preferred to show the hemocytes. The voice over for the growling, shrieking and screaming were done by persons experienced in animations and vocal variations. This made the hemocytes unique by showing separate vocal as well as physical strength abilities.

The movie manages to capture the audience’s emotion regardless of its dark tone. The self-inflicted devastation on humanity is displayed through the empty streets strewn with weeds, car shells and rubble. Excitement and anticipation is built up in the constant awareness of Doctor Neville’s weakness to a hemocyte attack that is much stronger and aggressive. Traits of hope are visible in his stubbornness and perseverance to develop a cure and save the remaining human population regardless of inherent dangers as well as sacrifices. The film communicates glimmers of future rebirth to a distressed earth through the effort of Doctor Neville making him a legend.

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