Jim's Reviews > I Am Legend

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
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Nov 17, 14

bookshelves: science-fiction, horror, apocalyptic, 1paper, 2fiction
Read in March, 2009

I just re-read this after watching some of the movies based on it. It's truly a chilling book. It's an apocalyptic novel. The vampire plague has destroyed our society. Much of the book focuses on our hero's loneliness. When he finds an uninfected dog, his attempts to befriend it are almost pathetic & truly heart-wrenching. It's well worth reading.

There are 3 movies that I know of that are based on this book.

The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price in the mid 60's. This follows the book pretty closely.

The Omega Man starring Charleton Heston in 1972 is very loosely based on the novel, but a great look at the 60's & 70's attitudes.

I Am Legend starring Will Smith in 2008 or so is the one I haven't seen yet. I caught the first 5 minutes & it bore no resemblance to the book & had really horrible CGI. Looked like a video game. I expected to see a Toon driving, not Will Smith.
Update: I did finally see this movie including both endings. It was incredibly bad. The happy ending was ridiculous.
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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Henrik (new) - added it

Henrik As always a nice review from you, Jim. Thanks:-)

As I mentioned elsewhere, I personally found the Will Smith version OK (if we ignore the crappy CGI!). It was an OK Hollywood movie.


Erich Franz Guzmann I like your review Jim. It may have been for the best that you had never finished the movie I Am Legend with Will Smith. I did enjoy the film but it wasn't even close to Richard Matheson's version which is very disappointing. And I think you would have been very disappointed with the very end of the film if you'd have finished it.


message 3: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim Thanks, Henrick & Erich.

I plan on watching the last movie & don't have any great expectations for it. I never have great expectations for movies made from books. If I did, I would have died of frustration years ago.

I do find the themes of the different movies very interesting & how the times called for them. I thought I'd update the review with more on that later. For instance, the 1972 version had no dog, but the girl was black, creating an interracial couple, an early one. The peace theme & dress were so indicative of the times.

Something else I found interesting about both the book & the 2 movies I've seen so far is how animals are barely mentioned, except the dog to counterpoint the loneliness. I would have expected rats, birds & other scavengers to be mentioned. In the book, it seems that everything got the vampire plague & died off. From my brief view of the last movie, it looks like the deer ran wild & some zoo animals are having a field day.


message 4: by Kernos (new)

Kernos A bunch of friends have reviewed this today. Is this a group read I've missed? It's the only vampire book I've really liked.


message 5: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim I reviewed it 3 years ago. No idea why it popped up today. Hadn't touched it. I did see the Will Smith movie & thought it was a travesty. Horrible CGI & it completely missed the point of the book.


message 6: by Kernos (new)

Kernos Agreed about Wil Smith's movie. I enjoy Omega Man the most as a movie, but think Vincent Price's effort closest to the book.


message 7: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim I like remembering the Omega Man, but it was horribly campy the last time I watched it a few years ago. Just too much for me at the time. I agree about Price's movie. I HATE that the Will Smith one even shares the name of the book. It shouldn't.


Sandra I liked the dog, too. :-)


message 9: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim :-) Agreed.


message 10: by Kathy (new)

Kathy I'm glad you liked this! I love this book!


message 11: by Kernos (new)

Kernos I just discovered another incarnation on SyFy—I am Omega, typical C- SyFy TV movie. Highly un-recommended.


message 12: by Kathy (new)

Kathy I think I saw that one, and wasn't impressed. The best rendition, I feel, is Vincent Price's Last Man on Earth.


message 13: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim A SyFy remake of a 70's campy movie wasn't any good? Imagine that!
;-)

Thanks for letting me know, Kernos. It's nice to know what to skip.


message 14: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Leoni Hated how the moviechanged the whole point behind the title, and therefore the book


message 15: by Kathy (new)

Kathy I've ignored all of the movies! The book is 100X's better!! (If any came close it would be The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price.)


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