Wednesday, April 06, 2016

I Am Possibly Legend

Recently I finally – finally! – got around to seeing the 2007 Will Smith SciFi vehicle I Am Legend. Apparently it was a remake, of sorts, of Omega Man, which I saw as a teenager and barely remember.

Spoiler Alert! Just in case you haven’t seen it.

Here’s the really big problem. The Zombies aren’t trying to kill Will Smith because he’s the savior of the human race, they’re trying to kill him because he’s a serial killer, responsible for hundreds of disappearances, tortures, and grissly murders. He’s more than a bad guy, he’s Zombietown’s own Josef Mengele.

He abducts the Zombie King’s girlfriend/daughter/wife/buddy/chess-partner (we aren’t told which), drawing the Zombie King out of his lair at risk of death by exposure. Our Hero then performs sick medical experiments on her, fully expecting her to die of them, in the name of “curing” her. She dies.

Then, the Zombie King – proving, by the way, they’re not zombies at all in the traditional film sense – comes up with an elaborate trap to capture Lt. Col. Mengele. After that fails, the Zombie King directs an army that almost kills Our Hero, but the Lt. Col. is saved by another NonZombie who shows up out of nowhere.

It should be said that Our Hero is at that point basically suicidal, because the Zombie King’s dogs zombified the Hero’s dog in their failed capture attempt, and the dog was Our Hero’s best and only friend, there being no other NonZombies around, and to top it off Hero had to kill Dog to prevent the zombification.

But! But all along our Hero makes audio notes, such as the audience is privy to, in which he says things about the Zombies that are demonstrably not true. Mostly, that they are actually zombies, and not merely Very Different Humans.

The only part of this I don’t understand is whether the filmmakers were trying to gloss over the murderous aspect, or whether they were through it trying to point out the futility of all life, of our folly before the gods. Because – spoiler alert – in the end the Good Dr. Lt. Col. Hero’s life’s work of abduction, torture and murder succeeds, and ends the plague of zombism.

Well, if you believe the narrator it does. Considering how reliable the narration is up to that point, I am much more inclined to believe there was a successful genocide launched against the Zombies. And for that matter I am specifically disinclined to believe they ate all the nice folks in the first place.

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