Days of Future Past: I am Legend

i am legend


Written by Amanda Pampuro 

Having just averted Mayan meltdown (you’re welcome) I’m sure pairs and pairs of headphones are still looping apocalypse play lists. While I am Legend’s Bob Marley soundtrack seems at first random and over mellow, on second viewing, I can’t think of anything better for overgrown New York. After all, what better consolation can you give to the post-humanity humans, other than, “don’t worry about a thing. Every little thing is going to be all right.”

Even in the day to day, that’s all we want to hear and believe.

For Robert Neville (Will Smith), these lyrics equally represent the reassurance he needs and his promise to make the world a better place. Will Smith is the only apparent survivor immune to an engineered virus that was supposed to cure cancer but instead turned humans into vampire-like carnivores. With only a German Shepard (who is a fantastic actor. I don’t know where this dog learned to act, but somebody get her an Oscar made of peanut butter!) and a crowd of mannequins for company, Neville is a very lonely man.

The premise of Richard Matheson’s novella differs in the ending. In the book, we learn that rather than destroy civilization, the virus creates a singularity-like post-human society, and the real monster is the human trying to “save” them. The film has a more heroic ending, as Hollywood tends to do. Still the movie is well paced–the action is stacked towards the end and the “dark seekers,” are adequately foreshadowed before the sun sets. The monsters are understood through Neville’s precautions against them, avoiding darkness and playing reggae.

Filmed in 2007, but set in 2010, I am Legend only reaches three years into the future, but according to other viral story lines, three years is really all it takes. Doomsday, the film says may be just around the corner, so hold your loved ones tight, and enjoy your flashbacks. This film contains no futuristic weapons or dress, but there are a few safety tips I would like to pass on. If you are a survivor, remember to:

1. Video record yourself everyday. Nevermind where the power comes from.
2. Play cheerful, soothing, music with seemingly uplifting message. Ignore political subtext.
3. Save bacon for special occasion.
4. Know your foe. Know that he knows you.

According to I am Legend survival is completely random–it doesn’t matter if you have a zombie evacuation plan or if you were a reality TV star. Either you are miraculously immune to the virus, or you’re not. And chances are you won’t be. So, as we turn over a new leaf in the Mayan universe, I’m going to say don’t wait for the end of the world to enjoy your Spam–crack open a can today, slice it thin and fry with eggs.

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