Jack Hall, paleoclimatologist, must make a daring trek from Washington, D.C. to New York City to reach his son, trapped in the cross-hairs of a sudden international storm which plunges the planet into a new Ice Age.
Robert Neville (Will Smith) is a scientist who was unable to stop the spread of the terrible virus that was incurable and man-made in this post-apocalyptic action thriller. Immune, Neville is now the last human survivor in what is left of New York City and perhaps the world. For three years, Neville has faithfully sent out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone. Mutant victims of the plague - the Infected - lurk in the shadows - watching Neville's every move - waiting for him to make a fatal mistake. Perhaps mankind's last, best hope, Neville is driven by only one remaining mission: to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus using his own immune blood. But he knows he is outnumbered - and quickly running out of time.Written by
Warner Bros. Pictures
Anna was written to be American, but Alice Braga was the only person producers wanted for the role. See more »
When Neville shoots the dark seekers, there are no bullet holes or blood. See more »
The world of medicine has seen its share of miracle cures, from the polio vaccine to heart transplants. But all past achievements may pale in comparison to the work of Dr. Alice Krippin. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.
Dr. Alice Krippin:
Not at all.
So, Dr. Krippin, give it to me in a nutshell.
Dr. Alice Krippin:
Well, the premise is quite simple - um, take something designed by nature and reprogram it to make it work for the body rather than against it.
You're talking about a virus?
Dr. Alice Krippin:
Indeed, yes. In this...
[...] See more »
The title doesn't appear on screen until several minutes into the film. See more »
The alternate theatrical version contains several new scenes:
After Neville captures the Alpha Female, he notices that she has a butterfly tattoo on the back of her shoulder.
After Neville thanks Anna for stitching his leg wound, they go out to where Neville was trapped the previous day. Neville recognizes the equipment as his own, but can't fathom what they're doing there. Anna asks him if the Dark Seekers could've made the trap, but Neville is adamant that they can't think or feel. Anna still brings up the point that Neville could be wrong and the Dark Seekers made the trap for him.
Neville, Anna, and Ethan go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Neville and Anna sit together and watch Ethan fall into the water where the fish are. Ethan playfully splashes around, and Neville throws some food into the water. The fishes move frantically to get the food while Ethan floats in the middle of them. He remarks that it's cold, which makes Neville realize that he needs to lower the temperature of the Dark Seekers in order for the cure to work. He tells Anna and Ethan that they have to go.
Additional shots of the Dark Seekers making their way into Neville's home.
When the Dark Seekers corner Neville, Anna, and Ethan behind the Plexiglas, the Alpha Male shoves others out of his way and tries to break through the door. Neville shouts for him to stop, but the Alpha Male doesn't listen to him. Eventually, the Alpha Male stops on his own and uses his hand to smear the shape of a butterfly on the door. Neville sees it, and then sees the butterfly tattoo again on the Alpha Female's shoulder. He realizes that he just wants his girl back. Neville puts his pistol on the floor and unhooks the Alpha Female from his equipment. Anna asks him what he's doing, and Neville says that he's listening. He asks Anna to open the door. She grabs his pistol off the floor and reluctantly opens the door. Neville wheels the Alpha Female out into the lab, where the Alpha Male stands behind him and then growls next to his head. Anna closes the door and stays behind with Ethan. Neville tells the Alpha Male that he needs to get a syringe and slowly walks towards a drawer. Dark Seekers surround Neville and are ready to attack him, but the Alpha Male keeps them at bay. Neville gets the syringe he needs and injects the Alpha Female in the arm, waking her up. The Alpha Female hisses in delight upon seeing the Alpha Male, who tenderly presses their foreheads together. Neville is shocked that they feel love. The Alpha Male picks up his girl, screeches at Neville, and then leaves with the other Dark Seekers. Neville drops to the floor and looks at the wall of pictures he has of the Dark Seekers he's killed over the years, realizing that they have all been capable of thinking and feeling. The next day, Neville drives past the lion family he came across near the beginning when he was hunting the deer. Neville, Anna, and Ethan drive out of the city on the Washington Bridge. The film ends with Anna broadcasting a message to other possible survivors. She says that she's traveling with Robert Neville and a boy named Ethan. She says that they have a cure for the virus and are heading towards Vermont. She urges anyone who's listening to have faith and continue to listen for their future broadcasts.
The 1954 sci-fi/vampire novel "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson has now been filmed three times: as "The Last Man On Earth" in 1964 originally scripted by Matheson himself (which I have never seen), as "The Omega Man" in 1971 without the vampire elements (which I have viewed three times), and now with the original title and expensive sets and special effects. This time the seemingly sole survivor of the worldwide pandemic Robert Neville is played by Will Smith who is an actor with real charisma and charm and considerable box office appeal who has beefed himself up for the role.
The main strength of this version is the location shots in a deserted New York City (a move from the Los Angeles of the book and earlier films) and, although the filming of these scenes apparently caused traffic chaos and much anger for local residents, they chillingly set the tone for this dystopian thriller. To see the silent streets around Times Square or South Street Seaport or the lone scientist fishing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art or playing golf on the "USS Intrepid" is to view this heaving metropolis as we have never experienced it before. The German shepherd dog who is Neville's sole companion deserves an honourable mention for showing greater thespian skills than most of the extras and stunt men.
The principal weakness of the movie, however, is the realisation of the surviving victims of the virus. The CGI characters are almost as silly as they are scary but, above all, they are presented as more animalistic than human. "The Omega Man" handled these characters much better presenting them as sad as well as scary. The other serious fault is the lack of clarity in the narrative - at times, it is simply unclear what is happening and why and a longer director's cut would be welcome. Finally the references to Ground Zero and God may play well with American audiences but will not be so resonant to audiences elsewhere in the world.
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