I Am Legend (2007)

(In theaters, December 2007) This isn’t the first time half a rotten movie is bolted to half a good one, but it never gets less frustrating. What’s good here: Will Smith as a haunted man who may be the last person alive on Earth; the portrait of a plague-emptied New York three years after catastrophe; some details of post-apocalyptic survival. What’s not so good: Nonsense ecosystem; suicidal details of post-apocalyptic survival; inconsistent monster behaviour; Smith not convincingly going nuts. What’s truly wretched: Anti-Enlightenment fear-mongering and pseudo-religious appeasement used as an excuse for incompetent storytelling: “Let’s go to Vermont, because God told me to.” The film is most successful on a visual level, looking at one of the most convincing post-apocalyptic vision in a really long time. But as soon as you start asking questions (the “line of sunlight”, the awful coincidences explained as divine intervention, the behaviour of a so-called researcher who can’t figure out the effect of cold on the virus any sooner; the conspicuous absence of chilly Canada as a haven), the film doesn’t just fall apart: it reassembles itself as a cheap manipulative sop to the dumber members of the audience. Enjoy the first fifteen minutes, fast-forward through the next hour and stop once the protagonist rams monsters with his SUV.

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