Friday, June 22, 2012

I Am Legend

I had this interesting conversation with a seventeen year old kid the other day about books and how there are so many movies being made these days from them.  While he thought that it showed a lack of originality in movie makers, I was thinking about how my own standard practices have changed since I was his age.  These days, I don't watch a movie without first finding out if it was first a book.  I prefer to have the proper story first so that my own imagination is engaged without bias, without my characters already chosen for me by a movie director.  Either way though, there is room for disappointment.  I can remember when I first read Twilight, I had the thought several times "Gee, I hope this is in the movie", and ended up being really disappointed (though it was an all-round generally disappointing movie).

I saw the movie, I Am Legend starring Will Smith, first.  I just love Will, and always try to see whatever he has acted in, and this one did not disappoint.  I was devastated.   This movie was awful.  I have seen some terrifying post-apocalytic/apocalyptic/dystopian movies in my day, but this one was the worst.  This movie did an amazing job of showing just how the protagonist felt, the one-man show of Robert Neville (Will Smith), coping with isolation, danger, and grief, it was poignant.  So I was pretty happy to find the book.  But after one chapter I put it down and didn't look at it again for nearly two years.  I was psyched out.  I couldn't face what I knew would be happening next in the story.  It didn't start on a good note, and I knew it would just get worse.  Which was too bad, because when I finally was able to face the story again, it was a powerful experience.  I've already mentioned that the story begins on a bad note, the tension and suspense is thick right at the beginning (and constantly throughout!) and I was constantly worried about the protagonist (which is ridiculous because I know how the story ends).  But it is a worthy read.  When I finshed the story it was an "Oh wow" moment.  I have not yet figured out how to describe the strong emotions I felt at the end.
I am pleased to say that the movie payed suitable homage to the book, which, to me is a very good thing (keeping in mind my huge disappointment with Twilight the movie).

So it's just a standard practice now.  Book first, movie second, because imagination can take me places movies never will.

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