Sci-Fi I Am Legend Alternate (2007)


An Old Friend
Today I've got to break some rules. We normally never ever talk about anything related to DVD, but this time this is too amazing to pass up. And all in the same, I'm putting a theatrical spin on it, so let's just get to it. Last December when I Am Legend hit theaters, one of the biggest complains I heard was that the ending was completely changed from the book and in turn the entire "legend" concept that Richard Matheson originally wrote was never actually seen. The DVD is arriving in a few weeks and Francis Lawrence's original ending that was made is included on it. Thankfully we've grabbed the new version for you viewing pleasure below. And to say it simply - you NEED to watch this.
You've been warned - everything from this point forward contains spoilers. Proceed at your own risk!
I actually really loved I Am Legend quite a damn bit. I think I saw it around three times in theaters and loved it more each time. Up until the point where Alice Braga's character appeared, I was enjoying it so much that I was considering making a spot for it on my best of 2007 list. However, by the end, I wasn't as sure. The scene at the end where the vampire creatures break into Robert Neville's lab is intense and amazing, and I enjoyed it, but it wasn't how it should have played out. This ending below is what we should have seen.

For those unaware, let me explain the concept of Richard Matheson's book to help clarify why this original ending was so amazing to finally see. Without spoiling too much (incase you want to read it), the entire purpose of the title I Am Legend is that in the book, Robert Neville actually is the last man on the planet. And he has switched places from our reality of what we perceive as legend, to actually being the legend. As in, vampires are "legendary" to us because they're a myth from fantasy. In the book, Robert Neville is "legendary" because he is that myth and goes out day after day hunting them. With the original theatrical ending, they never actually touched on that idea at all - but when you think about, that's a pretty damn cool concept.
While an ending that direct wouldn't have worked at all in this interpretation of I Am Legend, the way this original ending plays out actually caters much more to that concept than the one we saw in theaters. I love the dynamic between Neville and the lead vampire, especially when he finally brushes up against next to him and comes in contact with him. He never got that close to any of them in movie and seeing that gave me a chill. It's rare that I'm this moved by something like an alternate ending, but this was truly breathtaking!
This is the kind of situation where I want to break the rules because I want to show Warner Brothers that the actual audiences in America would have accepted this ending and preferred it over the one that made it into the final theatrical cut. Although I Am Legend performed amazingly well at the box office anyway, I think this is a much more profound and emotional ending. Unfortunately now WB is already thinking that the ending they chose was right because it made them money - so I hope you can prove them wrong and show your support of this new alternate ending. That is, if you prefer it.
We don't talk about DVDs here? Really?

Anyway, I agree 100% with your point -- the theatrical ending of I Am Legend seemed obviously fake and contrived. The quote-unquote "alternate" ending actually gives this whole film something of a point. I would have enjoyed this film much more if they had left that ending intact.

Your description of the book makes me really, really interested to track down a copy of my own. I didn't understand the title before -- I Am Legend? -- but your explanation makes perfect sense.


I didn't know about the spoiler tag - thanx

That is a copy and paste from the article I found I should have and usually do include a link but I was excited
I had interpreted the "I am Legend" title be post the end of the movie. After the woman delivers the vial of blood with the cure, that Robert Neville (Will Smith) will become a legend to the generations ahead.

EG: "There once was a great man who found the cure!"

Thinking about it as him being a living legend, the last of his kind, amongst the infected does put a bit of twist on it.
Anyone interested in discussing this movie, its other versions, and the book, please? If so, I'd like to pose a question. Thanks! Brucke
My question regards the clear liquid which Will Smith as Neville spreads out of a can twice in this film version: once on his front steps, and then by the truck on his jacket. Never explained: What is it? Holy Water (but there are no priests left) -- or maybe kerosene ~ why? or what? Does anybody know? Thanks. Brucke