I Am Legend! (And the fabled Batman excerpt!) (NO SPOILERS WHATSOEVER)

Friday, December 14th, 2007 Horrorthon Posts

So I Am Legend was just fantastic, as was the special five-minute excerpt from The Dark Knight that came first (and was probably the reason all the IMAX showings are sold out). (One of the great things about living where I live—as an “East Coast jerk”—is that the closest IMAX theater is just a ten minute walk away from my house. For you California “jerks,” walking ten minutes from your house brings you to…what? An enormous concrete freeway embankment? Some cactus? A bunch of wannabe screenwriters prowling the shadows for cappuccino?)

Anyway, first things first: the Batman excerpt is just wonderful. If I were Jack Nicholson I’d be jealous and upset, for about a minute, and then I would think about the upwards of fifty million dollars I got from Batman (and that fact that, as a fat old man, I’m still having sex with girls in their twenties) and I would feel better. Anyway, portions of Dark Knight were filmed in IMAX and the IMAX experience of the movie’s unbelievably cool opening five minutes was beyond belief. The audience was really stoked and the people around me (with whom I got into the kind of immediate geek conversation that I love) were so incredibly excited, just going bananas about the movie, in a way that was infectious.

I Am Legend fulfilled all my expectations. I really don’t want to go into any detail (since it’s a new movie and you all should see it) but it’s definitely in the Dawn of the Dead (2004) “People with brains made this movie” category rather than the Spider-Man/Mission Impossible “It’s all just ‘fun’ and ‘camp’ so we don’t have to worry about it making sense or not being stupid” category.

Now I can go back and avidly read handsomestan’s descriptions of the filmmaking process. Shooting a sequence on top of the Park Avenue South bridge that abuts Grand Central Station was really smart, because there’s just no way to see all the crowds and traffic that choke that area of the city (and I am reasonably sure I could see the seams between the foreground and the 2 1/2-D matte paintings of the vista looking South). (That sequence rocked, by the way.) By the way, apparently the novel was set in Los Angeles, but Akiva Goldsmith decided that it would be better as a story set amongst “East Coast jerks” because, you know, Los Angeles already looks deserted and apocalyptic while New York is bursting with life and vitality, so cinematically emptying it out would seem much more vivid and drastic.

Anyway, a superb movie and a great excerpt from the upcoming Batman flick (and a sequel-related “inside joke” concerning DC Comics movies within I Am Legend that I’d just love to give away, but won’t.) Great stuff! Excelsior!

P. S. When discussing Jack Nicholson above, I forgot to mention that (were I he) I would also be very pleased that the old, tired schtick of “putting on Ray-Bans indoors and then grinning continuously” was still working for me. I mean, I’m talking about the old kind of Ray-Bans that the Blues Brothers wore, or Ferris Bueller at the very latest. Nicholson’s still wearing them. He sits there in the goddamned front row at the Oscars every year with the Ray-Bans on and this big grin frozen on his face and yet somehow everyone’s all “impressed” (because of how “dangerous” he is or whatever it’s supposed to mean). And the host makes various Nicholson jokes and they dutifully cut to Nicholson, motionless in his Ray-Bans, grin frozen on his face, eyebrows protruding, and everyone goes “Ooooh” and “Ahhh” at how “risky” the host is being, rather than wondering if the old man has simply fallen asleep. Anyway, this round goes to Heath Ledger.