Monday, March 17, 2008

I Am The Real Ending of I Am Legend

Up until the ending, I Am Legend wasn't too bad. And for that reason, I don't know if I Am Legend can be called a good movie because if you miss on the ending, you've really missed the point of the story. For some reason or another, it was decided to steer clear of the book ending and come up with another one. It was another way to spin the title I Am Legend, but not nearly as interesting.


If you've read the the short story by Richard Matheson, you know the meaning behind the statement I Am Legend. Towards the end, the last man on earth Robert Neville discovers that the vampires are evolving and becoming more civilized. Neville is captured by the vampires and put in prison where he awaits execution. The story ends with Neville looking out his window on the hoards of vampires looking up at him in complete and utter fear. Neville has become the monster now. He is the one who threatens the new way of life. He is legendary.

I discovered this original ending at last week. In the post, Alex Billington praises this NEW original ending for claiming that it is more true to the short story. The post has over 500 comments. Good Lord, let me say that again. 500 comments. I'm raising a toast with 12 comments and these guys pull down 500 comments. Anyway, most everyone in their comments praise this new ending claiming it to be amazing. While it's different for certain, and more risky as it relates to a Hollywood-type movie, I still don't see it being faithful to the original story. Yes it's true that this new ending at least attempts to explain that the infected have evolved. And yes it's true that in this version Neville has reached legendary status among the infected for creating the havoc that he did. But in this ending, he re-infects the woman who he was saving and gave her back to the lead vampire. He leaves untouched and drives off into the sunset with the woman and the child. So are we to believe that he will live in co-existence with the vampires? Live to fight another day? If that's the case, that's nothing like the ending of the story. What makes the ending of 'I Am Legend' stick with you long after you've finished reading is the idea that the monsters and the victims can switch places. That the vampires could evolve to a place where they want to begin a new and that Neville was a threat to that. This new ending may be a little bit darker. A little bit more nontraditional. But it still isn't the ending that should have been.


Evan Derrick said...

Pat, interesting you should bring this up. Just posted my review of the film this morning, slamming it because of the way the twisted the original meaning of the title.

I'm completely with you on this. The new 'alternate ending' still utterly misses the mark that Matheson's novel set. When I first read it 6 years ago, I was stunned. I was a pretty lonely, depressing place in my life, and the book registered with me in a profound way. I still think about it. To see the filmmakers not only cop out, but completely bastardize the title, left me pretty angry. An objective review I did not write.

Piper said...


I'll check it out.

Still not sure why they did what they did. It's the difference between talking about a movie being okay, and talking about a movie being amazing.

They aimed pretty low here.

Ray said...

Let's start a 500 comment thread for Piper!!!

I think this ending is the better of the two. Frankly, I didn't think the monsters looked believable at all anywhere in the film except in this deleted section - perhaps because they were allowed to emote more here.

Anyway, this ending is closer to Matheson's vision ... but it's still a cop-out.

Piper said...


You're right. It's a ballsier ending, but still not what it should be.

And yes! yes! yes! a 500 comment thread. Let's do it. We only need 496 more.

* (asterisk) said...

"They aimed pretty low here."

Isn't that the case with almost all Hollywood movies?

Tony Tanti said...

Great post, I liked I Am Legend but I admit I hadn't read the original story beforehand. Now I'm retroactively disappointed that the movie didn't give us the ending in the original because as you describe, it sounds far more interesting.

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