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 Firstshowing.net 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.