I Am Legend
Destructive Virus and Heroes From Modern Reality
Jake Smith Mr. Little Apocalyptic film2/5/18 I am legend The opening scene of I am legend really shows you many diverse shots as cameras go over the sunken city of New York. The city is in complete shambles and they do a great job with showing a destroyed place where it looks as if no life is there. You can tell the director used a lot of grey and dark tones to symbolize death. As the opening scene goes on they show you places all around New York that has been abandoned and truly it’s a sad sight to look at. It gives you a lonely and upset vibe when looking at all the different camera angles of the broken city. I think one of the best shots in the whole movie was in the beginning when its a over head shot of the car is just driving down the street. When I saw that for the first time I couldn’t wait for Will Smith do start kicking ass. Another cool ass part is when Will Smith gets into the mustang and drives after the deer and is trying to get food for him and his dog.
Moving on into the movie, when the movie jumps back to where everyone is alive and trying to leave some of the camera angles were amazing and made you feel like you were trying to leave too. Will dressed in a military uniform and he is trying to stay in New York on his own in order to try to stop the virus as he is a military doctor. As the movie goes on Will puts his son and wife into the helicopter and that’s all you see for a while, the scene was showing a flashback which was a nice transition slide. The dream scene is interrupted by Will waking to once again face his lonely reality. When he wakes up from his dream he goes down stairs and starts making breakfast for him and Sam his dog, the scene is beautiful and it seems as if it was just a normal day. We see Will go down to his laboratory in his basement where he is working on a cure to save New york, one thing I questioned is why is he trying to make a cure when everyone is already turned into monsters and no one is even their in the city? Maybe he wants to turn the monsters back into humans and try to rebuild the broken city of New york because its “his cite”. As we see Will trying to make a cure he is testing the different vaccines on a bunch of mice. All the mice act really aggressive except for one. Will makes note of the one mouse and we see the specific vaccine is ready for human trials. I love the next scene in the movie where he is talking to the mannequins as if they were real and he had contact with them, it showed that life by yourself with no human contact can make someone a little crazy. He later visits some apartments nearby, searching for supplies and Will comes to a room surrounded by plastic wrap and another room with two baby cribs. We see the pain in his eyes as he can empathises with the loss of loved ones. This scene really torn at my heartstrings as I could never bare to lose my child and wife s he did. After everyday of looting for supplies he goes to the waterfront to send a message to any survivors on a F.M. radio. The terrifying scene with Sam running into the dark house with all the infected really scared me because I thought he was going to die.
Through the whole scene I was praying they both would come out alive as they did. Soon afterwards, Will sets a trap to catch one of the infected. He succeeds and takes the captured female infected home to his lab. He tries the vaccine that made the mouse less aggressive, but it fails and the infected died. He revives her with a shot and the scene is brought back to calmness. During the night the infected set the same trap he set up for them the other day. Will is caught by the trap and hits his head which makes him pass out. When he finally wakes up, hanging upside down and bleeding. This is showing the great deal of suspense that the director put all thought this film. Sam is waiting for him and Will cuts himself free finally just as the night turns, but he falls on his knife and impales his leg. The infected leader then appears with infected dogs who attack Will, but Sam defends him, He looks over to see Sam on the ground from a bite wound and picks her up and lays her in the car. Will in the position he was in puts Sam in his arms and Sam slowly starts to turn into a infected. You see the distort in Wills eyes when he had to kill his only love one he had left. In peer rage Will went to the docks and found the infected and made run at them with his car, the infected got to him but luckily for Will another survivor saved him. As we see Will wake up on his couch he in very confused by how he was saved, in that scene I truly don’t think Will wanted to be saved and i feel as if it was a suicide attempt. Later that evening, Will realizes that the infected are attacking the house. The previous night they had followed Anna back when she rescued him.
Although Wills home defenses are amazing, a lot of the infected make their way into the home and Will, Anna, and Ethan are forced to go to the lab. In this last scene we can see Will take a new look on life, he isn’t worried about “his cite” anymore he’s worried about the people who saved him. We can see how much love he has in his soul when the infected are breaking into the lab and he sticks Anna and Ethan into the safety room, as the infected are breaking in and we see Will Pull that pin on the grenda we know this is the final time we will see him. As Will blows up all the infected Anna and Ethan finally make it to the colonie and are safe. I was very happy with this movie and i felt that watching it a third time really shows you some details that you don’t catch the first or second time watching it, it’s a true story of love and when life isn’t going your way you cant give up and you must fight.
Pages From Life One Person I Am Legend
The vampire myth is an old legend from Eastern Europe that describes vampires as the dead who have returned to life usually because they are marked from birth, they were not baptized or given correct funeral rights, they are bitten by a vampire or otherwise associated with a vampire, or in life their actions were evil. The vampires of I am Legend fallow the idea of Eastern European vampire myths but their disease is caused by the nuclear war referenced to in the book. This is a commentary on nuclear weapons as being such a terrible weapon and inhuman thing to do to another country that it should cause the misfortune of vampirism on an entire country and even the world.
There are many similarities between the old myths of Europe that predate the story of Dracula, and the vampires of I am Legend. One of these similarities is stalking at night. In the book the vampires hide and fall into a coma. This allows the main character to travel and fix his house. The reason in this for the book is that the bacteria cannot live in the sun. While in the legends about vampires they are not restricted to returning at night in all countries, most stories have them leaving the grave then. Many would return to harass and kill family members and villagers at night while they sleep. The reason that vampires return at night in legend is likely because that is when people with no modern light cannot see and understand the world easily. Vampires return then as an explanation both for strange things happening in the dark and for the fear of people felt at night. In this way the vampire represented peoples fear of evil.
Another large similarity between the creatures of the book and legend is that the vampires return from the dead. In the book one the disease destroys the host and kills them the body is taken over by the bacteria and completely powers the vampire and in search of blood and becoming “one of the true vampires; the living dead”.This is also the theme that holds almost all vampire legends together as “the basic feature of vampirism: the dead leave their graves to walk amongst the living”. This feature of vampire stories is also connected to a fear, the fear both of loved ones being monsters and that evil people will not cease their evil even when killed. This fear is shown to great effect in Robert Neville’s character as he had to kill his own wife when she returned as a vampire in search of blood. This fact haunts him through the entire novel.
The ability to contract vampirism through bites also ties the book and legends together. Robert Neville says when he is scratched badly by a vampire that he is immune to their disease showing that it can be spread in that way. He also mentions that the disease could not have been spread through bites alone during the early period of the disease. This shows that it was common before the time of the book that the bacteria was spread through more than dust storms, but also by vampires stalking people. Similarly, in legends of vampires it was thought that “Those who are destroyed by them, after their death, become Vampyres”. This part of the legend plays on the fear that we ourselves could become monsters, doing harm to those we love. The fear of becoming the what we fear.
Both the vampires of the book and of legend have weaknesses. In the book crosses and Garlic are used by Robert Neville in order to ward away the vampires. He learns that the garlic is an “allergen causing anaphylaxis” to the vampires because of the interaction between the body and the bacteria.However, when he investigates the cross, he learns that it is psychosomatic and only the live vampires fear it because of the religious frenzy before the disease completely took over. Both of these had similar affects in legends. In some stories “the curse of a priest is sufficient to seal a vampire in its tomb.” and in others presenting a vampire with holy objects will completely destroy it. The vampires also dislike garlic similar to the book as “it is known that a man is a vampire if he does not eat garlic” just like when Neville presents Ruth with the garlic and she becomes sick.
The reason vampires have weaknesses in these stories is likely because people need to feel like they have power over something they don’t understand, even if what they are doing is unlikely to work. This is partially explored in the book when Robert Neville discovers why the cross works: it is not a natural reaction like the garlic but in the minds of the people who became vampires.
Many vampire stories were important because they upheld social norms. Even though some of the myth added other ways to become vampires then going against the community, what made the stories important is that they helped to keep people from practicing destructive behaviors. The fact that suicides and criminal behavior caused a person to become a vampire would prevent many people from fallowing those actions. And since vampires would cause a negative impact on a family and community, deviation into taboo behavior would not be tolerated.
“Narratives convey cultural capital- including representations of the supernatural world, social relations, and cultural practices- to members of a community. Through vampire stories, the community transmits not only cultural traditions about vampires, but also the norms of local culture that the vampires illustrate by antithesis. When deceased person becomes a vampire, this generates both discussion about and a social crisis that is capable of reordering the position of the affected family within the community. As a result, the members of the group become acquainted with, or refresh their memories of, the local value system and cultural capital is reproduced in the process.”
If both the book and old legends share very similar vampires could they also share this allegorical element? I am Legend does seem to have this aspect. The setting of the book takes place after the use of nuclear weapons to win a war. This seems to have created large dust storms and mutated insects, but most importantly it seems to have created the bacteria that has caused the vampire apocalypse. This is obviously a warning about what can happen if nuclear bombs are used and how little we know about the results of their use, especially in 1954 when they were a very new weapon that no one truly understood yet. But on top of the apocalypse the use of vampires such as the ones in Eastern European legends adds another layer of criticism to nuclear weapons.
As this paper has discussed so far vampires can represent the fear people have as well as use that fear to uphold socially acceptable behavior. The crossing of taboo boundaries causes people to become vampires and it seems that by using the absolutely destructive weapons that are atomic bombs, the entire society passed that line. Just like the vampires of myths that those who acted in evil ways were damned to become vampires, but the destruction of another culture to win a war damned a whole country and likely the world. Every person is turned into a physical representation of the atrocity that was committed for victory. In this case the lesson is even more absolute, while in most vampire stories once the vampire is killed the community can go on with little change other than a memory and fear of vampires, In the book however, the damage done is so great that society must be restarted with vampires themselves.
Richard Matheson, by using creatures that are similar to Eastern European legends in both name and attributes, creates a commentary on nuclear weapons and their relationship to our society.The commentary he creates is not only that atomic weapons of mass destruction are dangerous and have unknown effects, but also that they are to be viewed as a taboo that turns the whole society that uses them into evil creatures.
“Earlier, when people were virtuous and had faith, they were often attacked by exotiká. Now people no longer believe; they perform all sorts of horrible acts. They have gone to the Devil. There is no need for the Devil to come in search of them.”
I Am Legend Film Article
Originating from some person whom we beforehand observed supplicating with his family, this is the total intensity of a man who has lost everything. However, there’s something else entirely to Robert than this. His devoted logical strategy was about discarded in sorrow, however he shields an interesting feeling of expectation as well. To an energetic soundtrack of ‘One Adore’, he clarifies his energy for the music of Bounce Marley:
He had this thought. It was a sort of virologist thought. He trusted that you could fix bigotry and despise – truly fix it – by infusing music and love into individuals’ lives. When he was planned to perform at a peace rally, a shooter went to his home and shot him down. After two days, he left stage and sang. When they asked him for what valid reason, he stated, ‘The general population who were endeavoring to exacerbate this thing … are not taking a vacation day. By what method can I? Illuminate the murkiness.’
Illuminate the obscurity. Expectation. In the opening successions of the film, Robert’s auto passes a worn out publication bearing the message ‘God still adores us’, an amusing contradiction to the encompassing destruction. Be that as it may, Anna’s alarming feeling of expectation drives his psyche down some new streets, influencing associations, to an indicate where he can see an exit from his own Ground Zero and say to himself, or to God, the basic words, ‘I’m tuning in’. Science and confidence have turned out to be one in his comprehension.
Right off the bat, Will Smith demonstrates an astounding capacity to act: there’s none of the cool-man about-town here, substantially more a genuine feeling of franticness and contained discretion. His depiction of a man headed to diversion in disengagement is totally persuading. Besides, the creation esteems are strong: a significant part of the film is shot in close quiet, as the camera extends over a devastate cityscape. This quietness empowers an impact of activity to jolt you out of your seat when the new thunders over the screen. The utilization of hand-held camera and constrained lighting for the inescapable ‘Don’t go into that dim building since we comprehend what’s in there’ grouping are likewise profoundly frightening. The embellishments are just sporadically conspicuous for being along these lines, and the frightful thingies holding up oblivious aren’t found in full for quite a while – something noted just in the best animal highlights.
All through the film there are a few key choices made by the movie producer which are intended to position the gathering of people to see Robert Neville as a shocking saint. The movie producer’s utilization of camera assumes a critical part in situating the group of onlookers to see Neville in the light of a heartbreaking saint. The utilization of high edge and especially 10,000 foot shots were conspicuous all through the film and principal in Lawrence’s development of an awful legend. A key case of its utilization can be found in the beginning times of the film where the camera skillet over the dead and surrendered New York City. The chief has utilized this camera edge to give the crowd a feeling of the size of destruction that has occurred and to demonstrate that one individual, Robert Neville, is in the midst of this depression. Another unmistakable utilization of camera points by the chief can be found in the last phases of the film when Robert and Anna are gone up against by the Dull Searchers in the lab. Lawrence has intentionally utilized a blend of high point and low edge shots to finish his last development of Robert Neville as a lamentable legend.
Neville, a researcher and an officer, constitutes a human advancement of one. His day by day schedules are without a moment’s delay down to earth — he needs to discover a solution for the infection that wiped every other person out, and he should be home before twilight — and profound. Under the roads of the city and in its unfilled structures are the tainted, changed by the infection into pale, bare, light-unfavorably susceptible savages. “Social de-development has all the earmarks of being finished,” Neville sees as he makes notes in his storm cellar lab. Furthermore, his propensities are a way of shielding himself from the zombies, as well as of keeping up the qualification amongst them and him.
The zombies, similar to the raging mutts that are their mates, in any case show simple pack conduct and are even ready to set traps and make arrangements. When they start swarming.
Legends And Its Importance in I Am Legend
Legend, I Am
“Matheson isn’t just content with his dissection of the vampire mythos, but [he] also dives head first into an exploration of what legends mean and the associated perceptions of truth, fear, and understanding based on a majority of a population thinking a certain way.”
What are legends? From examining various myths, one can conclude that legends are manifestations of the fears of civilization. A dark progeny of insecurity and imagination, legends serve as a tangible way for humans to convey and express their societal fears. In his book I Am Legend, Richard Matheson utilizes the vampire myth to explore and question various social factors surrounding legends.
Initially, Neville blindly follows the superstitions of the vampire myth. His daily routine consisted of many actions, including, but not limited to, hoarding tons of garlic, striking the vampires with wooden stakes, and utilizing the cross. His actions show how deeply these myths and legends are ingrained into humans. Without ever questioning why, Neville utilizes methods that would otherwise seem absurd if used on any other creature. By having Neville blindly follow the various vampire warding techniques, Matheson makes readers aware of how legends cause us to overlook the ridiculous elements they contain. This idea is further played with when Neville tests the theory that vampires cannot cross running water. After Neville sets up a water system, Ben Cortman grins and mocks Neville by jumping back and forth across the water. By creating incredibly hopeless and unworldly circumstances, legends make it so that people have no choice but to accept any method, no matter how unbelievable or preposterous, in order to alleviate it.
The meat of Matheson’s dissection of legends lies at the very end of the book when Neville is captured and is waiting for death. In the final pages, it becomes blatantly obvious that Matheson is using legends to expose the thinking of what is not understood and is in the minority should be quarantined and destroyed. Through his conversion about the new society with Ruth, the line between who is just becomes increasingly vague. Neville argues that the vampires who came to his house seemed to enjoy the massacre, but Ruth responded by asking “Did you ever see your face…when you killed?”(Matheson, 156). Although both Neville and the vampires are killers, Neville is the one behind bars and about to be executed. Being a social construct, justice is on the side of whoever is the majority. As Neville is about to die, he says to himself “I’m the abnormal one now. Normalcy was a majority concept, the standard of many and not one man”(Matheson, 159). Just like many creatures of legend, Neville has no say in how he is viewed because he is in the minority. This drives home the notion that legends group and annihilate what society fears and doesn’t understand, disregarding who makes up the society as long as they’re the majority.
In his dissection of the vampire myth, Matheson implores readers to consider the different aspects of legends. He makes readers question the practicality of superstitions that originate from legends and also challenges the societal tendency to fear and isolate the unknown. Using the contrast between Neville’s scientific knowledge about the vampires and the vampires’ skewed perception of Neville, Matheson seems to be saying that society should strive to understand and coexist with our fears, rather than trying to wipe them out.
I Am Legend: a Post-Apocalyptic Story
There can only be one
Post-apocalyptic stories are very big in society. From blowing up the earth and starting fresh with a new governmental system, to a new species coming to destroy human existence. These concepts are what make great sellers in entertainment because they show what society believes will happen and can explain what society is like at the time of publication. The novel “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson is about a man, Robert Neville, who lives in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles trying to survive from infected humans. This one novel was so amazing it was made into a movie many years later with a few changes in the updated version. Were these changes just to make the story more interesting, or were they purposefully made to paint a different picture of society and the way things have changed over time? Although there are many similarities to the book and novel such as the main concept, which is fight for survival, the differences weigh out the similarities. The setting, the character, and the monster’s form, are the biggest differences between the two that explain the change in society. However, the biggest explanation of society’s morality and initial “game plan” comes from the fact that both stories show no two species can live together in harmony for one will always reign to be more superior to the other.
In the novel and movie, the story takes place in the biggest cities of the U.S. The book takes place in Los Angeles where the movie is in New York. The book was written in 1954 but is set in 1976 and the movie was made in 2007 and set in 2012 where the virus started in 2009. Both versions are set in the future. The thing that separates them is the time they were both produced. When the book was published, it was post World War II and the Cold War was just beginning. Technology became more advanced and the discovery of science became more known to the public. As we know around the 1950s, racism was at its peak and the “whites” were the prominent race. Los Angeles was a progressive city to be living in. John Niemore, an African-American newspaperman, urged his people to “leave the poverty of sharecropping in the South to take advantage of greater opportunities for land ownership and independence in California” (Springer.com). The city was filling with African-Americans along with other cultures and became more diverse. We know that Neville had a house in Compton which was the nicer place back then but now is known as the “ghetto.” As African-Americans moved into these American cities, the Whites started to move away and into suburbs which was known as the “Great White Flight.” With this also came redlining which is “[the] denying [of] goods and services to people in certain neighborhoods” (wisegeek.org). Compton became ghetto because society was racist to blacks and decided to cut all resources from them. Matheson decides to make this the setting to go against society and show that Compton was the best place to live and probably the safest. After all Robert Neville survived for many years through the apocalypse.
In the movie, Neville is in New York, the city that never sleeps. Well it definitely did not sleep in the movie. While Neville would sleep, the zombies would awake and roam the city taunting him with all their moans. These night crawlers or as Anna referred to them in the movie as “Dark Seekers” were just like the youth of the world. You would not necessarily see them in the day since they are stuck in their jobs and schools. So they choose the night to roam the streets where they bother others with their cries of laughter and screams of joy.
Since this was around the time of the end of WWII and the start of the Cold War, the setting of a dead city was brilliant. The Cold War was not really a war but just a stalemate meaning it was a deadlock, no advancement was possible. This was great to explain Los Angeles in the book since Neville was in a stalemate himself. There was not much he could do to make an advancement in society since he was the last man on Earth. With all this said, the movie’s setting rings very differently. Aside from the people and monsters, the time and place were very symbolic in the novel and movie. Since it was New York 2007, it was post 9/11. This was when the twin towers had been attacked and destroyed. Francis Lawrence chose New York as a setting to give us a time to remember what had happened. Knowing it was a post-apocalyptic setting, the dead silence of the city during the day reigned to be a symbol of our mourning to the twin towers. The similarity between the two is the fact that they were after great tragedies in our society; however the difference is what the two cities represented and the time gap brought different morals.
A big difference between the two versions was Robert Neville’s character. In the book Neville was a white man due to the time of publication but in the movie, Neville was black which was pretty much a big spit in Matheson’s face. Lawrence chose Robert Neville to be black because racial diversity was more acceptable in this time than Richard Matheson’s time. Back in Matheson’s time, segregation was big so he chose Neville to be white because blacks were not as accepted in society yet. An article states that “Racism is a pervading and permanent part of American society” (springerlink.com). Racism was huge back then, but it still exists today as we see the riots in Baltimore due to police brutality against blacks even though we know police are not just “attacking” the blacks. Other races are victims of police brutality but are not shown on social media. But let us save this argument for another time. In addition to the racial difference came his personality.
In the novel, Neville worked a blue-collared job at a power plant and was a drunkard where in the movie Neville was a survivalist and always kept in shape. Since the 1950s were Post WWII and beginning of Cold War, everything was destroyed. People lost all hope in society and had no meaning to live for something greater. Richard Mattheson depicts Neville always drinking. He wakes up having his “midmorning drink” (Matheson 3). Yet sometimes he gets a little fancy of how he comes across drinking. He says “Let the jagged edge of sobriety be now dulled…Let the crumbly balance of clear vision be expunged” (20). In other words he is saying he wants to be drunk. Neville knows he is the last man on Earth surrounded by these infected humans waiting to kill him. He knows there is nothing going for him and there is not much he can do to fix his situation so he uses alcohol to show his loss in hope. The movie Neville would be ashamed of novel Neville. In the movie, Robert is a soldier, a “savior” as shown on a magazine attached to his refrigerator. From a flashback we see that Neville tells his wife he is not leaving the city until he finds a cure for the virus. He has hope that he can cure these zombies, which he does, and the other Neville just loses hope not caring for helping these monsters out. To sum it up each character are very different. They are depicted in ways where any other human might try and live within these respected time frames.
Aside from Robert Neville’s character we see that the monsters are different and a little more advanced than most depictions of monsters. In the novel, the monsters are vampires and the movie they are more like zombies. We see that the vampires are more evolved and can even be mightier than the human. They have some sort of sub-conscience since his own neighbor, Ben Cortman, now a vampire, yells “Come out, Neville” (11). They are able to speak. They also have some means of motives knowing what they are going after as shown when the “zombies stood like silent soldiers on duty” (11). In the movie, Robert Neville claims that the zombies have shown complete devolution when one comes out into the sun trying to save one of his own from being captured by Neville. He says “they rejected their own basic means of survival.” But this zombie did not just burn up like the others. He was singed a little and roared in anger after Neville had captured one of them. So did they really devolve or is this a sense of evolution? This zombie cared for the captive enough to attack Neville’s house and reclaim her. Both species have become highly evolved from their human forms though. In addition we know both were humans who had died and come back to life. In society, this is something most religious people believe would come true. The Bible states “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (knowing-jesus.com). Both producers used these monsters as an “oracle” of what humans believe is to come.
To change ideas, both versions seem to have a leader that they follow. At the end of the novel it is a female vampire who leads her pack into Neville’s death. This is complete rejection of the whole gender role during the time the book was published. These vampires were able to find a way to stay alive without being cured. They found a way to live in sunlight with science which shows that these monsters were more evolved and more advanced than most depictions of vampires are. “It was the discovery of this pill that saved [them] from dying” (Matheson 144). In addition to the vampires, the zombies were starting to evolve. They followed a leader but a male leader which is predictable. It depicts the fact that society is going back into their old values where the man is always the dominant one. On the side from that, Neville had found a cure by the end of the movie to help the zombies become human again yet they reject it. When the zombies start attacking his lab he tries explaining to them that he can cure them. They can start all over but the boss did not want to change from how far they came. We hear him scream “no” right before his final attack. This shows that these zombies have become so evolved that they can speak and make decisions for themselves to stay the way they are.
In both versions of this story we see that there are monsters and then there is Robert Neville who are all fighting for their lives to become the superior one. All three species are fighting for the same thing. We depict the zombie and vampire as monsters because they kill humans. But isn’t Neville doing the exact same thing? Ruth, the leader of the vampires, claims “You’ve killed… Only to…to survive… That’s exactly why we’re killing” (155). Both are fighting to stay alive. This explains the fact that society cannot live in harmony with different species, or races, for one will claim to be more superior to the other. In an article by Jake Bajada, he states “We cannot afford to have anyone other than the best ruling our country” (thelogiccentre.com). What I mean here is there always has to be one higher than the other. It has happened in history multiple times. Hitler tried to kill off the Jewish community because he believed that Germans were more superior to them. Aside from an actual species being extinct, superiority lies within racism too. In history we see that the Americans reign superior to the African-Americans making them their slaves. In Neville’s position, he shows his superiority by capturing the zombies and committing trials on them to find a cure, killing off so many of them during his experiments. It is hard to live with one who has so many differences you do not agree with. This is why Neville is killing them off in both versions but we see a change in the novel. Neville cannot repopulate his species since he is the last man on earth but the vampires have enough of them to start a whole society of their own and rule over his world. Ruth states that “we’re going to stay alive…we’re going to set up society again” (Matheson 143). At the end of the novel, the zombies kill off Robert Neville to show that the dominant species is no longer us humans but the vampires for they have become more evolved than a normal human. Matheson uses the vampires and zombies to show that society fears of a more superior species than us humans.
I Am Legend is so dynamic of a novel that it was later made into a movie. With this said, the movie turned out to be a lot different than the original story. Francis Lawrence, director of the movie, decided to make these changes on purpose. The monsters, character, setting are all different. The way both of these were produced were not just for our own entertainment but to explain society and give subtle hints of what we think. Richard Matheson, originator of I am Legend, creates a drunk, hopeless man who fights monsters but ends up becoming the true monster in the end. Francis Lawrence, director of the movie, changes up the story by having a black soldier as the character to show how our society has changed and become a little more accepting towards racial groups. But this is not the real case. The similarity of both versions is the fact that no two groups are able to live side by side. History showed us racial groups could not do it and the story, these two species were not able to do it. In our minds, we will always seem to be more superior to another group or person. We will always find a way to diminish the inferior and even find a way to drive them to complete extinction. Society can never live in a utopian world because humans cannot see past their differences. The big picture that both Matheson and Lawrence depict is that with superiority in society, there can only be one.
A Study of Dr. Robert Neville Portrayal of Seclusion in the Story, I Am Legend
I Am Legend
Dr. Robert Neville was a very isolated man through the story of I Am Legend. That never changed until the end, and even when reaching that turning point Neville still kept his emotions away from everyone. He was a firm wall that forgot how to interact with human beings due to the destructive re-engineered measles virus. I Am Legend asks serious questions about what a human could really endure during a crisis situation. It proves that in times of struggle, the enemy of man is themselves.
Isolation can be described as “the experience of being separated from others, which may be the result of being removed from others or can be a perception of being removed from a community” (goodtherapy.org). Neville was isolated, he was “removed” from others of his kind and forced to live with his pet and nobody else. After the human race died Neville only had Samantha who, even if she understood everything about Neville, could not give him the interaction humans need. Isolation can cause depression and without Samantha, Neville would have ended up down that route. Samantha allowed Neville to fight for something and someone, she gave him a sense of responsibility and companionship.
Once the story progresses we learn about specific ways that Neville keeps himself hopeful and gives himself a form of human interaction. In order to keep himself hopeful Neville is constantly speaking into a radio. He is asking for people to come to a designated location in order to provide them food and protection. This alone gives him hope that he isn’t the only one, even when he talks about how he is the last one alive he continues to speak into his radio since he doesn’t want to believe what he thinks is true.
During his routine he happens to end up in a Dvd rental store where he has mannequins posted up in every crevice of the shop. The mannequins are to give him a feeling of human interaction. He talks to all of them as if he is having a conversation, often referring to the woman in the Adult section of the store and wanting to go say “Hi”. Most people asked why he didn’t just go up to the fake woman and ask her out or why he was such a strange person for talking to these mannequins, but it wouldn’t be right to hold it against them as they probably don’t know what Isolation really is. A majority of people in class couldn’t last a day without some form of human interaction before going insane, so for them to say how strange Neville was is kind of funny and laughable. The isolation that Dr. Neville is put through is so intense that the only things keeping him emotionally sane is having an attachment with the mannequins. He knows they are mannequins hense why he doesn’t talk to the female in the back, but he doesn’t want to admit it as he might lose more of his mind. Neville never had an actual person to talk to, so in order to remember companionship he used those mannequins.
Neville was a man of honor, he was born a hero and died as one. He devoted however much life he had to finding a cure and saving humanity. He didn’t care the costs, he didn’t mind protecting it, the cure was his everything after the death of his family. Neville used the cure as a scapegoat, escaping his feeling in a way that can be noted as “correct”. The outbreak caused Dr.Neville to turn into a stone, emotionless man that only showed any form of weakness to Samantha as it was the last person that he could portray that too. Neville was a man of family, but when they died his priorities shifted into a worker with nothing to lose and barely anything to live for.
Neville was smart enough to make a daily routine that kept him sane. He had the right amount of military training and mental stability in order to keep himself alive. His safety in life was creating a cure, protecting Samantha, and helping out however many humans he could. Neville did start to become strange and slowly mentally unstable, but in a world of no humans and genetically altered humans that have the strength of three men who wouldn’t be.
Comparing the Stories and Characters of the Day after Tomorrow and I Am Legend
Through the different genres of movies, differences and similarities can be compared. Apocalyptic movies have taken center stage when it comes entertainment over the years. Although there are many apocalyptic movies, there are also many different ways directors can approach the idea of the end of the world. “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) and “I am Legend” (2007) have two different takes on the idea of the apocalypse. Even though, the category is one in the same, the idea is completely different between the two films. One is able to observe the similarities and differences in this genre through the way the director approached the idea of the apocalypse, the realism of the movies, and how the characters are displayed.
“The Day After Tomorrow”, was directed by Roland Emmerich. He approached the ‘end of the world’ idea by using the concept of Global Warming, going through stages of hail, intense storming, flooding, snow, then eventually leading to an ice age. At first, the effects were minor; no one took note of the dangers that were in the future. The Government became involved as the progression became more aggressive; trying to keep everyone calm they attempted to fix the situation on their own. Eventually, it became clear that nothing could be done. The citizens had to make their own decisions on whether to stay where they were or follow everyone else who decided Mexico would be the safest place for the time being. It was up to seventeen year old Sam Hall (Jake Gyllenhaal) to calm the people in New York as they waited the tragedy out in a local library. Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) ventures through the fatal, danger some struggle to retrieve his son. Once reached, the unrecognizable New York City was just a pile of snow. However, some of mankind was retrieved, and the climate shift slowly returned to normality which saved a portion of humanity. “I am Legend” has a different take, directed by Francis Lawrence, Robert Neville (Will Smith) is the one man left in the world, as he thinks. Once the cure for cancer was discovered, life was perfect, until an infection broke out and began spreading, infecting anyone. The Government became involved trying to evacuate anyone who was not infected. The outbreak of this disease eventually, plagued the entire country turning innocent humans into these savage mutants. Neville spends most of his time hunting these mis-creations with his one companion, Sam, his dog. He constantly tests different medicines on mutated rats to try to find a cure. Once he gets into a dangerous, life threatening situation, he was saved by Anna (Alice Braga) thinking she was alone in this as well with her son Ethan (Charlie Tahan) they meet and discover that there is hope. Anna explains to Robert about the life of humanity in a different area, but he is hesitant and stubborn about the idea of leaving. Tragedy takes place when their house becomes intruded by the savages and the only way to save themselves is to destroy the house. Robert vastly decides to give Anna the cure and lets her and Ethan escape while he stayed behind. These movies have similar endings considering they both have hope for humanity and are able to reconstruct the world.
Depending on the director is whether or not they decide to make the movies realistic. Both of these movies have some sense of realism to them. The Day After Tomorrow, expresses the idea of Global Warming, which from some perspectives is in action today. Whether or not global warming ever gets to the point where the world would experience an ice age is not determined. However, the movie is not completely unrealistic there have been instances where weather has affected the world drastically. “I am legend” may be a little less realistic. Although, there are some realistic points throughout the movie, such as the cure for cancer; even though, that has not has not yet been discovered, it may be in the future. Determining if the cure turns people into mutants is less realistic. Some studies believe there could be a zombie apocalypse sometime in the future which relates back to the mutants in the movie. Both the movies combined have some sense of realism to them, whether they are completely accurate is irrational. The pair is based purely on entertainment.
The characters through both movies have some similar actions, but for the main part they remain different. Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) in the Day after Tomorrow was very dedicated to his work, most the time he would put his work over his son Sam Hall (Jake Gyllenhaal). When Jack realized the danger that his son was in, he risked his own life to travel across the country to be with him. Sam was standing up to be the leader while waiting upon his dad to come for him. Jack changed through the movie knowing that his family goes before anything, rather than his work. Both characters showed strength, leadership, and dedication. Robert Neville (Will Smith) in I am Legend, was the opposite with his family. His work was very important to him, but he would always put his family before anyone else. Once his family died he kept them around in spirit. It is clear once Anna (Alice Braga) and Ethan (Charlie Tahan) came into the picture he took care of them as well as he could, he treated them as his family. At the end he put their lives before his own. Robert’s character proclaimed strength, humbleness, and gratitude similar to the characters in the day after tomorrow.
It is clear even if movies are in the same genre they can have different ideas on how to express it. The way the director see’s the idea is how they will interpret it. No matter how different the plots are, if they are in the same genre they will share some type of similarities. One is able to view these similarities and differences through the director’s view of the apocalypse, the realism of the movies, and how the characters are displayed.
Robert Neville’s Display of Solitude as Depicted in His Book, I Am Legend
We are all completely different people when alone. Being alone allows us to dig deep into ourselves without distraction of outside life–for some of us it’s a renewing and positive experience, and for the rest of us it’s degrading and negative. The people from the latter can connect to I Am Legend (novel)’s Robert Neville, in the sense that loneliness isn’t very enlightening. Because of this, it goes without saying that Neville pretty much represents the darker, less stable, and monstrous side of the human population.
Isolation doesn’t fair well for quite a few of us. We’ve seen or read comical stories about how people deserted on an island go wonky and start talking to plants, but that’s far from Neville’s situation. Technically, he’s surrounded by people. Even more technically, none of them are alive. Despite the fact that the people around him are vampires, he still treats some of them like people. At least, one of them–Ben Cortman.
Neville swears he’s gonna kill Cortman one day. He “looks” for him during the day. But evidence proves that he wasn’t really looking; Cortman was hiding in the chimney of his own house, discovered by the group of living vampires. Further proving my point, Neville asks himself “Why hadn’t he looked more carefully? He couldn’t fight the sick apprehension he felt at the thought of Cortman’s being killed by these brutal strangers. Objectively, it was pointless, but he could not repress the feeling. Cortman was not theirs to put to rest” (Matheson, 148). When he says “it was pointless”, it’s apparent that he means “it’s pointless to put myself in denial”. Neville knew that it’s likely that Cortman was hiding out somewhere in his own home. It’s impossible not to make the connection: Neville decided to bury his wife instead of burn her, and when she came back as a vampire, she walked up to the front door of their home. The simple fact that Vampires are aware of their past life to some degree (Even the little things, like Cortman’s “Come out Neville!” Ultimatums. He knows his friend’s name still.) should be a big sign that Neville needs to look in Cortman’s home. But instead, he claims to look in any space a human body can climb into, and suffers the results of his denial by seeing Cortman killed by strangers. Neville likely chose to keep Cortman “alive” because he had the last connection to his personal life: Neville and Cortman carpooled to work in the morning just after he said goodbye to Kathy and Virginia. Put yourself in the same scenario; would you really want to let go of your past entirely? All the memories and everything you miss? Quite possibly, the only living memorabilia of what your life used to be?
If you said yes–even Neville knew “it wouldn’t be that easy”
Speaking of things that aren’t easy to do, Neville struggles with companionship throughout the novel. No duh, says the reader of this essay, don’t you remember the fact that, he was, like, alone? Well, yes, he was alone, but not the whole time. Twice, he comes across possible companions: the dog, and Ruth. What’s interesting about this, though, is the way he reacts to seeing them, individually. With the dog, Neville pursued it shortly, but then decided to take the approach of gaining its trust by leaving it food. But the dog brings on his deep thoughts: “[Neville] had clung to the hope that someday he would find someone like himself–a man, a woman, a child, it didn’t matter… Loneliness he still felt. Sometimes he had indulged in daydreams about finding someone” (Matheson, 90-91). Even though he has the possibility of having a dog to keep him company, he still wants another human being to associate himself with. I don’t blame him. It’s kind of hard to relate to a dog. Even though he’s still interacting with another living being, he still dreams of a day that he finds a human companion. Which likely explains his caveman-like-instinct of “NEVILLE KEEP WOMAN!!” When he sees Ruth for the first time, chasing after her, pinning her down, and bringing her home against her will. He dreamed so much that the very moment he saw someone like him, his first thought was to capture her at any expense necessary. Matheson likely used the two events to enhance the timeline of loneliness–the fact that the longer he’s isolated, the more extreme he is likely to react when presented with an issue that includes the presence of another person. Neville’s reactions to the dog show that he had a more stable mindset earlier on, thinking before he acted. Neville’s reactions to Ruth show that he unstable, and didn’t choose to think before acting upon things. He also had to cope with the fact that he lost the dog. Neville was so excited when he saw the dog was alive. And then as soon as he brings it in, it dies. It quite possibly could have been the last living thing he would have come into contact with. When one hasn’t seen another living being in months, even years, it’s reasonable that Neville would react the way he did to Ruth. The instability just all piles up until it shows its ugly face.
In the end, Neville finally realizes how much of a monster he is in his moment of catharsis. What he realizes in specific is that “To [the living vampires] he was some terrible scourge… even worse than the disease they had come to live with. He was an invisible specter who had left for evidence the bloodless bodies of their loved ones. And he understood what they felt and did not hate them” (Matheson, 159). This is Neville’s catharsis because he’s ultimately realized what he had been doing–killing the vampires–was not right. He had no awareness of the fact that there were “living vampires”. He assumed they were all dead and bloodthirsty, before he met the living vampires. But still, what reason did he have to kill them? He was safe in his home, which he only needed to stay in at night. During the day, the vampires had not been a threat. He had no reason to kill them, other than the fact that it kind of pleased him to. This is why he says he understands why he is getting executed, and why he even had been captured. This is why he didn’t fight his death sentence. That very moment, he realizes that the vampires are not the monsters; he is.
Neville was no hero. When we think of legends, we typically think of heroes. Neville was a pretty messed up individual, to say the least. During his time alone, he never really did any good, not even to himself. And he still came out to be a legend–I mean, it’s not often you become the monsters you’ve been fighting all these years.
The Challenge of Survival in The Road and I Am Legend
When exploring the challenges and toils of survival, we can easily make a series of comparisons between the design of Francis Lawrence’s and Cormac McCarthy’s post apocalyptic worlds in I Am Legend and The Road, respectively. Both plots involve the main character as one of very few people left in this world, and each protagonist would do anything to protect his companions. While both Lawrence’s film and McCarthy’s novel build internal conflicts within the main character, Robert, the protagonist in I Am Legend, also has to deal with the Zombies, whereas The Man faces his conflict of world around him. This difference is highlighted in the building of each of the characters, with Lawrence’s survivalist being strong and well prepared from any threat. McCarthy chooses to introduce The Man in a weak, dying state, with minimal supplies to share between himself and his son. This contrast however is also representative of the difference in setting between the two stories, with Robert Neville fortifying himself within an abundantly stocked New York City, and The Man and his son wandering down long stretches of barren highway. The final main contrast exists in each storyteller’s interpretation of the meaning behind a gun, with Lawrence using a gun for killing; meanwhile, to McCarthy, the gun is symbolic of hope.
Lawrence first characterises Robert Neville with mise-en-scene by using an overhead shot of his car driving through the city, directly following a series of establishing shots showing the abandoned cityscape. As the audience see him speeding through the abandoned cityscape, the sound of the powerful engine fades in. Finally the audience see a medium shot of him in the car, allowing the audience to see him as a survival hardened man complete with jeans, combat boots, leather jacket and assault rifle by his side. Lawrence’s treatment makes the viewers believe that Robert is a man who is well equipped. This depiction results in the audience’s initial impression being that he is a strong, admirable and supposedly unbreakable character. Lawrence’s use of mise-en-scene, particularly costuming and props, conveys this message to the audience. The audience see the well worn leather jacket, and the strong, bright, high-key and natural lighting. Such visuals are paired with the bright red muscle car, heavily contrasting with the bleakness of the city. Shots are routinely shot from a low angle when Robert is in frame, giving the sense of power and control radiating from him. The shots are also generally still and stable, either statically placed on Robert or tracking his car as he slides it through the streets. Once again highlighting the supposed control and purposefulness that Lawrence suggests is needed to last with the challenges of survival. Alternatively, McCarthy develops a protagonist that is described as weak, sick, and ultimately set to die; creating the dark, depressed theme that resonates throughout the novel. First indications come from the imagery presented as a bloody cough from The Man, who has been carrying a huge load as well as pushing the trolley up a mountain side for the sake of his own son getting to see the beachside. As a result, the reader feels highly sympathetic for The Man, who is obviously not equipped to take on the challenges of survival as effectively as Robert is.
I Am Legend features establishing shots of New York City which is normally a busy, highly populated city covered in concrete. However, Lawrence’s city shows green growth intertwined between all the dense skyscraper buildings. This shot then follows with shots of cars rusting away and with plants growing through them, littered through the middle of the street. This visual in turn causes the audience to instantly recognise the fact that the city has been abandoned for some time and that the occupants have left in a chaotic manner. The final shot in the initial establishing shot collection is an overhead of a single red car driving through the city, weaving between the trashed cars. This is a powerful shot used by Lawrence, not only in building audience interest but also in the development of this central survival theme. It clearly highlights just how alone the driver of the vehicle is, in a city that is normally overflowing with people. Opposing this landscape is McCarthy’s barren, empty and unpopulated land that peels off from either side of the highway. Throughout the novel there are only a few times to stock up the minimal supplies they have on them via the service centres and small towns that are placed off to the sides of the highway, “..stood in the road and glassed the plain down there where the shape of a city stood in the grayness…”, They have no car, no military backpacks or gear and they have no quick way to move about or escape – serving to make survival more challenging. This contrast is reflective of the the conflict that each character faces with Robert facing other whereas The Man faces the environment around him.
Moreover, both McCarthy and Lawrence use the recurring symbol of the gun. Lawrence shows guns as being something to be on the offensive with, means of war and mass killing, as highlighted in both the actions of the protagonist as well as the weapons themselves. Robert has cupboards full of automatic, high powered weapons and powerful explosives which he uses to fuel war, with the hunting and slaughter of zombies that he comes across. Conversely, McCarthy makes note that The Man has only a pistol with two bullets in it, representative of desperate hope; one is for him and one is for his son. The gun is therefore seen as being something for defensiveness, ad it represents hope for them because when the bullets are gone, it is all over for The Man and his child.
Despite differences in medium, both McCarthy and Lawrence effectively demonstrate and explore the challenges and toils of survival in a post apocalyptic world by using very similar techniques. For example, the symbolism of a simple gun, the carefully designed characterisation, and role of the setting are crucial to both narratives. While still creating contrasts between the way the survivalist go about surviving, The Road and I Am Legend show how men in desperate situations are not above caring and protecting those around them.
Aspects of Matheson’s Monsters: Vampirism and Science Fiction in ‘I Am Legend’
Richard Matheson’s novel, I Am Legend, displays a great deal of horror, presented in a magnificent way. Matheson includes realistic, believable details in plot to give the reader a more realistic feeling towards the vampires. Robert Neville, the antagonist of the story, reveals scientific facts about the vampires that cause the reader to believe that a vampire apocalypse could actually happen. Matheson does not use the stereotypical way of writing about vampires, instead he uses a more science fiction approach. The vampires have more human characteristics, taking away the “monster” attitude towards them and giving the reader something else to fear; themselves.
Matheson provides plenty of horror aspects to the plot, all of which have a logical, clear explanation to them. In the end of the book, Neville realizes that the vampires are not the ones to be feared anymore, because they are the odd ones out; he is. “I Am Legend” gives off such a horrific impression, because Matheson gives the reader a perfect balance of science fiction and realistic horror. The author gives very convincing, scientific details about the vampires in order to provide a realistic explanation for them. On page 75 of I Am Legend, Matheson gives a scientific approach to the vampires. He states “By checking in one of the bacteriology texts, he’d found that the cylindrical bacterium he saw was a bacillus, a tiny rod of protoplasm that moved itself through the blood by means of tiny threads that projected through the cell envelope”. Throughout the story, Robert Neville is desperately searching for an answer as to why the vampires turned into vampires. Knowing that there is a virus that causes this, gives the reader a reason to believe that this could possibly happen in reality. This also makes the vampires seem scarier because they are “infected” or have a disease that there is no known cure for. Page 76 states “the murderer – the germ within the vampire”. Matheson is identifying this germ, the result of his scientific research, as the murderer itself.
Using scientific evidence to prove the level of horror on the vampires is a superb way of writing because the reader feels as though it is actually existent. Matheson assigns very human-like characteristics to the vampires which cancels out multiple stereotypical ideas of vampires. On page 17 of I Am Legend, Neville is reading “Dracula”, a popular fictitious book about vampires. Neville states “the book was a hodgepodge of superstitions and soap-opera clichés” because the vampires are actually more terrifying than Dracula explains. In chapter 12 of “Dracula”, the author states “there was no need to think them dead, for their stertorous breathing and the acrid smell of laudanum in the room left no doubt as to their condition”. The stereotypical trait of vampires is that they are “undead”, like infected carcasses with no human-like thought processes or anything. I Am Legend provides explanation of a pill, that actually prevents the “alive” vampires from fully dying. One of the alive vampires writes a letter to Neville stating that “it was the discovery of this pill that saved us from dying, that is helping to set up a society again slowly” (144). Throughout the entire plot, Neville is struggling for his survival, yet in the end he ends up killing himself; this irony is an extremely horrifying aspect. In one specific scene, the vampires tried to call him out of his house and he thought to himself “Bastards! I’ll kill every mother’s son of you before I give in!” (19). His great refusal to give in to the vampires was completely in vain. This is horrifyingly relatable to the readers because oftentimes what we fear is our hard works being in vain. Neville ends up taking his own life, right before the vampires were just about to do it. The novel states “he turned and leaned against the wall while he swallowed the pills. Full circle. A new terror born in death” (159). It seems as though he did give in to the enemy, by doing their “dirty work” for them. Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of Matheson’s novel is the point in the plot when Neville realizes the vampires are not the ones to fear anymore; he is.
At the beginning of the plague, the humans were terrified of the vampires because they were the abnormal ones, and they had very limited knowledge of them. Neville states “and suddenly he thought, I’m the abnormal one now. Normalcy was a majority concept, the standard of many and not the standard of just one man” (159). Matheson uses the overtaking of the human race to illustrate that the true thing to be afraid of is not what we have a full knowledge of, but what we do not understand. While looking out amongst the crowd of vampires, Neville realized that he was the one to fear now because he was the misunderstood one. The thing that we fear the most, is having a lack of knowledge about what is happening around us. The reader can relate to this aspect the best, because it is in all human nature to fear what we do not understand. This is applicable to not only the “vampire”, or “monster” concept, but to anything that we, as humans, cannot comprehend. Neville goes on to state “abruptly that realization joined with what he saw on their faces – awe, fear, shrinking horror – and he knew that they were afraid of him. To them he was some terrible scourge they had never seen, a scourge even worse than the disease they had come to live with” (159). Matheson does an excellent job of displaying horror by changing what is to be feared in this novel. When Neville becomes the “odd” one, he is suddenly the one to be feared.
Richard Matheson’s novel is truly magnificent, because he provides the reader with so many realistic details and scientific “facts” to prove his horror theories to be true. He assigns man human-like traits to the vampires, to make them relate more to the reader. Matheson not only displays horror, but gives his own definition of horror; one that is extremely relatable to the reader. Neville ends up giving in to the vampires’ true wish; to have him killed. The entire novel was about him fighting to survive and possibly recreate the human race, but all of his efforts were in vain. The author digs into the true fears of humans, which provides the readers with a very realistic aspect of horror.
Matheson, Richard. I Am Legend. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2007. Print. Stoker, Bram, and Tudor Humphries. Dracula. New York: DK Pub., 1997. Print.