Book & Movie Review: I Am Legend

Let me start with the book shown to the right. This is the book that I read. I didn’t realize that the book also contained short stories written by Richard Matheson. When I got to what I thought was the logical end of the book, I progressed to a short story, not realizing I Am Legend had ended until I read at least a page. Boy am I a dork! Consider this another one of my menopause moments. Once I figured out that I had started reading a new story, I quickly figured out that I’d already read it. I skimmed through some more stories and realized I’d read those as well. So I got through the book pretty quick.

OK, on to my review of I Am Legend. Since I read this book shortly after watching the movie with Will Smith (Yes this was the first time I’d read it), I did have to do a comparison of the two while progressing through the book. You know how most of the time you love one and hate the other. Well I can’t say that about I Am Legend. I LOVED both! But then again, you can’t really compare the movie with the book because they are both so different.

What I loved about the book is that it wasn’t about the typical vampire. It was about one man who took on what remains of the world. In the beginning, we see Neville as an average man forced to handle a catastrophic situation, uninfected and alone. His actions become both sane and insane as the book progresses. Throughout the story, Neville goes to great lengths to both destroy and understand those infected. We might even think him heroic. But in the end he is not the hero. He is the true enemy and threat to the new society. Brilliant!

In the movie, Neville struggled with guilt, feeling responsible for the state of the world and that he was spared. He has turned his whole purpose in life into a struggle to find a cure. He is a man consumed with stopping the virus and saving humanity.

I have to say I preferred the vampires in the book. In the movie all individuality, intelligence and humanity has been stripped from the infected. Their one and only purpose is to feed, more like zombies. I’ve read criticism about the visual depiction of the infected. I assume that the infected were portrayed/visualized as they were so that the viewer was able to concentrate more on Neville’s struggles. After all, this wasn’t a Resident Evil, action/thriller type movie.

BOOK RATING: 5 out of 5
MOVIE RATING: 4 out of 5

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