I Am Legend (review)

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Not With a Bang…

It’s the end of the world as we know it — again — but Hollywood’s emphasis is horrifically, hauntingly different for this movie outing. There are no invading aliens blowing up our cities and landmarks, no mushroom clouds, none of the usual markers we’ve come to expect from the cinematic apocalypse. There is, instead, nothing. No noise — the world without us, without humans, is bone-chilingly quiet. No people: we don’t know for quite a while what the hell has happened to turn New York City so distressingly desolate. There aren’t even any corpses littering the streets, like we might expect were an almost inescapably virulent bug to cut a wide swathe through humanity, as it is hinted early in the film is the case. There is only Robert Neville, alone in the vastness of New York, and his German shepherd, Sam.
The British film 28 Days Later touched on the eerie wretchedness of a world abandoned by humanity with its opening sequence of empty, silent London — other similarities to that film will crop up later — but I Am Legend is, for much of its running time, one long, lonely riff on the plight of the sole survivor. This is based, of course, on Richard Matheson’s seminal 1954 science fiction novel of the same name, with significant deviations (more than the 1964 movie adaptation The Last Man on Earth, but fewer than 1971’s The Omega Man), but both book and this new film share the emphasis of the story’s first half: psychological and actual isolation. It’s a science fiction spin on Cast Away: Tom Hanks’ plane-crash survivor knew the whole world of six billion people was still out there waiting for him to return, but Neville has been alone in New York for three years, and his regular daily radio broadcast pleading for other survivors to make themselves known has gone unanswered. For all he knows, he is the last person alive on the planet.

It is magnificently disturbing. Director Francis Lawrence has made only a single prior feature film, 2005’s Constantine (which I’m in a minority in actually liking), but here he gives us a masterful rendering of a city stripped of its soul. He shot in unfakeable real Manhattan locations dressed both up and down: buildings are draped in quarantine plastic; streets are broken up with weeds; some cars are still placidly parked along city streets but others choke highway escape routes near bridges and tunnels. Most pathetically, Christmas wreaths and decorations still festoon the city: the plague struck in the middle of the holiday season, and ran its course so quickly that it’s as if everyone just up and left the city, the collapse happened that fast. You want to sob to see so vibrant a place now so barren of life and spirit. There isn’t even a soundtrack: Lawrence eschews a musical score for his apocalypse. There is no sound in this NYC except what Neville makes himself.

And then there’s Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness, Hitch). He plays Neville like a man pushing to keep himself too busy to have a breakdown. He’s moving systemically through the city, rummaging apartment by apartment for anything useful. He’s working his way alphabetically through the DVD store, watching everything — three years into his forced seclusion, he’s somewhere in the G’s. When he stops to talk to the mannequins he’s set up in some of his usual haunts, to be able to pretend that he’s not impossibly alone, is when Smith breaks your heart and turns Legend into something far more than a simple horror movie: Smith’s everyman charm really is “everyman” here. He is all of us, any of us, in the worst situation imaginable.

The few flashbacks to the beginning of the end — the scenes of the attempts to evacuate Manhattan are intense, as awful any New Yorker has well imagined would be the case in the event of a real catastrophe — only underscore Neville’s plight: he was a military doctor, we learn then, and he was involved in trying to find a cure. (My one minor quibble with the film is this: What are the odds that someone not a random bystander to the plague would be perhaps the only one to be immune? We never get a satisfying workaround for that.) He’s still working, in the fortified basement laboratory of his fortified Washington Sqaure townhouse, searching for a vaccine for the virus.

Why? Did I say there was no sound in NYC except what Neville makes himself? Well, I won’t spoil anything for those unfamiliar with Matheson’s novel, but when Neville shuts up house for the night, he turns the place into a fortress complete with steel shutters on the windows. For there is something out there in the dark, and it makes a terrible, hungry noise…

The world is over. Herds of deer have the run of Park Avenue. The ghosts of the old world speak from Neville’s generator-powered iPod and DVR, but they are only ghosts. He is squeezed between those ghosts and their legacy screaming in the dark, and I Am Legend puts us right the dreadul middle of that squeeze. It’s an enthralling — if not entirely pleasant — experience.

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allochthon
allochthon
Thu, Dec 13, 2007 3:06pm

How scary is it, wrt gore and such? I really want to see it, but was scarred by walking into Se7en unprepared, so now I’m gun-shy.

Drave
Drave
Thu, Dec 13, 2007 4:09pm

I actually really dug Constantine as well. In spite of the studio-enforced Americanizing and Keanu-izing of the character, it felt remarkably true to the comic. Also, it was a compelling story with interesting special effects, and it didn’t dumb down or explain everything.

Benson
Benson
Thu, Dec 13, 2007 5:15pm

I am Legend has a cool contest over at godstilllovesus.org. It’s some kind of photoshop thing but you could win a macbook pro.

Drave
Drave
Thu, Dec 13, 2007 5:23pm

That is one of the most poorly designed promotional sites I have ever seen. I can’t believe WB paid money for it.

Gloria
Gloria
Thu, Dec 13, 2007 5:24pm

If it’s anything like the novel, I can’t imagine that much gore.

Drave
Drave
Thu, Dec 13, 2007 5:35pm

I stand corrected. It’s not a promo site. (At least as far as I can tell.) That comment was just spam. It’s still annoying. If I have to actually spend 5-10 minutes trying to find what the contest itself is, somebody somewhere has failed.

moviedude22
Thu, Dec 13, 2007 7:06pm

Benson, you are right about the “god still loves us” campaign – it’s a photoshop contest and been mostly under the radar. While the rest of the marketing of the movie has been ubiquitous.

The phrase is in the movie and spurred lots of dialogue about it. Time Warner sponsored the contest and it’s discussion the meaning of the film.

I also heard the changed the ending – I hope it’s a great movie. I love the book!

http://www.filmplug.com/blog/2007/12/god_still_loves_i_am_legend.html

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Dec 14, 2007 12:06am

The phrase is in the movie and spurred lots of dialogue about it.

The phrase is in the movie, but “lots of dialogue” is a stretch, in the extreme.

The movie is not very gory, and yes, the ending is different from the book, but the character is still legend, though in a different way.

Chris
Chris
Fri, Dec 14, 2007 8:11am

Mary,

I am sad to hear that the ending has been changed as thats what made the book so great to me. I also would ask does he go around and destroy the vampires in the book, and do some of the vampires actually know who he is?

Chris

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Dec 14, 2007 10:37am

Again, a reminder: please warn before you spoil something in a movie we’re discussing. I would have hoped it would be clear from my review that I was trying not to reveal what else was living in New York.

To answer your questions, they’re not really very vampiric, the creatures don’t seem to know who he is, and he does hunt them, but not as in the book.

Jason
Jason
Fri, Dec 14, 2007 12:09pm

Seriously … with the spoilers =/

Krow
Krow
Fri, Dec 14, 2007 4:17pm

Yawn… another virus/zombie/end-of-the-world flick… yawn. How many times is this tired plot going to get trotted out? Is there a limit? Please… for X-mas I want that… an end to this kind of movie. Where’s the writer’s strike when we need it? In the name of originality I demand a moratorium. Please baby please…

JT
JT
Fri, Dec 14, 2007 6:24pm

SPOILERS

I thought this was incredibly effective and fascinating for the first hour or so. Will Smith was terrific and the scene after Sam dies, when he attacks the ‘dark seekers’ was well done. I didn’t even notice the supposedly terrible CGI that people are talking about.

And then the movie fell apart. Anna saved Neville at night. If she believed that there is really a survivor’s colony in Vermont, she would have woken him up at dawn and explained the situation to him. Instead they’re eating bacon and eggs and thinking ‘It’s too late to go today, we’ll just stay another night. No worries. I mean, it’s not like there are monsters trying to kill us or anything as soon as it’s dark.’

If that’s not bad enough, the dialogue in the last third begins to sound ludicrous. The Shrek scene has no place in the film, and the Bob Marley scene is understandable given the theme, but it could have been less heavy-handed. I also thought the film was really short and anti-climactic. We didn’t spend nearly enough time with Anna for me to care much about her being saved. If they were intent on ‘handing over’ the first-person narration so to speak, it could’ve been less rushed. Such potential, wasted.

littlem
littlem
Fri, Dec 14, 2007 8:42pm

I loved Constantine too — at least, this director’s version of it.

Enthralling”, ma petite, not “e-thralling”.

Get some sleep.

pit_viper
pit_viper
Fri, Dec 14, 2007 9:41pm

I love “Constantime.” I think Keanu is low-grade brilliant as usual and as usual is overlooked; the scene where he wearily picks up the cat to go to hell or L.A. or…wherever…brilliant.

Also, I am totally behind any movie that features Tilda Swinton in bondage workout togs. Just sayin.’ Hot fucking damn.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sat, Dec 15, 2007 1:34am

Yawn… another virus/zombie/end-of-the-world flick… yawn. How many times is this tired plot going to get trotted out?

When it’s this effective, what’s the problem?

Where’s the writer’s strike when we need it?

It’s going on right now.

I mean, it’s not like there are monsters trying to kill us or anything as soon as it’s dark.

But the monsters are *always* out there in the dark, and it must be clear to Anna that Neville’s house is a fortress. Seems like a good place to hole up and make plans.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sat, Dec 15, 2007 1:38am

“Enthralling”, ma petite, not “e-thralling”.

Fixed. Thanks.

Get some sleep.

Man, I just can’t win, can I? I get people bitching at me to hurry up and review whatever movie they’re waiting for me to review, and now I’ve got people telling me to get some sleep. Make up your minds, people…

Branden
Branden
Sun, Dec 16, 2007 1:18am

The ended did feel very abrupt to me, and a little disappointing. I did love everything leading up to it though.

The scene with Sam in his arms especially, very moving.

Signal30
Signal30
Sun, Dec 16, 2007 10:37pm

VAGUE SPOILERS:

Being a fan of Matheson’s novella, I’m surprised that I came out of this as relieved as I did… that they didn’t completely mess it all up.

Of course it helps when you approach it as a decamped remake of The Omega Man, and not as an adaptation of the original story.

I could have done without the awkward way they tried to tie the title of the flick with the Bob Marley bit, the whole God trip towards the end and the piss-poor CGI mutants… but for what it was, not bad.

Pascal
Pascal
Mon, Dec 17, 2007 1:58am

SPOILERS

As I gather, symptoms for the virus include: a cartoonishly exaggerated mouth, super-human strength, acrobatic skills, the ability to crawl on ceilings, and a roar that could not possibly resonate within a human vocal tract. Plus, you can repeatedly throw yourself against shatter-resistant glass without drawing an ounce of blood or cracking your skull like a melon (I guess the virus makes bones super hard, too). Oh, and you always know where the camera is so you can roar into it on occasion.

As for the ending… does anyone believe that one grenade would really do the trick?

I actually enjoyed the movie. Will Smith was solid and the depiction of the loneliness of the “last man on Earth” was spot on. However, the CG zombies was near sacrilege, and other flaws cited above make this movie a single-viewing only for me.

Chris
Chris
Mon, Dec 17, 2007 3:24pm

Mary,

Having seen the movie and read the book I must say I was dissapointed. While I will give props to Smith for holding the movie together, the third act is just to major of a let down to say that this is a great adaptation. It seemed that they the produces wanted to easy out, to give big Willie the happy ending we all want, but the book is not about happy endings, it’s about a man surviving and the birth of a new world. I think if Matheson was still alive he would not approve of the end result of this movie.

Ide Cyan
Ide Cyan
Mon, Dec 17, 2007 6:11pm

Richard Matheson *is* still alive.

Signal30
Signal30
Mon, Dec 17, 2007 6:41pm

… and rolling in his gravy.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Mon, Dec 17, 2007 9:00pm

Mmmm, gravy…

amanohyo
amanohyo
Mon, Dec 17, 2007 9:03pm

Forget rolling, I’ll be happy if I can suck gravy through a straw at 81… wait, that’s actually sounds kinda difficult. Seriously though, I can’t believe he’s been publishing stories for over fifty years.

MBI
MBI
Tue, Dec 18, 2007 10:01am

I sure liked this movie.

Or at least, you know, the GOOD half of the movie.

You understand what I mean.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Tue, Dec 18, 2007 1:59pm

The ending is not as strong as it could be. But the first two-thirds of the film are so potent that it doesn’t matter. And it’s not too often that that’s the case — usually a less-than-satisfying ending sinks a film. But not here.

Derrick
Derrick
Wed, Dec 19, 2007 11:57pm

this is just a complete random comment on the movie.
please comment on this if you agree or felt the same way, but as you know in the movie Will has a love for Bob Marley and it takes a great deal in the story as his sign of peace.
Well do you think possibly that that was added because of the title name, “I Am Legend.”
hence “Legend”

Bob Marley’s greatest selling record which was pointed out by Will in the movie was also called “Legend”

Now, i know that they didn’t just make up the name, but the idea of addding Bob Marley may have come to them?

agree?

Nathan
Nathan
Thu, Dec 20, 2007 12:34pm

(there are always POSSIBLE SPOILERS on internet message boards.)

Derrick:

well, they couldn’t go with the orignal story because it would make test-audiences all sad and depressed and disappointed, so i think the writers/filmmakers were most likely scrambling for a reason why the Will Smith character would be considered a “legend” and someone said, “Hey, isn’t there a Bob Marley album called Legend?”

“Yeah, that’s great! We can use that.”

“What song? No Woman, No Cry?”

“Ah, no.”

“Buffalo Soldier?”

“Hmmm. No.”

“Well, how about that ‘every ting going be alright’ song?”

“Yeah, that’s it. Just the right ironic touch. Then we’ll write some crap about how he is a legend because he discovers the cure at the last minute right before he meets his redemptive end at the hands of the meth-addict Gollums.”

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Dec 21, 2007 12:33pm

they couldn’t go with the orignal story because it would make test-audiences all sad and depressed and disappointed

Frank Darabont got away with a downer of an ending with *The Mist*…

Signal30
Signal30
Fri, Dec 21, 2007 10:24pm

The Mist has also only pulled 25 million BO in the month since it opened…

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sat, Dec 22, 2007 9:51am

That may be, but test audiences and focus groups and the desires of studio executives regarding a movie’s ending are a different issue entirely.

Nathan
Nathan
Sat, Dec 22, 2007 11:30am

the budget of The Mist was less than $20m. the marketing of I Am Legend might have cost more than that. (maybe Ford Motor Company picked up the tab.) there’s no way that a big-budget Will Smith vehicle is going to have a “bad” ending. (SPOILER) what should have been dark and visionary and thought-provoking turned into just another CGI monster-fest with a red-state ending complete with para-military people, a church, and a border fence.

i wanted to like this movie, and i did for about a third of the way through, but it just went so wrong…

Pedro
Pedro
Wed, Jan 02, 2008 12:45pm

Upon first viewing the trailer, my family thought this was a silly action movie. My sister even had the comment: “it’s a movie with CG deer, for Chrissakes!”. Having watched the whole thing, i have to say that the trailer makes it look much stupider than it actually is.
I watched a dire, piss-poor bootleg copy, but even in such dire condition, the quality of the movie still shines through. It’s a story that keeps threatening to become silly, but never does.
The first 2/3 of the movie are great. Smith roaming about, left pretty much to himself, with barely any dialogue and the awesome absurdity of using a petrol platform to putt drives makes for a great viewing experience. This part of the movie really sucks you in, making you the second-to-last man on Earth as you follow Smith around a deserted, eerie NYC. And when the dog died, i thought i could cry.
The final part of the movie – after Smith is discovered by the remaining survivors and they battle the Infected – keeps threatening to become your average pedestrian, silly zombie-flick, but somehow it avoids that pratfall. This is no Resident Evil – this is the psychological thriller at its best. What a great movie!

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Wed, Jan 02, 2008 1:38pm

I watched a dire, piss-poor bootleg copy

Why?

Capetonian
Capetonian
Thu, Jan 03, 2008 6:27am

MINIMAL SPOILAGE:

Why are people complaining about the unrealistically rendered cgi creatures? How do you realistically render something that you’re unable to know how they would be in real life? You could use real people, but one of the scariest scenes in the movie is watching the way the female creature in the lab’s chest move up and down as she breathed, which could not have been done with a real person. The cgi made the monsters look scary by giving them an unhuman quality.

Pedro
Pedro
Thu, Jan 03, 2008 7:15am

Because i bought a bootleg DVD so i could own it. but i didn’t know how bad the copy was until i got home. all my other bootlegs are fine.

Pedro
Pedro
Thu, Jan 03, 2008 7:31am

oh, and did i mention the dog was THE best actor in the movie??

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Thu, Jan 03, 2008 10:42pm

How do you realistically render something that you’re unable to know how they would be in real life?

The creatures are close to human, yet they don’t look like it. That’s a problem.

Because i bought a bootleg DVD so i could own it. but i didn’t know how bad the copy was until i got home. all my other bootlegs are fine.

*bangs head on desk* All your other bootlegs are fine? Why do you buy bootlegged copies of movies you can see legitimately? It’s not like *I Am Legend* didn’t open all over the planet. Do you not believe you should support the artists and companies who produce the movies you enjoy? Did you subsequently buy a ticket to a theater screening? Will you buy a legal DVD when they become available?

Capetonian
Capetonian
Fri, Jan 04, 2008 6:46am

Pedro, I’d like to see you get malled by one of those dogs from the movie. Here in Cape Town the movie opened on 27 December and bootlegs was already available, yet I made it a point to go watch it on half price Tuesday in a Dolby Digital cinema with the volume cranked up! It’s just that kind of movie. I’m curious to know if you’re from the US or in a country where it opened later.

It’s people like you that make me nervous about being an aspiring screenwriter and working in the film industry. While writing I’m left paranoid wondering if there’ll be an audience when I’m done, if they’re just going to bootleg the damn movie and be done with it. It’s not necessarily an I am legend big screen blockbuster, which makes it more likely to be pirated.

I don’t want to DAMN WORK AT MCDONALDS!!! Is there hope???

Pedro
Pedro
Fri, Jan 04, 2008 9:22am

calm down, guys and girl.

i bought the bootleg because in portugaL – where i’m from – you have to buy three bootleg movies, and i wanted to watch tropa de elite, which DID NOT open in the theater. subsequently, i bought that, plus legend and american gangster.

i MIGHT get the legal copy once it’s available. i DO tend to watch movies in the theater (although nowadays i’m short of time). and i endure ridicule from friends who have watched the movie online and downloaded it when i am still talking about the trailer.

bottom line: i KNOW it’s illegal. i don’t plan to become a bootlegger. i own four bootleg DVD’s and about 15 to 20 legal ones (apart from legal VHS tapes). so calm down, i’m not the scourge of the industry. LOL

that said, i found a few minor points of note:

a – the year is supposed to be 2009/2012, yet the cars look suspiciously like 2007 models (i suppose, in five years, technology didn’t advance as much, and people still have older cars, so that’s OK).

b – for tenements abandoned for three years, the stores still look clean, dust- and mice-free. (my sister said maybe Neville cleans them in his free time?)

c – the food found in the apartments (the “actual spam” and such) must have a reeeeealllly long “best before” date.

any comments?

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Jan 04, 2008 11:49am

i KNOW it’s illegal. i don’t plan to become a bootlegger. i own four bootleg DVD’s and about 15 to 20 legal ones (apart from legal VHS tapes). so calm down, i’m not the scourge of the industry.

Multiple by millions, and yeah, you’re part of the problem. It’s not about downloading (which I think tends to be done by people who will still see a movie legitimately or where never going to anyone) but about the fact that you’re PAYING bootleggers when you should be paying the people who made the movie.

a – the year is supposed to be 2009/2012, yet the cars look suspiciously like 2007 models (i suppose, in five years, technology didn’t advance as much, and people still have older cars, so that’s OK).

Plus, you have to consider that no new cars have been produced since 2009. 2007 cars look “suspiciously” like 2005 cars — cars just don’t change that much in two years.

b – for tenements abandoned for three years, the stores still look clean, dust- and mice-free. (my sister said maybe Neville cleans them in his free time?)

The only store we see is the video store, which Neville clearly has done some work on (the mannequins didn’t walk in there on their own).

c – the food found in the apartments (the “actual spam” and such) must have a reeeeealllly long “best before” date.

Canned food will last a looong time, long past its “best before” date, as long as the can is intact.

Capetonian
Capetonian
Sat, Jan 05, 2008 4:50am

“…and i endure ridicule from friends who have watched the movie online and downloaded it when i am still talking about the trailer…”

That’s just a cop out for people who aren’t real movie fans, who just jump on the bandwagon when the latest hot thing comes out.

I know you said you have originals, which is good, but how about we start a new trend. How about we tell those friends exactly what MaryAnn said: Even though I can buy bootlegs or get it for free, I want to support the artists and companies who produce the movies I enjoy. Wise words. She’s not just a pretty face.

Let’s start a trend!

Pedro
Pedro
Sat, Jan 05, 2008 10:50am

nice one, Capetonian. i personally try to go and watch a movie i’m interested in (or buy it. whatever.) sometimes i watch it on youtube, but it’s not exactly the same, is it?

but i think we should also tell universal pictures to put out the elite troop movie so that we DIDN’T have to buy the bootleg OR watch it online.

and this bootleg thing HAS been a one-off thing (well, two-off actually, but you get the picture).

by the way, MaryAnn, what if a friend “rips” a DVD of his to give a copy to you? is that illegal, too? i tend to do that with music CD’s when my friends want to hear them. i don’t sell ’em though – i give them away. and i own the originals. am i breaking the law?

Jurgan
Jurgan
Sat, Jan 05, 2008 2:23pm

Pedro: That’s less illegal than selling, but still illegal. You could get in trouble that way. Although, let’s be honest, these industries are getting ridiculous. The RIAA now says that they can sue people who buy CD’s and copy the music onto their own computers for their personal use. What a load.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sat, Jan 05, 2008 2:32pm

but i think we should also tell universal pictures to put out the elite troop movie so that we DIDN’T have to buy the bootleg OR watch it online.

Yes. I agree. It’s one thing to download something to watch when it’s the only way it’s available to you — I’ve done that, but then I also support whatever it is by buying a DVD and/or viewing it when it becomes available in other ways.

But that’s not what started this conversation. You bought a bootleg from a pirate when you could have seen the movie in a theater. If you’d merely had downloaded it, that would still be illegal, but at least you wouldn’t have given money to some third party who had absolutely nothing to do with producing the movie, and who shouldn’t profit from it.

by the way, MaryAnn, what if a friend “rips” a DVD of his to give a copy to you? is that illegal, too?

Yes, it is. I buy CDs of the music I want to listen to because I want to pay the artists who make it.

i tend to do that with music CD’s when my friends want to hear them. i don’t sell ’em though – i give them away. and i own the originals. am i breaking the law?

Yes, you are. But it’s not that I care that you’re breaking the law per se — it’s that you’re not supporting the artists who make the movies or the music that you enjoy. Why aren’t your friends paying for the music they like? How long do you think people can keeping “giving away” things that aren’t theirs to give before the artists who made the art are no longer able to make a living at it?

Capetonian
Capetonian
Sat, Jan 05, 2008 5:35pm

I hate to sound like a pessimist, but the long term prospects look bleak and without salvation. Pedro’s situation is but one out of millions around the world. The only true victory for artists against piracy is the fans. The TRUE fans. I couldn’t care less about the people who don’t truly appreciate art and therefore opt for bootlegs. They can continue. We wouldn’t make money from them anyway. It’s when the fans opt for bootlegs that I start feeling like Robert Neville.

It seems worse here in South Africa. At least the US still has a very healthy box office and DVD sales. The entire run of a movie like Titanic was the equivalent of 1.4 million US dollars, and that was in ’97 before bootlegs were available on almost every street corner.

The dream of foreign movies sharing a significant slice of the American market will probably always remain a dream. It breaks my heart that movies that don’t have American characters, dialogue and stories don’t feel very welcome there, whereas abroad we salivate to see movies like I am legend. If I am legend had to be transfered scene for scene exactly as it is to another city in the world with a foreign lead, would it have made $70 million plus in it’s opening weekend? Please!

I would love to be proved wrong someday.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sun, Jan 06, 2008 1:10pm

It breaks my heart that movies that don’t have American characters, dialogue and stories don’t feel very welcome there,

It breaks my heart, too, that this is the case, and that it seems to say that many of my fellow countrymen are closeminded, self-centered, and utterly incurious about the rest of the world. I’m sure people aren’t any more stupid here than they are across the rest of the planet, but I don’t know how we got to be so comfortably ignorant.

Jurgan
Jurgan
Sun, Jan 06, 2008 3:47pm

“It breaks my heart, too, that this is the case, and that it seems to say that many of my fellow countrymen are closeminded, self-centered, and utterly incurious about the rest of the world.”

That may be true, but it may also be a chicken-and-egg scenario. Studios aren’t willing to take a gamble bringing foreign movies over en masse because people supposedly don’t want to see them, but maybe the only reason they aren’t interested in seeing foreign movies is because they’ve never been exposed to them in the first place. I remember when Spirited Away came out- I had to drive thirty or forty miles to the one arthouse theater that was playing it. Then it won the Best Animated Feature Oscar, and theaters gave it a second run that was slightly wider but still not long enough for many people to see it. Yes, the anime style was different than many people were used to, but the story was easily accessible. I’m convinced that, had Disney marketed it right, they could have had as many ticket sales as with any of their domestic features.

Moe
Moe
Sun, Jan 06, 2008 4:10pm

Hopefully The Orphanage will show people movies made half a world away can still be great and just as enjoyable as any $150 million dollar summer event flick.

Now, if we could just get rid of that ridiculous mindset some people have of hating subtitles because they have to read and prefer ridiculous Jackie Chan-type dubbing (which ruins the actors performance by the way) over it, then we’d be well on our way.