I Am Legend

How does this 2007 film, based on the 1954 Richard Matheson novel, depart from that book? How effective is the film in focusing on the isolation and loneliness of its protagonist, Neville? How does the dog, ‘Sam’ serve to illustrate that loneliness? What other devices are used to this end? How does the film engage the moral implications of Neville’s search for a cure for the virus that has turned human beings into savage vampiric beings? How does the film’s alternate ending, involving the ‘alpha-male’ leader of the ‘un-dead’ infected, and his mate, who Neville had captured, provide a twist, putting Neville in the role of ‘monster’ and the un-dead infected in role of victims? More generally, how do the novel and film reflect on the darker more savage side of human nature in the person of Neville and in the persons of the living infected, as both fight the almost perfectly savage un-dead infected? In the end, does Neville conclude that any continued efforts on his part in using infected human subjects to find a cure is in fact immoral, given that a large majority of human beings are infected, and that the project requires human trials with an attendant high probability of continued mortality? Is this why he leaves the city with Anna and Ethan, looking for a possible community of uninfected?

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