Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I Am Legend
I went and saw "I Am Legend" this morning. It was awesome. Director Francis Lawrence did a great job of permeating it with a sense of dread. Visually it was top notch especially the scenes of an empty, abandoned New York. The Dolly Grip was Keith Bunting, who also did "The Brave One" and again, the moves were dead on. I didn't particularly like the handheld work which seemed to take me out of the story rather than enhance it, and I didn't think some of it was particularly well done (on purpose I suspect; ala "NYPD Blue") I know Francis. I did a movie with him before this and I know he is extremely particular about framing. He is obsessed with "nodality," or lining up shots symmetrically with the architecture. I was measuring rooms and hallways on every shot to find the exact center to place the camera, and he could always tell when I cheated. He also never stops moving the camera. We had this thing we called the "Lawrence Lock-Off. This was when he set up a static shot, but then called for a little push in at the last second. But back to "I Am Legend," the only other quibble I have with the picture is the CGI creature effects, not very effective. This is a common problem with CGI mixed with live action. The CGI always ends up looking like a video game when placed against a live person (at least when the CGI characters are vaguely human.) Will Smith was great and pulled off being the only character onscreen for 3/4 of the picture. I recommend it.