23 December 2007

Movie Views

We went to see I Am Legend today. It's well worth seeing albeit unrelievedly bleak; the bleakest mainstream Hollywood movie I've ever seen. It's even religious.

But it's also the first movie I know of that takes the position that what the world really needs is 6 billion fewer humans, more or less. There is, at the end, in the background a perfect Gaian touch that will unite religious and environmental zealots in wishful sighs.


Anonymous said...


"It's even religious."
It's rather shocking, once you're home, to ponder how religious the finale of the movie is*. It makes one wonder how it ever got made?

"But it's also the first movie I know of that takes the position that what the world really needs is 6 billion fewer humans, more or less."

Huh? Would you care to extrapolate on this claim? I didn't take that away from the movie in the slightest**.

*: I was absolutely positive that the religious woman who shows up at the end (seen at first only via her back-illuminated crucifix) was going to turn out to be evil in some way (same with the military main character!). And yet she (and he!) wasn't at all. How transgressive!

**: I mean, seriously, Will Smith is the hero and his goal is to stop the plague (and hence save 6+ billion people) at the beginning, and then to cure it and prevent its recurrence (and hence eventually end up with 6+ billion people again) through the end. Were you expecting the tiny sanctuary in the end to be a mini-Manhattan for a couple of hundred people?

David said...

The movie at least contemplates, and I think argues, that the plague is G-d's plan so that people can hear G-d in the quiet. What I had in mind at the end is the Steeple in the middle, with the windmills behind.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. To most effectively rebut that, I'd have to watch that part again, as it was quite hectic, but I don't believe it argues (or even suggests) that at all. The argument about "God's plan" refers to the woman finding him so that she and he could go to the sanctuary together and he could conclude his work and cure the plague.

If the plague itself was God's plan, then finding a cure wouldn't be a good thing (the fact that a tiny number of people were immune would be important part of the plan, not whether a cure could be found).

In the "theological debate" one character argues for God having a plan to save humanity (and makes no argument about the cause of the plague), and the other argues that there is no God (and that people caused the plague).

My takeaway from the movie was what I thought was the most obvious interpretation--that we're supposed to believe that man caused the plague, and God had a hand in delivering the cure to the last remaining survivors in their sanctuary (I think the crucifix and the appearance of the church behind the open doors make the pro-religious theme clear, as well as the self-sacrifice of the main character).