Expecting a Legend


This clip shows the alternate ending to the film, “I Am Legend.”  In the film Will Smith’s character, Robert Neville, finds a cure for cancer, but in doing so, spreads an airborne virus.  The virus kills 90% of the world population.  Only 1% of people are immune and the rest have turned into primal, aggressive, inhuman-like beings.  Now Robert is on mission to find a cure for the remaining victims of the disease. 

During the film Robert reports that the surviving victims show no sign of human activity. However, later in the film Robert traps a female infected with the disease to do testing, and one particular infected male gets infuriated.  This shows a “human-like” relationship between the male and female which gives hope and also hinting at a formal expectation.  The expectation I formed was that this relationship would be brought forth later in the film at a significant point.  Although, in the ending the director chose, nothing happened with this relationship.  The fact that this loose end was not tied up left me frustrated because I felt my formal expectations about the ending of the film had not been resolved.  In the alternate ending, the infected male holds off the other infected humans and allows Robert to cure his “girlfriend.”  This brings back the idea that these primal creatures are still human.  However, I still do agree with the director’s decision to choose the ending that he chose.  In the alternate ending, Robert lives.  This would have diverged from what I was expecting.   In our culture, death seems to almost immortalize people.  Thus if he lived he would be less “Legendary.”  The ending where Robert dies shows more emotion represented in his desperate situation and gets a deeper emotional response out of the viewer.  

Also the butterfly that carries as a symbol throughout the film had an explicit and implicit meaning.  In the film, Robert’s daughter says “look at the butterfly daddy,” before the epidemic happens.  The butterfly comes back at the end of the film when the uninfected women survivor Robert finds has a butterfly tattoo.  He then realizes that a higher being has sent her to him to cure the human race (explicit meaning).  A butterfly is also a symbol of being born anew, which signified a new beginning (implicit).          


2 Responses to “Expecting a Legend”

  1. ” In the alternate ending, Robert lives. This would have diverged from what I was expecting. In our culture, death seems to almost immortalize people. Thus if he lived he would be less “Legendary.”

    Very nicely said.
    I had a hard time taking this movie seriously, just because it moved from the book so much that the charm left with it. I always thought that the name of the movie itself told you exactly what was going to happen in the end.
    The book was somewhat nihilistic at times, and I have to give some props to the filmmakers on trying something new with the storyline. At times, it even seemed like they were challenging the most controversial parts.

  2. nikeshox20 Says:

    i liked the movie and the storyline. the butterfly is nicely used to represent that sense of hope in the film

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