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Blu-ray Review: I Am Legend

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Will Smith shines as Robert Neville, a scientist immune to a virus that has wiped out mankind, leaving him as the sole survivor. His emotional performance carries the film, while the abysmal creature effects almost ruin the entire thing. The CG does well for the stunning shots of a deserted, dilapidated New York, and then crumbles when required to handle the human-like creatures assaulting Neville. This is still a memorable film (and the new ending on the Blu-ray adds more weight to it), though it had the potential to be more effective.

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Warner delivers an amazing HD package here. Video quality is crisp, clear, and stunning. Colors are perfect, not overblown. They carry a natural tone. Facial detail is remarkable, and long shots of the city don’t lose any of their impact due to transfer inconsistencies (simply because none exist). This is a grain-free presentation with deep, intense black levels throughout.

Dolby TrueHD creates a masterful audio presentation. Action or not, there’s always something noticeable happening in the sound field. Neville’s hunt carries incredible atmosphere as he trudges through what has become the jungle in New York. Insects and animals make sounds that hit every speaker. Bass is powerful, making the flashback sequence in which the bridge is destroyed demo-worthy. The panicked crowd is likewise captured flawlessly. Obviously, the rear speakers truly kick in during the creature attacks, and they capture every movement front to back.

While missing a commentary (which could have been a great extra if they discussed the changes or subtle meanings in the plot), other extras provide a fantastic look behind the scenes. A whopping 21 featurettes are included, coming in at a total of about an hour. These are far from promotional fodder, detailing the troubles shooting in New York (during the day, nonetheless), and the visual effect challenges.

Cautionary Tale: The Science of I Am Legend interviews some of the cast and scientists about the realities of the film, and the overall possibilities of the scenario actually happening. This runs 20 minutes. Four animated comics round off the extras.

This Blu-ray contains both the theatrical and extended cut. The new ending on the latter doesn’t bail itself out with a massive explosion to please the audience. It takes an emotional approach that works for the film instead of against it. This is a far better climax, and that makes this worth a rental (at the least) to see the new final chapter.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.