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10:59 am: shimgray posted a link to an alternate ending for I am Legend.

I find this interesting because, apart from being sufficient a change to make it actually an adaption of the book (as it stands it has more in common with 28 Days Later than the book than it supposedly adapts), it clearly was the ending intended when certain scenes were filmed, and contains the pay-off for various curious aspects we had noted in post-movie discussion. we had noted that the lead zombie seemed to have some connection to the captured female zombie and clearly wanted to get her back, and also that the butterfly bit was a bit random. both things make more sense here.

It isn't quite so saccharine, but is happy enough that it ought to have been possible to release the movie like that without worrying the studio too much. Oughtn't it?

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From:darkstream
Date:March 6th, 2008 10:30 am (UTC)
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I'm increasingly of the opinion that the whole "if only the studios hadn't watered down the ending" scenario is pointless. Movies and books are very different media, so a certain amount of 'retooling' is inevitable, but more importantly movie studios are businesses and have to try and turn a profit. For the most part, though, movies are democratic (in a round about sort of way). Films that "do the numbers" end up adding to the formula - Film that bomb also add to the formula in a 'lesson learned' kinda way. fact is, great films that take risks are still getting made by major studios and independents alike, but once the franchise rights for your favourite book or tv series get sold there are no guarantees the end result will be anything like what you might want. Director, script-writer, casting, studio execs, and the folks who show up to test screenings all have the means to balls up a perfectly decent movie, and audiences have the means to ignore a great film so that it becomes a 'negative' lesson with hindsight for the studios. Maybe if it had been made 5 years ago or 5 years from now the ever changing cinematic 'climate' would have allowed for a different ending, but it wasn't and it didn't so that version of the film is, at best, relegated to a DVD extra, or director's cut if it's lucky. If Matheson had written the book earlier or later in his life maybe his world view would have altered the ending of the novel too. We get what we get, basically.

Personally I kinda enjoyed I Am Legend though the theatrical ending seemed a bit half-assed, but I've seen a lot worse. Transformers, for example, seriously sucked ass in my opinion, despite excellent effects and some decent action set-pieces, but it was massively successful. I think one has to detach a modern cinema adaption of any much loved original source from the original. The new cinema version is something else, almost unrelated. The fact that there's a generation of young people who'll grow up thinking that's what Transformers or I Am Legend is about is just the way of things I guess.
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From:abigailb
Date:March 6th, 2008 11:56 am (UTC)
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You've got it bang on the nose there, I think.
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