DECEMBER 7, 2007
What with I Am Legend hitting theaters next week, I thought I’d give a look at Last Man On Earth, the first adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel. Also, like 90 readers suggested I watch it. I had always heard bad things about it, so I wasn’t exactly dying to see it, but as it turns out, it’s not all that bad.
However, it’s hard for me to buy Price as a hero. He just sounds too damn sinister. Later in the film, when he finds a fellow survivor, who can blame the poor broad for not wanting to trust him? He makes “I’m not going to hurt you!” sounds like the most threatening thing ever said. I wouldn’t trust him either. Maybe his grandson Jody, but not him.
Also, and it’s been a while since I’ve read the book so I can’t remember if it was the same, but I think it would work better if the flashbacks were separated and delivered in smaller chunks, Lost-style, rather than stopping the movie cold for a half an hour to explain away everything at once. This prevents any vampire action from occurring for far too long a time. Still, the flashback sequence does offer Price saying, quite matter of factly “Maybe it was because I was bitten by a bat...” (in response to his seeming immunity). Apparently, he was the only one ever bitten? But the way he says it is so hilarious (he might as well be saying “Maybe I should have roast for dinner.”), it buys the film another 10 minutes of momentum.
Also, the transfer is pretty ridic. Apparently it was taken from a TV airing. So the film’s 2.35:1 image is cropped, but the film is also windowboxed! And making things worse, the opening credits are either cropped out:
Or the image is stretched vertically so that they wouldn’t be cropped:
Christ. I might have to buy the regular DVD (there’s a new edition with a cover that ape the remake) just so I can watch the movie respectfully. They might as well have shot it with a camera during a screening.
I still haven’t seen Omega Man, though I understand it’s the least faithful of the three. Not that I really care. If you want the book, read the book.
What say you?