OK, so I Am Legend. I wanted to see this in the theaters, but didn’t get the chance. As it turns out, I think the best experience for this movie is on DVD.
Lemme explain. When I first popped the disc in, I was greated with a big splash screen that said “Theatrical Version” and “Alternate Version.” That’s it. No previews, no explanations, just a big freakin menu with two choices. How is that helpful? What’s the Alternate version? Should I watch that one or go with the theatrical release? How much is different? It’s like those old Lethal Weapon movies where they have to choose either the red wire or green one.
After a moment of seriously considering to check the internet for the right choice, sanity returned and I realized it was just a DVD. My TV wasn’t going to explode. Ironically, I did hear a voice that said, “You chose….poorly” after I selected the theatrical release.
I thought the movie was ok. Definitely worth a rental, anyway. But I didn’t like the ending. It felt too “Hollywood” for me. It wasn’t bad, by any means. It just wasn’t great. So I figured I’d check out the Alternate Version.
I put the movie on fast forward and stopped whenever something new showed up. Out of the whole movie, two things were different – the ending and one extra/expanded scene. But holy crap. Those two alterations changed the entire theme of the movie. That could highlight just how much fluff there was in the story, but I was shocked at how different the Alternate version is.
I have a hunch that the Alternate ending was supposed to be the true ending of the movie. It leaves a lot more questions hanging for you to muddle over, but I think those help the rest of the movie. You hear a lot of stories about how the “suits” change movies to make it more accessible to stupid American audiences. I have a feeling that’s what happened here and it wasn’t until the DVD that the director could put his vision out there. They probably say that in the commentary, but who listens to those?
So yeah, if you haven’t checked it out, do so. Even if you saw it in the theaters, the alternate version might be worth a look. Let me know which version you liked best.
Grade: A- (Original Ending = B)