This may come as a surprise, but I saw this movie opening night. As a working class citizen nowadays, I was unable to attend a midnight showing (largely since I'd gotten up at 5:30 am that Thursday and was really looking forward to sleeping all the way till 7:00 am on Friday, which would be less enjoyable if I didn't get to bed before 3). However, it's taken me awhile to get around to putting my thoughts down, even though my thoughts were pretty well formulated by the end of the movie.
So, what are my thoughts? Well, it was awesome. Seriously awesome. I would recommend it to anyone who likes horror. It was totally scary. And tense and well acted and thought provoking and cool and just plainly awesome (in case you weren't clear on the awesome part).
I'm surprised how it came out. It's really about being alone and scared all the time. It's about losing everything, right before your own eyes, and trying to deal with it in a damn scary world. A lot of people compare it to 28 Days Later, but I think that's kind of lazy. This is about existing after the world is taken over by monsters, rather than suddenly finding that the world has been taken over by monsters. Cillian Murphy's character wakes up in a horrible world and has to deal with it (which is scary and totally a cool concept). Will Smith's character was there when the world ended and he's still there now and dealing with that is no cakewalk either.
And we get to watch not only the way he attempts to deal with it, but the way it all falls apart around him. He's been existing on the precipice of losing it for so long, that when he does, it's a relief.
So, it's really a very sad movie. One of the only things keeping him going is his search for a cure. If he can only cure the monsters, then maybe things will get better. But, three years later he hasn't found that cure. And so he blames himself. He finally turns one of the only things keeping him going and focused and alive into something destructive.
And we, as the audience, have to watch that happen. It's really amazing. This captures the spirit of the book beautifully. No wonder they actually used the title.
But, there was one disappointment. I was hoping, praying really, that Francis Lawrence would have the balls to give this movie the ending it deserved. But, no, he didn't. Bastard. After going through this extended exercise in the loss of sanity and the fear of the unknown, we are forced to watch a happy, uplifting, hopeful ending. When I talk about this movie, I honestly have to just pretend that the ending didn't happen. Because it screws everything up. It takes the twisted and horrific meaning of the title and turns it into something happy. And happiness has no place in this movie.
Will Smith character isn't supposed to be a hero, he's just supposed to believe he's a hero. And, when things come crashing down, he realizes he isn't a hero, but that's all he can hold onto. And then the movie goes and actually makes him a hero. God damn it.
But, the ridiculous awesomeness of this movie is able to overcome all that. Thank God.