Video: "I Am Legend" Alternate Ending

FirstShowing.Net has posted the original ending from I AM LEGEND, which will be available on DVD. It includes a far more close and personal encounter between Neville (Will Smith) and the vampire-zombies.

Will Smith gets up close and personal with the vampires in the alternate ending, replaced when the film was in theatres.

Personally, I cannot say it is much better than the theatrical ending that was added at the last minute. Neither one does justice to the book. The alternate ending wants to do something a little more complex than the explosive, sacrificial finale seen in theatres, but it doesn’t really come off, because the monsters were simply too inhuman for a final-reel about-face. When Neville started shouting, “I can help you” to the pack leader, I could not suppress a chuckle at the ridiculousness of trying to negotiate with these sub-creatures. Well, that is exactly where the film was originally headed. It might have worked if the foundation had been laid better. At any rate, follow the link and judge for yourself.
UPDATED: For those who do not like clicking on links, here is the YouTube version of the footage, which unfortunately has the widescreen image squeezed down into a conventional aspect ratio…
UPDATED AGAIN: The YouTube video has (not surprisingly) been pulled down, presumbaly for copyright reasons.

4 Replies to “Video: "I Am Legend" Alternate Ending”

  1. Thanks for posting the piece on the I AAM LEGEND alternative ending. I’m looking forward to picking up the DVD later this month once it goes on sale. I understand your concerns about this and the theatrical ending, and the constant refrain I hear about the ending and the film version(s) not dealing adequately with the Matheson book, but I thought the alternative ending actually fits better with the storyline where sociological considerations were concerned with Neville’s shift to completely dehumanizing the vampire zombies which ends up as his downfall as they use their remaining intelligence and new social structure against Neville who is suffering from his increasing lack of ability to deal with a lack of human contact. Granted the over the top CGI vampire zombies detract from this interpretation somewhat, and ask I stated in my blog post on the film, I would have preferred makeup effects with limited CGI, but even with this disjunction between the special effects in the presentation of the “creatures” and their humanness, the alternative ending appears to me to fit more appropriately with the development of the storyline.
    Concerning the film’s failure to adhere closely to the Matheson book, since no film to day has seriously tried to do a faithful adaptation of it, perhaps we should just deal with each of the three film treatments of the story on their own terms and also recognize that they incorporate cultural elements that speak to their own times and social circumstances. For example, I ran across something recently that compared the “creatures” in the 1970s film with Heston to the Manson Family, and I had never made that connection. When we consider the social controversy over the new religions and the popular stereotype that they allegedly turned young people into zombie-like people at odds with their society and family, this depiction as the “evil social other” makes sense for the time, even though it deviates from Matheson’s treatment.

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