Friday, January 18, 2008

Religious allegory in "I AM LEGEND"

Not to say entirely but almost, this is an evangelical film. New York City–the most materialistic place that best represents our world at the moment–has turned into a hell due to a devastating plague 'invented' by human in the development of cancer cure. The evil spreads when human beings think that they have conquered the most thrilling threat in life and that they no longer need God.

The hero, Robert Neville, best represents one of the kinds. After three years of lonely and desperate scientific research in search of the cure, he has already defied the existence of God. He treats himself as the only one that can prevent the clan from distinction. An arena is again set to allow the born of a hero and this time to its full limits because, unlike Spiderman or Batman or whatever you can find in patriarchal Hollywood cinema, there is no other helper, no romance, except the company of a dog. Neville not only needs to fight the Infected but also to stand the everyday erosion of loneliness which seems to be the most intolerable of all. What could be more frustrating when dummies are the only one you can talk to and that DVDs become the last memory you can feed on? Not to mention how well Baudrillard's ideas have been illustrated, the self-reflexivity of the story upon our present world is nothing but painstaking. We know that they are not real, simply as fake as a dummy, but we just can't help coming back to them everyday. When Neville cried for his dog in front of those dummies, I wanted to cry too–for the stupidity of our reliance upon consumer products, for the only and pitiful role that women play in our society, and last but never the least, the vulnerability of human nature. We can never live alone.

The image of God reifies as the film progresses. Light is the shield against the devils and it's taking an increasingly imperative role in the live-or-die moment of the hero. 'Where do you live?' perhaps is not so much a question addressing Neville in his coma where heaven and earth is indistinguishable. We as audience had better asked ourselves what a life we are living–where are we now? Can we save ourselves from the dark? Or once again we fell into the trap of the evil, who simply knows what our weaknesses are and what we have long hoped for. The salvation of Jesus Christ is nothing more apparent when Neville sacrifices finally and the formula of cure is hidden in the blood of that infected sample.

Anyone noticed the environment shown in the last scene when Anna arrived at the reservation camp? It's a church. It's worship.

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