I Am Legend the King of Outbreak Movies
One of the strangest consequences of the Coronavirus outbreak is the surge in downloads and streaming of apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, and doomsday/dystopia genre of movies. On top of that wave of this recent trend rides Contagion, a movie that people claim has scenes that are eerily similar to that of the recent COVID-19 outbreak that has rocked the globe.
The movie starred Jude Law and Matt Damon and had a very grounded and accurate depiction of how a pandemic would change the course of the world forever. Some people claim it to be the best cinematic representation of recent times. We would beg to differ. There is a much better movie out there and it has managed to dive even deeper into this phenomenon that Contagion ever did. We are talking about the 2007 movie I Am Legend.
What Contagion fails to show us is what happens after the outbreak has taken the world by storm. What do people do next? When the deadly wave has swept the entire Earth and taken scores of people along with it, leaving the human civilization a shadow of its former self, what happens next?! The consequences of the outbreak are what I Am Legend so meticulously delivers to the viewers in a short and crisp manner.
So if you are not a fan of social distancing, you should definitely read what we are about to say.
We are back in our homes. The cities, the roads, the buildings, the places where the crowds usually gathered, are now empty. Give it another decade and Mother Nature will (inevitably and) slowly take over. It has already happened in I Am Legend. After the extinction of the human race, the sprawling cities and the tall buildings and other man-made structures standstill. But they have been reclaimed by the forests and the wildlife. Moss and vines now rule the cities. Animals who would have never ventured out into the cities now roam freely in the concrete jungles of New York.
Given the fact that we could be stuck within our homes for a long period of times which could take even years in a worst-case scenario since the formulation of a proper cure/vaccine will take time, the socio-environmental implications are something we need to consider that comes as part of the deal itself. The sense of ruin and abandonment is brilliantly recreated within the frames of I Am Legend. Robert Neville, played by Will Smith, is seen hunting a deer within the heart of NYC. The deer hunt is hijacked by a lion, who has now claimed Neville’s prize. The writers did some really serious thinking before coming up with the screenplay and it shows.
So why are we championing Contagion rather than I Am Legend, which has a way more accurate depiction of a real-world post-apocalyptic environment rather than the former, which is basically a flawed attempt at trying to recreate a real-world outbreak scenario? The reason is we like to watch what imprints on us the most. Right now, the only thing in our minds is how to stop the world from moving towards where it is clearly headed. Humans are inherently pessimistic creatures and Contagion is not something we need but we deserve at the moment.
But when everything is said and done, when the world has finally come to terms with the new Law of the Land (or the Law of the Jungle, whichever way you want to see it), it will be Will Smith’s I Am Legend that will give them the pointers necessary to survive and weather the coming storm.
I Am Legend was released on the 5th of December, 2007. The official film synopsis for the movie reads:
Robert Neville (Will Smith), a brilliant scientist, is a survivor of a man-made plague that transforms humans into bloodthirsty mutants. He wanders alone through New York City, calling out for other possible survivors, and works on finding a cure for the plague using his own immune blood. Neville knows he is badly outnumbered and the odds are against him, and all the while, the infected wait for him to make a mistake that will deliver Neville into their hands.