RT on DVD: I Am Legend Offers (Better) Alternate Ending on DVD
Humanity has a different fate in Legend's original finale.
I Am Legend - Two-Disc Special Edition
While Will Smith's last-man-on-Earth pic broke box office records last December and proved yet again that the erstwhile Fresh Prince is worth his salt as an action hero, the final scenes of Francis Lawrence's adaptation (from the Richard Matheson novel) left many viewers cold. But Warner Bros. has the ultimate treat for those of you who left the theater shaking your heads: a wildly different alternate ending on the Two-Disc Special Edition of I Am Legend that might just redeem the theatrical cut's last-act inanity. The muscled Smith acquits himself well as the last remaining survivor of a global outbreak, tromping the empty streets of Manhattan by day and battling the vampiric infected by night while slowly going crazy from loneliness. Catch the usual special features on an accompanying DVD-ROM, but again, the real reason to pick up this release is the film itself -- and its bonus alternate ending.
Keira Knightley and James McAvoy star as young lovers torn apart by a single, devastating lie in director Joe Wright's stunning epic romance. When rich and beautiful Cecilia Tallis (Knightley) gets caught in a clinch with her childhood friend, Robbie Turner (McAvoy), their love must withstand a false accusation by Cecilia's young sister, Briony (Saiorse Ronan) then prison, war, and separation. Wright's critically acclaimed period pic --- the epitome of the prestige piece, and movingly executed --- is at once romance, mystery, war film and character drama, all set to Dario Marinelli's Oscar-winning syncopated, symphonic score. Deleted scenes, featurettes on adapting the Ian McEwan novel and making the film, and a commentary track by director Wright complement the release.
The limitation of classic Disney films like Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty has been that, while perfectly...enchanting within the confines of their animated worlds, such stories couldn't possibly translate with real actors. (Besides, where would you find real mice and birds that could sew Cinderella's dress together without making a mess?) Enter Enchanted, Disney's stab at a live-action princess movie complete with animal friends and impromptu singing; with the lovable Amy Adams as a cartoon heroine come to life in dirty, real-life New York City, the Mouse House gamble proved lucky. Critics liked the film's relentlessly cheery sensibility and self-aware Disneyfications; we like a good blooper reel on any DVD release. Extras include Carrie Underwood's music video for "Ever Ever After" and behind-the-scenes featurettes for two of the film's Oscar-nominated songs.
Not a single American film in the past few years has piqued as much curiosity, or as much critical debate, as Richard Kelly's Southland Tales. A huge-scaled futuristic-philosophical romp about fate in post-nuclear Los Angeles starring the likes of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Justin Timberlake, and half the cast of Saturday Night Live, Kelly's sci-fi opus was either an artsy, ambitious endeavor or simply the sophomore slump inevitably following Kelly's similarly divisive Donnie Darko. Yours truly was in the infamous Cannes audience when Kelly unleashed his behemoth upon the world and will be among the obsessed watching the DVD over and over for any clue as to what he was thinking; alas, no explanation by way of director commentary appears on this initial disc.
Fans of author Susan Cooper's children's fantasy series The Dark Is Rising will likely be disappointed, if not downright outraged, by this big-screen adaptation of her second book. Why? Try skipping the first novel entirely and making a number of story alterations, the most obvious of which is Americanizing the 14-year-old protagonist. But critics say that even the uninitiated viewer should be wary, lest subpar computer graphics, a boring script, and a fantasy yarn that is decidedly un-fantastic --- about a teen plopped into an ancient battle between good and evil --- is your idea of a good time.
In his latest film, Guy Ritchie tackles gangsters and criminals -- shocker, right? But Revolver, his last film since the disaster that was Swept Away, is more than just an uber-Brit shoot-em-up starring Jason Statham...ok, so it also stars Statham (who made his name in early Ritchie films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch). And it was a critical and commercial disappointment (just like Swept Away). That's partially because Revolver, like Ritchie compatriot Matthew Vaughn's Layer Cake, is an existential kind of gangster thriller -- perhaps over-indulgently so, say scribes. Con man Jake Green (Statham) leaves a long prison stint to seek revenge on the man who put him there (Ray Liotta). Throw in gambling, hitmen, Andre "3000" Benjamin, a blood disease, supposed Kabbalah references, and philosophical musings galore, and you've got one heck of a mess --- just the latest in Ritchie's filmography before his next crime pic.
Thus concludes our latest round-up of new releases. Remember your Latin: "Nam et ipsa scientia potestas es."