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I Am Legend

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • I Am Legend's 4K release: Improved yet lacks extras, a solid yet imperfect adaptation.

    I Am Legend 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • I Am Legend's 4K UHD enhances its decaying beauty and detailed landscape, yet the CG limitations and subtle improvements contemplate its necessity.

  • Audio
  • The I Am Legend 4K UHD release retains its dynamic DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, enhancing vocal levels and preserving immersive audio details, yet misses an Atmos upgrade.

  • Extra
  • The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack of 'I Am Legend' includes in-depth special features: director and writer commentary, alternate film ending, virus science documentary, and location insights, alongside unique animated comics.

  • Movie
  • Warner's 4K release of 'I Am Legend' impresses, despite mixed feelings on its departure from the source and the CG Darkseekers. Will Smith shines in this adaptation.

    Video: 81

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "I Am Legend" brings an intriguing look into the desolate awe of post-apocalyptic Manhattan, invoking the sense of isolation and survival embroiled within Francis Lawrence's interpretation. The visual transitions from dilapidated urban sprawls to subtle inflections of color and detail elevate the storytelling beyond its predecessors. Despite its 2K master, the up-conversion to 2160p resolution accentuates the depth of scenes and textures - from the overgrowth consuming the city to the fine details in Neville's surroundings and the dark seekers themselves. Rich, vibrant colors breathe life into the desolation, with the HDR enhancement providing a stark contrast between the dark interiors of Neville's final stronghold and the bright, overrun streets of New York.

    However, it's worth noting that not all aspects benefit equally from this transition to ultra-high definition. As observed, certain CG elements do not showcase significant improvement over their original Blu-ray counterparts, with dark seekers and some environmental effects appearing comparable in quality. This consistency, while maintaining a professional sheen overall, may leave enthusiasts desiring more from the visual upgrade. Moreover, intricate details and textures in both environmental and character close-ups demonstrate the upgrade’s strength, though it inadvertently highlights the aged elements of CG incorporation.

    The HDR implementation is praiseworthy for its enhancement of black levels and shadow detail, contributing significantly to the atmospheric tension in darker scenes. Colors emerge more lifelike and nuanced, offering a vivid portrayal of both the desolation and the unnerving presence of Neville's adversaries. While some source noise and grain are noticed, their presence is minimal and does not detract significantly from the overall viewing experience. This UHD presentation underscores the narrative's bleakness through its visual fidelity and color grading, presenting a mixed yet notably improved viewing experience over earlier versions.

    Audio: 84

    The audio presentation of "I Am Legend" on 4K UHD Blu-ray offers a strikingly clear and immersive DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, maintaining the precision and depth of its original mix while enhancing certain aspects for a modern home theater experience. Despite the lack of an upgrade to Dolby Atmos or DTS-X, this release capitalizes on its dynamic range to showcase the eerie silence of deserted Manhattan, juxtaposed with the sudden, heart-pounding actions of Neville's survival instances. Gunfire, the roar of the Shelby GT-500, and the subtle yet ominous presence of wildlife achieve an enveloping soundscape, rich in clarity and depth. Dialogue has seen noticeable improvement, with vocal levels adjusted to ensure clarity without necessitating volume adjustment — a commendable fix from the previous mix, enriching viewer engagement with every spoken word.

    The technical prowess displayed in the low frequency extension (LFE) and surround sound presentation affirm this release as a benchmark for audio quality. The LFE channel masterfully underpins the atmospheric tension and sudden bursts of action without overwhelming, allowing for a balanced yet powerful experience. Glass shattering, doors slamming, and the intense sequences of chaos are rendered with exceptional clarity, making every moment resonate with realism. Surround channels are meticulously utilized, enveloping the viewer in a 360-degree soundscape where directionality and precision matter. Sound effects from the bustling city to the distant howls of Darkseekers are positioned with such accuracy, they enhance the immersion into Neville's lonely, fraught existence to outstanding effect.

    While it might be seen as a missed opportunity not to include an Atmos track for what could have been the ultimate auditory experience, the quality and care put into this DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix make it a definitive version nonetheless. The balance between dialogue reproduction, robust action sequences, and the hauntingly silent atmosphere showcases an exemplary use of dynamic range. Subtle audio cues like rustling vegetation and ambient city sounds are captured with a lifelike authenticity that contributes to the overarching mood of isolation and dread, making "I Am Legend" on 4K UHD an essential acquisition for audiophiles and fans alike.

    Extra: 74

    The 4K UHD Blu-Ray release of "I Am Legend" elevates the viewing experience by incorporating a rich array of extras that enhance the understanding and appreciation of this film. Notably, the commentary by director Francis Lawrence and writer/producer Akiva Goldsman offers profound insights into the creative process, highlighting the extensive edits and the deliberate choice to depict a post-apocalyptic New York reclaimed by nature. The "Cautionary Tale: The Science Of 'I Am Legend'" delves into the real-world relevance of viruses, featuring discussions with the cast, crew, and medical experts, making it a pertinent watch in today's context. "Creating 'I Am Legend'" provides an in-depth look at the production challenges and innovations, including the extraordinary feat of transforming bustling New York locations into desolate landscapes. Additionally, the inclusion of animated comics expands the narrative universe, though their reception may vary among audiences. This compilation of extras, including an alternate cut with a distinct ending, significantly contributes to an enriched viewing experience, making it a must-have for fans and cinephiles alike.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Commentary by Director Francis Lawrence and Producer – Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman: Insightful commentary providing deep dives into creative choices and production challenges.
    • Cautionary Tale: The Science Of 'I Am Legend': A mini-documentary discussing the real-life science of viruses, featuring interviews with cast, crew, and experts.
    • Creating 'I Am Legend': Over fifty minutes of behind-the-scenes content covering various aspects of production from location challenges to actor preparation.
    • Animated Comics: A collection of four motion comics that explore the global impact of the virus on different parts of the world, offering additional context to the film's narrative.

    Movie: 76

    Director Francis Lawrence's 2007 cinematic adaptation of Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend" receives a striking 4K UHD Blu-ray release, breathing new life into the post-apocalyptic adventure starring Will Smith as Robert Neville. This adaptation, following predecessors "The Last Man on Earth" and "The Omega Man," distinguishes itself with its high-definition makeover, courtesy of Warner's dedication to revitalizing this gripping tale for contemporary audiences. Despite being one of several adaptations, Lawrence's rendition stands out by incorporating a modernized narrative and a compelling performance by Smith, set against the desolate backdrop of a virus-ravaged New York City.

    Smith brilliantly portrays Neville, a scientist and sole survivor grappling with isolation in an eerily empty Manhattan, his only companion his dog, Sam. This version of "I Am Legend" delves into themes of loneliness, hope, and survival, differing from its predecessors by introducing the Darkseekers, a new breed of nocturnal mutations that Neville seeks to cure, using his immunity to the virus as a beacon of hope. Despite some deviations from Matheson’s original material and the mixed reception of its CGI antagonists, Smith's engaging performance and the film's exploration of human resilience shine through.

    The 4K UHD presentation enriches the viewing experience, offering a visually stunning portrayal of the bleak yet fascinating universe Lawrence has reconstructed. However, while the first two acts immerse viewers in Neville's solitary struggle and the atmospheric tension of an abandoned metropolis, the film's resolution—eschewing the complex negotiations of hope and surrender for a more conventional climax—may leave audiences divided. The detailed high-definition visuals and Smith’s compelling portrayal ensure that "I Am Legend" remains a noteworthy adaptation, though it strays from Matheson's ending and debates regarding the Darkseekers’ depiction linger.

    Total: 74

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "I Am Legend" presents a mixed bag for enthusiasts and discerning viewers alike. On the one hand, Warner Bros.' decision to omit the second disc of extras available in the Ultimate Collector's Edition is a notable drawback for those seeking the definitive package. Nevertheless, the inclusion of a commentary track does add value, and the enhanced video quality cannot be understated, magnifying the visual style that director Francis Lawrence and star Will Smith admirably brought to life. This sci-fi action thriller, despite its flaws, notably in the abrupt and tonally inconsistent ending, benefits from a solid conversion to 4K. The source material's rich history, having been adapted thrice, offers a fascinating case study in adaptation that partly compensates for the product's shortcomings.

    The 4K release's technical aspects—both video and audio—are commendable, with a noticeable upgrade that enthusiasts of the format will appreciate. However, potential buyers should temper their expectations regarding supplementary content and replay value. Compared to Warner Bros.' other choices for 4K releases such as "The Town," "Argo," and "Goodfellas," "I Am Legend" may not seem like an obvious candidate for this format, especially considering the film's polarizing reception and low replayability as highlighted by reviewers. It stands as a solid upgrade for a solid film, albeit with reservations about its endgame and overall impact compared to other titles in the 4K catalog.

    In conclusion, while "I Am Legend" on 4K UHD Blu-ray showcases some strengths, particularly in its visual presentation and the earnest performance of Will Smith, it ultimately represents a missed opportunity to deliver a comprehensive and definitive edition. The film itself, with its compelling start and flawed conclusion, coupled with the technical merits of this release, makes it a worthy addition for aficionados of the format or the film. For newcomers to 4K or those with evolving collections, it may not top the list of must-haves, but it remains a noteworthy example of how visual style and performance can elevate the material, even when other elements fall short.