Sunday, May 30, 2010

I am Legend


With my previous blogs I chose to write about journeys in which the hero is traveling to save their loved ones. In I am Legend it is every man for themselves. Watching this movie Greek Mythology and Archetypes just came screaming at me. You can clearly see the heroes, villains and other character archetypes. In the movie the idea of being the last man on earth, or at least the last man surviving in present day New York City with millions of zombie-like people trying to kill him. We have all heard of the expression being the last man on earth and this movie brings those ideas to life. One heroic man surviving millions of deathly creatures.

The Stages of a hero's Journey is especially relevant in the movie I am Legend. In stage one it is the departure. The movie shows how actor Will Smith (Robert Neville) is trying to get his wife and daughter out of New York to safety because a mass virus has spread throughout the world. His plan was to get his family on a helicopter and then he would eventually join them in safety. Unfortunately right after his daughter and wife leave on the helicopter it crashes and he watches as his life and love burn to the ground. He is left in New York with his dog, immune to the virus. Stage two, the initiation, is shown in the movie through his day to day life of trying to catch ' the dark seekers ' and figure out a cure to save himself and all of the effected people as well. He is put into a more difficult situation once his dog starts to turn into a dark seekers as well and he is forced to kill the last piece of family he has left. In Stage three which is the road of trials Robert Neville discovers a woman and her son when they save him from the dark seekers right before they almost eat him alive. When living with the woman and her son the dark seekers find where they live and attempt the kill them. Then we hit stage four, the innermost cave. This is when the dark seekers enter the house and are about to kill all three of them. While in a glass case where an experimental dark seeker body is kept Neville and the woman realize that his hard work has come to a close because the cure has worked. The dark seeker had started to change back to a normal human being. With no time to lose before the dark seekers break the glass and kill all of them Robert Neville puts the woman and her son in a capsule and tells them to leave for safety in the morning and in order to save them he must give his own life. As he shuts the capsule door he picks up a picture of his family and a grenade, killing the attacking Dark seekers and himself. Stage five, Return and Reintegration with Society is shown when the woman and her son the next drive to the safe zone with the cure ultimately ending the war of the dark seekers and the surviving man kind on earth.

Character Archetypes were very prominent in the movie I am Legend. Every character had a specific and meaningful part in order for the hero's journey to play out correctly.

Robert Neville (Will Smith)

The character archetype that perfectly fits Robert Neville is the hero. His task changes from saving his family to saving himself to saving innocent people. The goal he was wishing to reach throughout that whole movie is to find a cure to the virus that spread throughout the whole world and killed nearly 98% of the worlds population. Only 1% that was immune but not safe from the dark seekers and another 1% who have turned into the dark seekers. Luckily in the end although Robert Neville end up dying his mission to safe the world as much as could and fins a cure was successful.

Anna and son Ethan (Alice Braga & Charlie Tahan)

Anna and Ethan were only in the company of Robert for a day or so but in that period of time there character Archetypes were formed. They were represented as Loyal Retainers. Sidekicks to the hero trying to protect him and themselves as well.

Sam the dog (Kona & Abbey)

Unfortunately in the end Sam did not survive the virus and eventually became a dark seeker as well. Before Sam turned to the dark side the dog would be represented as the Friendly Beast. Sam saved Robert's life countless times but ultimately ended up killing itself because he risked his life in order for Robert to live.

The Dark Seekers

These were the evil creatures that had no choice but to want to kill any living being in sight. They used to be human beings but with the virus running through their veins they had the need for human blood. Since they were not always evil and used to be human beings they would not be considered the Devil Figure instead i would label them as The Creatures of Nightmare. The evolved from humans into monsters, killing machines.


  1. It's interesting that you pointed out that Robert Neville in this movie is not acting in defense of loved ones. I wonder which seems more heroic, doing something for loved ones , or the greater good?It's like the Trojan War. It was started because a prince of Troy fell in love with the king of Sparta's wife. Yes, the prince gave his love what she wanted... but Troy was still massacred, wasn't it?

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