Who would’ve known that an ancient book I just picked up randomly from a stack of books here in the house (we have stacks and stacks of books), would turn out to be a Will Smith movie coming out soon?
A few weeks back I picked up ‘I Am Legend’, which appealed to me since it didn’t seem like heavy fare, and besides my sis recommended it. And so I finished it off in 3 days or so, some of the images still in my mind from the terrific writing by Richard Matheson. The preface had a glowing recount from Stephen King himself, describing Matheson as one of the more pervasive and lasting horror writers. True enough, the book, which is about a man, Neville, being the only one left in the world after everyone else had turned to vampires, is compelling not necessarily because of the idea of monsters chasing after you (although that can result in some pretty heart racing stuff), but because of his utter loneliness, despair, confusion and waning motivation to live (I forgot his first name, but I can’t forget his last because the vampires call his name out outside his house at night trying to get him out).
So you can imagine how surprised I was when we watched Die Hard last night. Amongst the movie previews was, lo and behold, Will Smith lying in a bathtub, similar in a situation like Neville’s. There are, of course, some marked changes. Neville was very much an ordinary man, but Smith’s Neville is some sort of SWAT officer, always having an M-16 by his side. Then there is the issue of the dog. In the book, the dog is a very important dramatic point in the story, which after months of loneliness, determines for Neville whether we wants to continue with his life. At this point, for the first time ever I’m gonna stop myself from spoiling the story, because I appreciated that part and its important I think others who might want to read it do too.
You know, stories like these are extremely rare. Stephen King was living in such a different world of entertainment in his autobiography On Writing, when he was describing how he would steal off into town to watch movies with a friend. These movies and countless books of course, turning him into one of the greatest writers of the 21st century that I consider him to be. How can you not be completely enraptured by these absolutely terrific stories that earnestly and sincerely just wanted.to.tell.their.stories? They probably had terrible effects, and even maybe even low editing standards, but all they had was story, and so that’s all they gave to you. Nowadays, especially after watching Transformers and the other week’s Fantastic Four, movies not only want to entertain you, they also want to sell you cars, toys, video games, KFC, t-shirts, downloads, ringtones, and all manner of whatever.