Even more so than having Will Smith in the lead role, I Am Legend's greatest asset is its massive scale. Of course, without the bankable Fresh Prince, the film would probably not have had the budget for those sweeping shots of an abandoned, overgrown Manhattan. They're just plain mind-blowing.
The 2007 movie is actually the third time Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend has been put on the big screen. These adaptations have always put choice leading men in the sole survivor role. First there was the black and white The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price, then The Omega Man with Charlton Heston. This latest version really benefits from modern CGI. With the help of computer animators, and good old fashioned Hollywood moolah, the film delivers an incredible and eerie vision of an empty NYC. The streets are littered with abandoned cars. Weeds grow through the cracked pavement, and deer are even venturing onto the parkways to graze. The Last of Us seems to be going for a similar "nature takes it back" aesthetic. This could by why Mark Richard Davies from Enslaved was added to the development team - that game also employed a skyscrapers and greenery look. And kudos to Naughty Dog for setting the game in Pittsburgh, the whole New York under siege thing is getting mighty old.
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