‘I Am Legend’ starts out fine, but falters; movie ads better | NevadaAppeal.com

‘I Am Legend’ starts out fine, but falters; movie ads better

Sam Bauman
Entertainment editor

I decided to take a break from the flood of Christmas entertainment and see “I Am Legend,” starring Will Smith, at the Galaxy Theatre on Sunday. Not exactly appropriate for the season, but I was curious, having seen the earlier version of the story, “The Omega Man,” with Charlton Heston. “The Omega Man” is a 1971 science fiction thriller based on Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel, “I Am Legend.”

The current version is much more basic with the requisite explosions, and includes a pal for Will Smith, a dog named Samantha. No China-U.S. war in this version; it’s a mutated virus that’s to blame.

This movie enjoys the modern technology that makes New York City look like Hiroshima with grass growing on Fifth Avenue – no mean trick since the plague is only a couple of years old.

Much religious folderol is omitted in favor of Smith cruising the streets and shooting up the sick survivors, and there’s a quasi-happy ending. Smith is excellent, but the whole thing bogs down in the last 30 minutes, and at times the chaotic editing is confusing. Heston is apparently ill these days, but he can rest on his performance in the ’71 version.

Incidentally, the ads that appear at the Galaxy are a lot better than those of yore, with jungle scenes interspersed between ads. The aisle seats in the middle of the screening rooms are ultra comfy as well.

TRAVELING ACTS

Recommended Stories For You

Big Head Todd and the Monsters play at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks at 8 p.m. Dec. 29-30. Tickets are $45. New Year’s Eve, it’s a Disco Dance party, tickets $35. Call (800) 648-1177 or visit janugget.com.

The Brewery Arts Center brings Al Stewart to town Jan. 19. Stewart’s restrained delivery, his incredible equanimity, is what makes his music instantly recognizable. Stewart appears in the Performance Hall at the Brewery Arts Center, 511 W. King St. Tickets are $25 for all seating. A $3 discount is available for BAC members, students and seniors. Contact the Brewery Arts Center at 883-1976 or visit http://www.breweryarts.org.

Rock singer and songwriter Paul Rodgers of Bad Company appears at the Eldorado Dec. 30 -31. Rodgers recently teamed up with Queen. Call 786-5700.

Bill Maher makes the scene Dec. 28-29 at the Silver Legacy in Reno, both shows at 8 p.m. Maher is known for his political satire and sociopolitical commentary. His commentaries target a wide swath of topics, from the right-wing to the left-wing, bureaucracies of many kinds, religion, political correctness. Call 325-7401.

Van Morrison plays the Grand Sierra Friday night with tickets topping out at $250. Ouch! Call 789-2285.

Greg London returns to Harrah’s Reno with his quick-change “Icons” show. Fast and fun. Call 788-2285.

FROM THE VAULTS

A good thriller not only has to be believable, but also tightly plotted to carry over the 500 or so pages most publishers (and readers) want these days. David Baldacci does just that once again with “The Simple Truth” ($7.95, Warner Books). This time, deep research has led him to the inner chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court, where a law clerk stumbles on a terrible mishap of justice. He is murdered for his find, as are others along the way. The hero is the brother of the murdered clerk who becomes involved in unraveling the mystery, along with another law clerk, naturally a pretty blonde who has her own waterside cottage and a handy sailboat. The tension goes on right down to the wire as the characters interact. And while the plot is nifty, Baldacci doesn’t skip on character development. A fun ride of a book.

TV NOTE

I don’t know if NBC considers viewers to have short memories or what, but on weekends now the network will show the same segments several times on different news and morning shows. If newspapers ran the same story for a couple of days they would be laughed out of business. But I guess NBC figures we’re too dumb to notice.

ON THE WEB

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• Contact Sam Bauman at 881-1236 or sbauman@nevadaappeal.com.