Updated: Sep 6
At the start of this week, I evaluated my feedback on the project so far. Overall I believe the project is in a good place. There is an issue with my question and I am aware it needs refinement. The difficulty is that keeping the project as open as possible during the discovery phase, I expect the question to evolve as I start to define where it needs to lead.
I have collected some participants for the two areas of primary research I will be conducting. As I question the direction I suspect one area may become redundant during this phase.
Also, the design output is still in the air. I am starting to consider different options as I hear my feedback.
for the purpose of this entry I am focusing on the alternative ending version of this film. This is because I believe will help with further insights intended for this project.
This weeks film was I am legend, I wanted this film on my list as it represents the concept of zombies as still living. This contradicts Dr Dales, Zombie dictionary, which states it will only consider zombies to only be undead (Seslick and Knight, 2010, p.10).
The film follows Robert Neville (played by Will Smith) and army officer based in New York, who is presumed to by the only survivor of an outbreak three years after scientist thought they had discvered a cure for cancer.
His journey starts off with his monatonus routine, of excercise, collecting supplies, signalling to any survivors in the city and live streaming experiments to find the cure to this illness. He did most of this with his only companion, his dog, Samamtha (Sam). Its very clear early on that the lack of human contact has made an impact to his mental health, as we see him start to bond relationships with mannaquins. One can only assume he had started placing these around his regular places he collected supplies as we see them in random places, such as video shops. This seems to suggest he had started forming bonds with these dressed pieces of fibreglass to maintain some normality in his routine.
We start to understand more of Nevilles character, through a series of flashbacks where the outbreak has just started and he tries to get his wife and daughter out of the city, which actually results in their deaths. His wife pleading with him to also come with them, but refusing based on the idea, it is his city to look after, he needs to find the cure and, overall, his responsibility.
Although, not explained why, we discover that Neville is immune from the virus. We also learn that animals are immune from the airborm strain of it. Animals, however can still contract the virus, through being bitten. As Neville is immune he is conducting tests on animals to see if he can provide a cure. We see one of his rat subjects seems to be responding well to a varient of the cure, which encourages him to capture a human subject. Through laying a trap he captures a female subject, which sparks a male to expose himself to daylight (this seems to be a side effect of the virus that they can only come out at night). Neville reports this action and states he believes that brain activity is almost non-existant.
This aquision of a female subject, sets the tone of the second act where, on his daily patrol around the city, finds one of his manniquins outside of a building. He questions why Fred, the manniquin is outside the building. This is a real test of his sanity, has he started to believe Fred is now alive? He starts to shoot a Fred, eventially destroying him. A moment after, he now suspects a trap and looks up and building expecting someone to be there, as he occupies his mind with that, he fails to suspect a trap, similar to the one he layed earlier, has being set for him. With this the trap is sprung and he bangs his haed knocking him out. On awaking, to the sound of Sam barking, Nevilles foot is tied to a rope hanging int the air. He does have a knife handy, and after a struggle releases himself. Unfortunately on his fall the knife enters his leg. He know has limited time to get back to the car to return to saftey. As the sun goes down, we are introduced to zombie dogs, which run to attack him and Sam. Although He and Sam do fight the dogs off, Sam is biten.
Rushing back to the house, where the lab is, Neville gives sam, what he believes is the antidote. It does not work and she turns as hes holding her, the hold turns to strangulation as he kills, what is at this point his only friend. The expression from Neville in this moment is one of extreme pain. After this, Neville takes himself down a reckless path to punish the Zombies. Where he starts driving over them in an attempt to kill as many as possible. It is clear that he has lost all care for his own well-being. The car is eventually turned over and we are to expect his demise soon. However, a bright light from a flare scares off the zombies and he is rescued.
At this point, it is worth discussing the emotional struggle of Neville. He has made himself responisble for the situation, it not explained if he was a creator of the diesease and he never being associated with it. In terms of pharmasuticles, this is a private entity and one must assume a scientist working for the army would most likely not have involment. This responsibility, likely has been percieved through a protector achitype for the character.
what is more interesting is experienceing the lonliness of the character. His only friend is his dog and he has conversations with people and being ignored. Are the manniquins a representation of what many experience in everyday life, especially in a city where people are likely must colder to strangers. I myself, from experience have found it more difficult to seek people willing to help me with directions in London compared to when in small towns. This means his only source of companionship is with Sam, something in modern society we would mock with terms like 'crazy cat lady', not willing to wanting to be friends with these people. This is why the scene with Sam is more heartbreaking as we know that Neville will now be completley alone.
The story continues with Neville being introduced to Anna and Ethan, the people who saved him. Anna has stitched up his leg. However Neville is upset over Anna making Ethan powdered eggs. He explains he was saving it, SImilar to in Zombieland where Talahassy is in search of a twinkie. In a post-apocalyptic world simply everyday items would certainly become the treats.
The story continues with Neville, Anna and Ethan going around the city, Neville questioning how he was captured, claiming it must have been through "Human" intervention. as we enter the final act, we see the zombies raid Nevilles house. The combinates in the three of them hiding in the lab, where the zombie test subject seems to be responding to the treatment. As the three enter the room they manage to hide behind some glass doors as the zombies enter. The zombie that had exposed himself to sunlight earlier leads a charge to getting to the tree. This is where Neville realises that the zombies only wanted the captive woman. Neville asks Anna to open the door, she asks why, where he responds "I'm listening" .With the woman reunited with the pack the film ends.
The reason for wanting to anaylis the alternative ending was for this final scene. Part of Nevilles journey was not seeing the zombies as sentient. His narrative was these people needed curing and some of the search of the cure, resulted in others dying every time he got a test subject, earlier in the film Anna asked while looking at all the photos of the subjects if they all died, Neville coldly answered yes in a quite dismissive tone. The later realisation of reuniting the woman was an apitheny that they are in fact sentient and still feel. What I like about this scenario is that we can form an arguement to if its ethically right to abuse or dispose of zombies.