(a) the family, of course ♥
(b) the fact that an old family friend was a lawyer (who is, incidentally, now a farmer) in the service for thirteen years, and then in private practice for ten. I went, "♥___♥ Tell me about your time in the service", and it was amazing to hear how different things were two generations ago. He laughingly called himself an old warhorse, but he's seen so much that I do think he can call himself anything he likes :)
(c) the fact that one of his daughters is an anime fan ♥ which discovery caused the both of us to emit hearts at each other, and both of our siblings (who have to put up with anime fans in their houses) to roll their eyes at us and then commiserate loudly with each other over our excited XDXDXDXD-ing
(d) the fact that the anime fan's mommy is also an Orlando Bloom fan. ♥
Returned home after lunch to find that, in a moment of perfect serendipidity, we had intercepted another family friend who, adorable daughter in tow, had come to drop off a Christmas gift. *beams from ear to ear* There is nothing like coming home to surprise visits from people you want to see! ♥ Then met kanekoichi for tea :))))))), and then home for dinner and subsequently, a Christmas movie!
We must be one of the very few families in the world who think it is TOTALLY APPROPRIATE to celebrate Christmas by watching a zombie movie. Alongside the family visits and Christmas lunches and dinners and presents and all that good stuff, really. ;) We had been wanting to watch this for quite a while, except Dad was, "Is it really appropriate to watch this kind of show on Christmas?"
I Am Legend review in one word (or sound effect, rather): AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH - Okay, done now. Also, very pleased at the Emma Thompson (I adore her dearly) cameo! ♥ She plays a researcher who discovers the cure for cancer, only to discover that the cure backfires spectacularly when it turns into the zombie infestation (it's the premise of the movie). Nice explanation which was absent in the book. There was also the introduction of the Moral Concept, which in this one is Lighting Up the Darkness (which I am terribly sorry to say I translated instantly into Japanese and then could not stop thinking about YGO whenever this line got mentioned) - fairly appropriate concept in a movie where zombies are called darkseekers and fear the light.
In brief summation, I think the movie is a vast improvement on the book, but everything else I have to say is: HUGE SPOILERS for both book and movie FROM THE WORD GO
I Am Legend
OH GOD. IT HURT SO MUCH. Kind of in a good way, and a bad way. That said, am happy and largely satisfied with the ending: the movie is a GREAT improvement on the book.
To get the biggest spoilers out of the way:
(1) Robert Neville dies, as he does in the book. But they make it much more meaningful.
(2) The dog dies, as it does in the book. Very annoyed about the dog dying.
Main Differences Between Book and Movie
(1) Zombie Concept
The conception of vampires in the book was quite different from what they had in the movie. In the book, they had social structure, they were largely humans that needed to drink an awful lot of blood. The book!vampires also shared much more in common with the traditional concept of the vampire: garlic is anathema to vampires in the book, so you see book!Neville going around planting and wearing garlic. Book!vampires also retained much more humanity: they were able to speak, converse, form society, start finding ways to live that didn't require human blood and human deaths. By the end of the story the book!vampires had found a way to survive without human blood, and you could really see the seeds of society forming there.
The movie!zombies were essentially feral, rabid monsters. Much freakier for the scream factor, but they lose out on the new vampire society vs. old human society conflict/dynamic that powered the ending of the book (short story, rather).
In the movie you have the same-old, same-old dynamic of the commando!zombie that has powered a fair number of the Hollywood zombie flicks - Land of the Dead and 28 Weeks Later both had the concept of the super-soldier!zombie that led the undead hordes and basically stands in as an undead antagonist for the hero. Usually the biggest, strongest and nastiest zombie, which the hero traditionally goes head-to-head to.
(2) Book!Neville vs Movie!Neville
Quite pleased with the movie's ending despite Neville dying, because they changed the reason for his death. I got so mad at reading the book, because in the book Neville lets himself get killed by the vampires. In the book, he gets captured, and a lovely vampire lady who's been masquerading as his human ally for quite some time tells him that they need him to die so that they can build a new vampire society. So he does. He not-so-willingly lets himself get killed by them. In the book. Thank heavens they changed it in the movie.
In the movie they paint him as a much more human character. He has a wife and kid, both of whom he loses when the evacuation helicopter they were in ends up in a mid-air collision with a haywire helicopter attacked by zombies. They had all this evacuation mayhem happening during Christmas, so in the bleak post-apocalyptic world you see him walking through a world where signs of Christmas are still around - Christmas trees in abandoned houses, festive decorations along the desolate New York streets, that sort of thing.
In the movie, Neville is completely focused on finding a cure. In the movie, he's a Lieutenant-Colonel, a spectacularly resourceful one, whose initial task was to find the cure for the epidemic which the researchers unleashed. After the deaths of his wife and child, you find him wandering New York City, still hellbent on finding the cure. This man has an amazing laboratory at the basement of his house, and he's been trying the cure on infected rats.
Oh, another big difference. Movie!Neville is immune to the virus, and he's using his immunity to try to cure the outbreak. The concept of immunity wasn't in the book. Later, Neville finds other people immune to the virus - Anna, and her son (I think) Ethan, who save him when he goes insane from a nasty chain of events in which his dog gets infected and then he has to kill it.
I think the movie was spectacularly well-done, it is very creepy at points, and it really makes you care for the dog - and then break your heart when he has to kill it. The creepiest moment for me was when he was frantically searching an abandoned house for his dog, and came across a room of nesting zombies. Chills went up my spine.
Neville dies spectacularly when he, Anna and Ethan are cornered in the basement of his house after zombies track them to his place. At the very last second, when he realises that he has found the cure and decides that there is no way out for him, he passes a vial of blood containing the cure to Anna and her son. He then tells them to hide, and then, as per the traditional heroic sacrifice required of all such movies, he takes on the zombies with a hand grenade.
Quite pleased with the change in the ending, because as much as I am D: about the concept of GOING DOWN FIGHTING when there is a SMARTER ALTERNATIVE AVAILABLE, I prefer going down fighting to the passive Neville letting the vampires kill him in the book. Also, in the book, "his" dog was a dog whom he wasn't able to save, rather than his pet. It's quite cute, in the book: he calls his dog Sam, when his dog's name is really Samantha.