MEDC 5310 Media & Culture
Term Paper – 7 March 2008
“I Am Legend” – Mirroring Symbolic Religious Culture in America The recent release of the movie “I Am Legend” has triggered chatter across the worldwide blogosphere and in thousands of movie theater lobbies; “This may be Will Smith’s finest hour,” “How completely can one person ruin a script?” “The car was cool.” This writer has previously commented on “I Am Legend” as a cultural statement on ethnicity, citing the anti-racial tendencies of directors, producers and casting directors. The movie could also be analyzed from several cultural viewpoints, such as; the historical context of pandemics in the world; the cultural context of subjects such as human isolation, human/animal relations, anarchy vs. civility, euthanasia, science vs. religion, product placement, the modern gatherer/hunter, and others; or the cultural context of the use of media within media. All these cultural topics would make for interesting analysis, but must be stayed for another time. Neither is it the point of this analysis to discuss whether this movie becomes a blockbuster, a cult classic, or is just another in a long line of remakes. This analysis will discuss the historical context of the novel, similarities between the novel and the movie, and how both the novel and the movie use the culture of religion and God as a framework for cutting out a place in America’s ever-increasing media landscape. In 1954, author Richard Matheson wrote a book that mirrored his times. The times were filled with exciting new technologies that also caused trepidation. People of the United States of America were observing and talking about the new world they were very much a part of. It was a year that held many firsts. The world’s first atomic power station constructed near Moscow, Russia and the launch of the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, the USS Nautilus. The spread of disease was foremost in people’s minds as this was the
Cited: Bloom, Bob. “Movie Review – I Am Legend.” Rotten Tomatoes. December 13, 2007. Riordan,Paul M. “Sci-Fi Masters: Richard Matheson.” Sci-Fi Station. 1999.