Monday, March 24, 2008

I Liked It a Lot, But It Still Bugged Me

In my work as a reviewer and perhaps because of all the editing I've done on my own books lately, I find myself reading novels and watching movies or TV shows from a more critical viewpoint than I used to. This doesn't lessen or enhance my enjoyment of something, but it does mean that inconsistences, or logic glitches jump out and stay with me.

The other day, I read an entertaining, well-written book, yet I had to stop and think about two events in the story that didn't make sense. Even after I thought about them, I still couldn't figure out a good reason for events unfolding the way they did. Maybe there was one, but I somehow missed it.

And then, three nights ago, my husband and I rented "I Am Legend" starring Will Smith. The story's a remake of a Charleton Heston movie, which I think was called "The Omega Man". The story's about a man's desperate quest to find a vaccine to cure a man-made virus that has turned people into monsters. The monster part was a bit over the top, but the point of the story was timely and scary. Smith's character is immune to the virus, so he lives alone in New York city with his dog. Every day, he works on finding a cure and sends out a radio message inviting anyone who's alive to meet him at a specific place.

If anyone hasn't seen the movie and wants to, don't read on because I'll probably spoil it for you, but if you have . . .

then please tell me why Smith's character, who can broadcast on so many frequencies, wasn't heard by the human colony surviving in Vermont, which we learn about at the end? And if he was heard, why wouldn't they have come to get him? Vermont's not that far away from New York, right? And here's another thing. The virus infects dogs, turning them into rabid, super-aggressive killers, and yet the monsters seem to have the infected dogs on leashes and well-trained enough not to attack them. How do you even get a leash on a rabid dog, even if you are stronger than your average healthy human? Hmm.

I was also disappointed that Smith's character dies at the end when he didn't really have to. After all, couldn't he have just thrown the grenade on the monsters and escaped into the chute with the woman and boy? I mean, the guy worked so hard to stay alive. On the other hand, given that he discovered the serum and his mission was over, and that everyone he loved was gone, this wasn't a logic glitch, so much as a creative choice.

Having said all that, I really liked this movie, but here I am still thinking about it 3 days later and, as a writer, wishing I could have changed a couple of things, so these points wouldn't quite bug me so much.

Tonight we're taking our son to see College Road Trip. With some movies you don't bother looking for glitches and major plot holes. You just sit back, let the brain relax, and have some fun watching.

excerpts for Fatal Encryption
now available at

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