A Tubby Tabby, Three Konekos, and a Life with Hello Kitty and Autism

Family Movie Night

Movies, Kitty, and Me

Movies at the cinema are a rarity in our family life. For one, Alphonse never learned to enjoy movies in a darkened movie theater. The first and last time we brought him to a theater for a screening of Mulan, he started crying as soon as the lights were turned low. A had to bring him out and distract him with other enticements, as his crying grew louder and louder. Then too, the cost of tickets and munch food for four of us and two or three nannies (for Alphonse) can be more prohibitive than an original DVD (I’m with you there, MegaMom!). And lastly, my aching back does not appreciate the contours of theater seats as even the reclining ones offer little comfort. As a result, we watch movies at home, often on a daily basis, with the last one being last night’s Jodie Foster-starrer The Brave One. Once in a while, however, the wait for a movie’s official release on DVD can seem interminably long. Sometimes, you just have to brave the lines and bear the non-orthopedic seats to get immediate gratification. Such a must-see movie beckons only every so often, and we are always cognizant of its call.

One such movie is I Am Legend, which we watched at the Eastwood Cinemas last January 11. (The one before that was Harry Potter, seen at the IMAX theater of the Mall of Asia sometime late last year, and the one before that was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, seen at the Shangri-la Cinemas in June of last year.)

I’ve always been partial to Will Smith movies (I still tear up when I watch Independence Day, boo-hoo!) and in fact, I think I was the one who suggested watching it that night. We took a late show to make sure Alphonse was asleep then and had a relative help the nannies watch over him lest he woke up during the few hours we were gone. Fortunately, that night, while he did wake up a few times, he promptly went back to sleep without any fuss. Sometimes, the planets just align themselves perfectly and you just got to grab at this gift and be grateful.

 Yoohoo! Ah, but, as usual, I digress. I Am Legend is a movie based on the 1954 sci-fi novel of the same title written by Richard Matheson. It is actually the third film interpretation of the novel, starting with The Last Man on Earth in 1964 and The Omega Man in 1971. While the original story sets the last man alive in Los Angeles, California in the years 1976-1979, this recent reincarnation of the novel relocated the setting to New York City in the year 2012. Again, there have been minor changes made from the book to the movie, but none of them distracts from the basic premise: a plague (a bacterial pandemic in the book and a man-made viral mutation in the recent movie) devastates human population and creates a group of survivors who exhibit the traits of vampirism.

I am Legend

In the year 2012, cancer is a thing of the past, thanks to a re-engineered measles virus that had a cure rate of 100%. Within a few months, however, the patients started dying and what was touted as the final cure for cancer became a final solution to mankind. Ninety percent of the population died; nine percent became infected and mutated into “vampires” (although the movie makes no use of this direct reference). The remaining one percent of population who were immune became hunted as food. US Army virologist Robert Neville (Will Smith) remains in ground zero (NYC) to search for the cure. The movie takes off from this, showing Neville’s daily grind as NYC’s sole survivor. The action scenes come from his maddening interactions with the “Dark Seekers” and they are indeed heart-stopping. Yet, I like to think of I Am legend also as a story of spiritual redemption. (See dialogue below to get an idea of what I mean.) Without going into the details, allow me to say that while I would have wished for a different ending, I am heartened by the message of hope and faith in the film. After all, in this transient world, all we really have are hope and faith.

Anna: The world is quieter now. We just have to listen. If we listen, we can hear God’s plan.
Neville: God’s plan.
Anna: Yeah.
Neville: All right, let me tell you about your “God’s plan”. Six billion people on Earth when the infection hit. KV had a ninety-percent kill rate, that’s five point four billion people dead. Crashed and bled out. Dead. Less than one-percent immunity. That left twelve million healthy people, like you, me, and Ethan. The other five hundred and eighty-eight million turned into y