Bringing a film to a satisfying and wholly conclusive end is an expectantly hard thing to do. Often the ending is the make or break aspect of a film, deciding whether it be given cult-film status or forgotten in the sands of time. There is no greater an emphasis on the culminating minutes of a film than with the wildly expansive and inventive genre of science fiction. It is, after all, a genre most heavily invested in questions.
Behemoth cities, distant planets, apocalyptic landscapes, alien invasions and the deadliest of weapons are all common attributes that run through the veins of sci-fi. It is a genre often limited only by the imagination of the team behind it – as well as the capabilities of the budget needed to realise it.
Yet too often imagination falters at the last hurdle or shoots too far off-base and we end up with an ending that messes everything before it up...
10. I Am Legend - Robert Neville’s Sacrifice
Towering buildings lay host to vampiric, zombie-esque infected, eager to roam the streets at night in this quiet and thoughtful post-apocalyptic drama. Focusing on the effects of isolation on Will Smith’s virologist Robert Neville, I Am Legend brought audiences to tears, whilst delivering a hauntingly beautiful vision of the overgrown and quiet streets of Manhattan. However, approaching its conclusion, melancholy is replaced with an action-heavy, cliched and uninspired ending.
After capturing one of the infected, Neville begins experimenting, hoping to finally find a cure. However, through a series of events involving a failed suicide attempt and a last-minute rescue from a mother and son, the infected have found their way into Neville’s fortified home, fighting to take back their own. After discovering that his blood holds the key to the cure, Neville, safely stows away mother, Anna and son, Ethan with a vial of his blood, before taking out the infected in an explosive sacrifice.
Not only did the ending feel clichéd, it took major steps away from the far superior ending delivered in the Richard Matheson book it was adapted from, which revealed that the creatures were a sentient species. However, this adaptation seemed unconcerned with this approach – despite hinting at it throughout – and took the legendary aspect of I Am Legend out of an otherwise excellent film.