rating: 5 of 5 stars
I made sure to give myself some time between seeing the film version and reading the book (I always prefer to see the movie first; novels always add to the story and usually improve upon it). I’m glad I waited. The two versions are similar in many ways, but the characters are different: regular white guy in the book v. hyper-intelligent black guy in the movie. The nature of the vampires is different: classic conception of the vampire v. zombie-like, demythologized superfreaks. The setting is different: suburban L.A. v. Manhattan. So, OK, maybe they’re not similar beyond the basic premise.
Anyway, the book was more satisfying with its take on the “science” of vampirism, and the ending was more honest and creative. (The movie ended the way you think the book is going to end but doesn’t.)
What the movie does surprisingly well (and this is a testament to Will Smith as an actor) is capture the arc of emotions Neville experiences in his horrific situation. The book takes you there, too, but reading it makes Smith’s performance all the more impressive.
Well. I didn’t expect to be reviewing the film here, as well, but there you go.