Tonight is the opening night for a film the critics have been raving about for weeks. With the crisp separation of your ticket, the attendant politely directs you to the correct theater. The smell of freshly buttered popcorn permeates the air as you proceed to find your seat among the other patrons. As the opening previews end and the lights begin to dim, the excited whispering surrounding you gradually tapers off. The movie that you have been anticipating for months is about to begin.
Movie theaters have been essential encouragers of social interaction for decades. It is a place where families make memories, couples fall in love, and friends grow closer together. The motion picture industry is a substantial entity in our society’s economic construct. In the year 2013 alone, over one billion movie theater tickets were sold, bringing in a total of about 11 billion dollars in revenue ("Domestic Movie Theatrical Market Summary 1995 to 2014"). Once this impressive statistic is coupled with the individuals that watch movies instantly via Netflix, Hulu, or any other site, the number of people that have access to the vast spectrum of movies in the United States reaches a tremendous level. In order to maintain this massive volume of movie enthusiasts, many directors and producers attempt to mold their movies to appeal to a majority of America’s population. This often translates into the social norms of the time being represented within the films.
Movies are undoubtedly a type of art. Anything that exhibits expression can be classified as artistic, and while it is not always obvious, there are many underlying notions that are conveyed within films. Movies often serve as a pure representation of the society in which they were conceived. Given this connection, one could attempt to compare two completely different time periods based on the movies that were produced in both of these time periods. In 1964, theaters across the country were set to release “The Last Man on Earth”, a science fiction/horror flick based on the novel “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson. The protagonist, Dr. Robert Morgan, is living in a world that has been ravaged by an infectious disease, turning its victims into vampire-like beings. There is not a single healthy human remaining in the area inhabited by the main character, leading him to believe that he is literally the last man on Earth. The movie “I Am Legend”, which debuted in 2007, is a remake of this cult-classic work. While both movies follow the same storyline, there are quite a few disparities between the two.
The first noticeable difference involves the protagonist. The 1964 Dr. Morgan is portrayed by Vincent Price, a Caucasian male, while the African-American actor Will Smith stars as the 2007 Dr. Morgan. This obviously illustrates the leaps and bounds our society has made with civil rights among all races, religions, and creeds. There was certainly a hope in 1964 that racism in America would be dispelled; “The Last Man on...