Endings

One movie (or should I say, two movies) that I've been watching obsessively lately is (are) the superb apocalyptic thriller(s), 'I Am Legend'. When I saw the original theatrical release, I was left impressed - but slightly cold - at the bleak concluding dichotomous vision of an unredeemable humanity infected by rage, and a minority hiding behind a giant wall holding onto a potentially vain hope of survival guided by God and guns. However, thanks to double-disc special edition box sets, I saw an alternate version (vision?) of the movie. All it took was three minutes of an alternate ending and every scene in that movie meant something different. It was more hopeful, and at the same time, less hopeful. I liked it better, although something about it made me like it less. If you've seen both versions, you'll know what I'm talking about. I still don't know which I prefer, but what I do know is that each says something completely different because of those very different conclusions. Endings, like punchlines, are important. They can retroactivate meaning throughout an entire narrative; so you've got to think about how you end. It can mean the difference between making sense and not making enough sense, communicating or confusing for the sake of it; perhaps even between dying and really living.


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