The new I Am Legend Ultimate Collector's Edition box set (three discs now qualifies as a box set, because they put it in a big, fancy box) isn't much more "ultimate" than the previous two-disc release of the film, which we reviewed here, with a few notable (and some not-so-notable) exceptions.
Let's get the repeats out of the way first: We still have the animated comics, the "Cautionary Tale" and "Creating I Am Legend" featurettes, and the alternate version of the film (in other words: all of the extras from last time).
Here's a look at the new goodies:
The first disc in this fancy new set contains the theatrical release of the film, plus one new special feature: commentary with director Frances Lawrence and producer/screenwriter Akiva Goldsman. It's a nice addition, simply for the fact that a commentary should have been included the first time around (they obviously were saving it for this pricey Christmastime release), but it's really nothing that special. It's mostly repeating information in the many featurettes that were in the first set -- and this one.
Disc 2, which contains the alternate version of the film -- with the crazy, zombie-love alternate ending -- also contains two new featurettes, "Making I Am Legend" and "I Am Legend: The Making of Shots." Sound sort of the same? Uh, yes. The second is basically the first one, plus bits of the old featurettes, broken up into shorter featurettes. Each of these two totals about 25 minutes. Also new on Disc 2 are the deleted scenes, and these are worth the admission price. Sure, some of them are without final effects, but if you use your imagination, they're pretty cool. Mostly it's stuff that helps develop Will Smith's character, and if you remember, his acting along throughout almost the entire movie is what kept it compelling. So, more of that is always good. There's optional commentary on the deleted scenes with Lawrence and Goldsman. It's worth watching once, just to find out how they made their cutting/editing decisions.
Disc 3 contains the digital copy of the film.
Finally, much like the recent 300 release, this one comes in a big, slick box with some goodies that only the most ardent fans will love. (And, honestly, have you met that many ardent I Am Legend fans? Me, neither.) There's a pack of six art cards, which aren't even shots from the film; they're just various world cities, supposedly after the devastation that caused Smith to be the last man standing. Pretty boring. Then there's a "hologram lenticular" (read: paper weight), which depicts Smith screaming and jumping toward a zombie. You will spend hours entertaining yourself with this hologram. Oh, wait, not hours. I meant seconds. Enjoy that. The big, fun, glossy book here is mostly just artistic renderings of the destruction in New York, too, which very few actual movie stills (though the shot in the beginning of the book of Smith and his dog in a cornfield near the city is pretty cool-looking). The small case that contains the three discs inside the larger box (making this the aforementioned "box set") is pretty. It's black, shiny, stark, and plain - in a good way. And when you open it up, you get the very cool, "My name is Robert Neville. I am a survivor living in New York City..." radio broadcast from Smith's character in the film. And it's next to a shining sliver of light as Smith walks through a door into destruction, from darkness.
But unless someone plans to spend hours staring at the packaging, you're probably safe sticking with your old DVD. After all, I Am Legend wasn't exactly screaming out for a re-release, but we have it anyway. And if you haven't already purchased it, and you don't mind splurging, this is the set to spring for.