Just wanted to say I'm glad you bit the bullet and grabbed I Am Legend in book form rather than save it for after the movie - its one of my favourites, and Richard Matheson quickly became one of my favourite authors (despite how hard it is to find his work), he's like the pre-Stephen King. I agree a little about the pacing but I think it really built the sense that this endless repetition was all the last man on Earth had, trapped as he was in the one place he knew he could defend.
Anyway, two points -
You've got exactly the same view on what the movie needs that I have - vampires, the myth of Neville the monster, and of course - Coreman. I need to hear that "NEVILLE! COME OUT NEVILLE!" at least three times in the movie. And as a foreigner, I do prefer Manhattan as a setting too. It explains why Neville never made a break for the countryside (I know it'd be too dangerous in LA but still, he'd probably go for it), and of course I'm far more familar with it.
Avoid Omega Man; Its truly terrible:
-They're not vampires, the disease makes you a goth with an aversion to any technology or science, some kind of religious-caveman disease that eventually kills you. One man with a gun vs a bunch of refugees from the middle ages. Theres not even that many of them really... Plus, what kind of disease just makes you join a cult? Stupid.
-Neville is, in this position, the last defender of civilisation, sitting in a fancy penthouse suite surrounded by great works of art and science that these diseased savages would destroy. It sort of works as the 'legend' theme, but mostly makes you think of some ponce with a gun who isnt bright enough to simply move out of the city. And definitely, Heston doesnt pull off the scientist feel.
-Other survivors are archetypical young punks, hippy rebels, your usual 70's rubbish. They have the power to annoy, and make a mockery of his isolation.
On its good points though, the opening is pretty good - Neville driving full speed through deserted LA, pausing only to start shooting at something that moves behind a window....and thats it.
Don't know if anyone heard, but in the latest issue of Empire (UK film mag), it was revealed that they're not technically vampires but people who "have to eat all the time"... so nocturnal zombies I guess. Not sure if they'll look all messed up or not, but I'm guessin the detail of having the two different types - the dead infected and the living infected - will be beyond the movie.
Heres hoping its not Big Willied to death.
Whats next for Joe loves books? You ever read the Dark Materials series, or are you just gonna catch the big screen versions? I was just at the age to catch them whilst I was in school, and I thought they were incredible books to be aimed at a young audience. They really dont patronise you at all.