I remember being completely underwhelmed by The Book Of Eli when I first saw the advertisements for it. Maybe I’m just not into post-apocalyptic movies, maybe I’m tired of the ‘last man alive’ type flicks… there just wasn’t much about this movie that grabbed me and made me want to sit down to watch it. But I had a number of people tell me that it was a pretty good movie, so I sat down and gave it a try recently and came away a bit surprised.
Here’s the release details, courtesy of Wikipedia, we’ll jump into my thoughts after the jump. The Book Of Eli was released in theaters January 15, 2010, and hit the rental shelves on Blu-Ray and DVD June 15, 2010. Beware of spoilers!
This is another great example of the star completely carrying the movie. If a lesser actor had played Eli, I would have had zero interest in the movie. And he definitely carried the movie, although Gary Oldman was good, as always, this time playing the bad guy, Carnegie. Denzel Washington plays Eli, a nomad in a post-apocalyptic world, who is charged with delivering his copy of a book, the last remaining Bible, to a safe location on the West Coast of the United States. The history of the post-war world is explained along the way as is the importance of Eli’s task.
Carnegie finds out about the Bible, and the rest of the movie is him chasing Eli attempting to retrieve the book. Throughout the course of the movie, Eli displays some pretty wicked fighting skills, chopping off limbs and cutting people in half with his nifty sword. He always narrowly escapes by out-witting and out-fighting all of Carnegie’s thugs. During the last encounter, Eli escapes again after injuring Carnegie, but is injured himself and loses the Bible… but he carries out his quest nonetheless.
At the end, the crux of the story is finally revealed. AGAIN, BEWARE OF SPOILERS! Skip to Dave’s Quick Hits if you want the end to be a surprise. Eli reaches Alcatraz where Lombardi is located. Lombardi has become the keeper of all knowledge in this new world. Upon entering, Eli removes his glasses for the first time, and we learn that he is blind. He’s made his entire journey through the wilderness on faith and a belief in a cause bigger than him. He then begins to dictate the entire Bible to Lombardi from memory. While all of this is taking place, Carnegie returns to his stomping grounds to open the Bible (which he stole from Eli in their last encounter). Once he opens it, he finds that it is printed in Braille. He realizes that he will die without being able to use this book, and watches his empire fall apart as his men begin to turn on each other and chaos breaks out. Eli also dies at Alcatraz, but he finishes his dictation, and the Bible is copied on the printing press for everyone to read.
This was a much ‘bigger’ story than I expected. The fact that Eli was blind kinda surprised me, and that added a layer to the movie. Overall though it wasn’t necessarily a must see movie, but it’s not a complete waste of time by any means. In other words, if you like Denzel, you’ll probably enjoy the movie.
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Dave’s Quick Hits: Although the storyline wrapped up a bit differently that I thought it would, the overall movie ended up being about what I expected, Denzel was good in this one though, 6 out of 10
Thoughts From The Better Half: This was one of those movies that kept me interested because I wanted to know what it was about right away, too violent for kids but an interesting movie for adults, 5 out of 10
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 47% – It’s certainly uneven, and many viewers will find that its reach exceeds its grasp, but The Book of Eli finds the Hughes brothers injecting some fresh stylish fun into the kind of post-apocalyptic wasteland filmgoers have seen more than enough of lately.