Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Undefined Gamer: "The Book of Eli" Review

Spoiler alert: It's The Hunger Games 4.
      This post-apocalyptic blockbuster finds Eli (Denzel Washington), on
the road for no apparent reason, dodging crooks who seek to strip him
of his possessions. Armed with a hefty Machete, Mp3 player (sorry, all
the iPhones got blown up), and some killer shades, Eli is prepared for
      The background if the world is left purposefully ambiguos. All we
know is 30 years ago, some dumbass set off a nuke (Kim-jong un, this
is your future!), after burning every copy of the Bible. Well, save
one, left in Eli's care, who has been faithfully reading and
memorizing the book all of his life. Eli is among the few old enough
to remember life before doomsday. Based off of Eli's age, it seems 30
years ago, he was in his 20s at least, and as he was living in
mid-America at the time of the explosion, it would seem that Eli would
have needed some help from a higher power to survive.
      Fear not, for Eli's survival skills are second to none! In true
Schwarzenegger-style combat, Eli leaves no survivors and is impervious
to bullets (they merely graze him and never hit their mark on purpose,
which given the nature of this movie, seems to be "God's" work).
Eventually, Eli runs into a town ruled by a book-hoarder named
Carnegie (Gary Oldman), who just so happens to be looking for a copy
of the Bible. Why? He thinks it'll allow his town to prosper and grow
into "more towns". Silly, books don't make that happen. Being an
effective leader and finding ways to survive, even prosper make that
happen, but you're free to pour all your efforts into finding one
      Now, let me point out what's bullshit about this quest for the
Bible. Carnegie has access to electricity (Eli was able to recharge his
mp3 player). All he needs is aces to a computer and Internet. Those
satellites up in space aren't going away because someone nuked America.
There is a shit ton load of copies of the Bible on the Internet in
every language under the sun. Carnegie has no excuse for not knowing
this. Like Eli, he has been around since before the explosion (in fact
he looks a little older than Eli). Quite a lot of Buildings are still
intact. Yeah, you'd be able to find at least one working computer,
Where the Wild Things Grew Up
      But excuse me for using logic. What Carnegie does instead is waste
most of his henchmen trying to kill Eli, then when he realizes that
Eli is invincible, tries to bribe him. He even resorts to having his
daughter (or at least his wife's daughter), try to seduce Eli to get
his allegiance (played by Mila Kunis, no doubt). Eli's will does not
waver, and he leaves the next day...
      ...with a hitchhiker. Well, what can I say? It seems Mila Kunis has
a thing for older men...
      On their adventures, not much happens until they stay at the house
of two friendly survivors named Martha and George. Martha and George
are cannibals. Disturbed by this, Eli and Kunis try to leave just when
Carnegie's compadres arrive to serve up a heaping plate of death
Californian style (This takes place miles from the Golden Gate
Bridge). Eli is wounded, and left for dead, Kunis is captured, and
Martha and George's people eating days are done.
      Carnegie gets Eli's Bible, however Kunis soon escapes, Eli
continues onward despite his injuries, and Carnegie's wounds from a
previous sequence turn septic. Kunis hooks up again with Eli, and the
pair head to Alcatraz island, where a group of Internet-oblivious
individuals have been gathering great works of art and literature to
one day re-educate the world about the past that they lost. Eli gains
entry as he has memorized the King James Bible in its entirety, which
is the one thing our Alcatrazians need to accompany the Torah and the
Qu'ran. Eli stays on Alcatraz until he dies, donning a white robe and
shaving his beard and head, patiently reciting the Bible. After it is
completed, new copies of the Bible are printed via the Alcatraz
Printing Press.
      Meanwhile Carnegie finds that Eli's Bible is locked. Once he does
open it, he finds it is written in braille, and the only person that can
read it, his wife, refuses to do so. Dying of his wounds, Carnegie
watches helplessly as his bar (yes, he rules a town from a bar) is
It's such a lovely house.

      The Book of Eli could've been worse. I have to admit I appreciate
the different approach to the whole post-apocalyptic genre (religion
and bombs should not mix), but I have to admit, it could've been
better. It is never really explained why Eli is invincible, or even
how he can get around while being blind (yes, he's blind). The movie
vaguely connects it to God and Christianity, but beyond that no
explanation is given. The acting is fine, and is everything we've come
to expect from a cast of this caliber. Visually the movie is fine,
with its dusty towns and bar scenes giving it a vague western feeling
to it, and the soundtrack (or often lack-of) is standard. The Book of
has interesting ideas but just never seems to develop them as
much as they should've. Still, this was a few hours that I don't regret burning.
The Book of Eli gets 4 and a half stars out of 6.

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