Monday, May 16, 2011

The Book of Eli (2010)

The Book of Eli (2010)
Rated R
Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis
Directed by: The Hughes Brothers
Tag line: Religion is power.
Running time: 118 Minutes
Watched: Blu-ray

Quick summary: The Book of Eli takes place 30 years after a nuclear holocaust leaves America as a barren wasteland. Eli, a loner, wanders across America, heading west. In his possession, he carries a sacred book that he guards closely. When Eli wanders into a village run by Carnegie, a powerful mobster, he is pressured into joining Carnegie’s gang. He declines, and continues his journey west. While attempting to persuade Eli to stay, Carnegie learns of the book he has, and becomes obsessed with obtaining it.

Denzel Washington is awesome. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. If Denzel is in it, chances are I am going to see it. I may not see it in the theater, but I will certainly watch it at some point. So it was just a matter of time before The Book of Eli came up on my Netflix queue. Add in the fact that it’s a post-apocalyptic movie, and even better.

There is something about post-apocalyptic movies that people are just drawn to. I am not sure what it is about them, but they keep making the movies and people keep seeing them. I guess it’s because there is a vague possibility that it could happen in some way, and people are genuinely scared of that, or are at least intrigued by it. They all tend to be very similar as far as the beginning. The cataclysmic event that leads to the wasteland. It can be a devastating, incurable virus that wipes out millions, or a nuclear war that destroys most of the world, but it is always based on something that is a very real and usually very scary possibility.

The Book of Eli takes the post-apocalyptic story and tweaks it with a pretty original twist, I thought. They very easily could have focused on cannibalism or some other extreme aspect of the post-apocalypse, but instead they focused on a single man and a book. It was refreshing.

Denzel Washington was pretty solid as Eli. He came across as a dark, mysterious and tortured man. He was also able to pull of some pretty awesome action sequences and fight scenes, which was pretty impressive. Gary Oldman was awesome as Carnegie. He was just the right amount of over-the-top crazy and obsessed. I was again surprised by Mila Kunis; she is more than capable of actually acting, and not just being ditzy or funny. I like it.

Was it the best post-apocalyptic movie? No, I don’t think that it was, as there are a lot of really good movies in that genre. But it was a pretty good flick and I liked it.

But, was it better than Avatar? Well, according to the box office, it was not, as it finished second to Avatar during its opening weekend. But the box office has never been a valid indicator of how good or bad a movie is. The Book of Eli was, in fact, better than Avatar.

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