OK… I know you’re thinking “What’s with all these action, adventure, dude movies?!?” Well it is TWO guys and A girl. Gina gets kind of overruled sometimes. Anyway, Book Of Eli, our newest movie, is about this guy named Eli (Denzel Washington) and his book. If you have guessed from the previews what the book he carries is, then you’re probably right. If you have no idea after seeing the previews what the book is, you probably should.
In a post-apocalyptic world caused by what everyone refers to as “The Big Flash”, Eli fights his way towards a safe place for the book guided by a higher power. He fights (pretty miraculously) only in self-defense against rouge gangs of thieves looking for water, food, and anything else they can steal from the weak. Traveling west, he wanders into a small town coincidentally headed by Carnegie (wonderfully played by Gary Oldman), a man with hopes set on finding a book that will help him rule the world in his eyes.
There was a lot of really nice things going with this movie from the start; the cinematography emphasizing the feeling of isolation and need for self reliance, the first fight scene silhouetted against a late afternoon sky, and an engaging build up. In fact visually this movie is “awe inspiring”, as the trailer quotes. The story then starts to take a downhill run.
Chad: So what, nobody shoot him? Even with an open shot?
Kevin: No the bullet hit him, it just deflected off his shoulder. Remember, God has his back.
Gina: There was a lot started not making sense, and made it quite unbelievable even in a futuristic fiction sci-fi suspense.
The overdone religious themes morphed into cliché tactics when spliced with the intense martial arts and brutal machete fight scenes. Though the action was stunning, if it’s going to carry the film, you have to let it carry the film. I personally loved the seasoning of spaghetti western and comic book styling, but that is what created slow moving transitions between scenes.
Some of the scene stealers include Oldman, who you can’t help but love to hate for his creatively overdone portrayal as the menacing town overlord. And the cannibalistic Dumbledore with his cute old wife had a short lived but entertaining interlude. Yes I said Dumbledore! Mila Kuniz… stick to comedies.
Now there was this twist that came at the end, almost M. Night Shyamalan style which means half of you will probably hate it, that in my opinion really enlightens the climax of the film. I really wish that I can say something about it but it will spoil the movie’s end. You know what, screw it! We’re gonna print it!
::SPOILER ALERT – DON”T READ FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED WHEN YOU WATCH BOOK OF ELI::
There, now that you’ve been properly warned, you can’t get mad. He’s freaking blind! Yeah, that’s right… the book was braile! We were torn on this one. Gina and I picked up on this from the beginning, however, Chad didn’t. I really liked this detour in plot, but Gina and Chad didn’t.
Chad: How can he fight off five guys or shoot a bird out of the air mid flight in one shot?
Kevin: He has lived like that for 30 years; he’s learned to use his other senses. His smelling the robbers in the trap set-up was classic!
Gina: I found it slow, unbelievable, the ending rather disappointing, and there was a lot that didn’t make sense. The twist wasn’t really a twist cause if you pay attention you’ll figure it out. I give it 4 of 10 stars.
Chad: I also thought is was too slow and RIDONCULOUSLY unbelievable. There were too many subtle things that Eli did that were pretty far fetched; I can take even the best blind martial artist! The twist just made it more disappointing. I give it 2.5 of 5 beers.
Kevin: I was a little more into the plot and twist, and really liked the visual aspects throughout the entire film making it feel so desolately beautiful. I think it should’ve focused either more towards the religious themes or the action spectaculars. I’m giving it a 7 of 10 stars mostly due to the cinematography and Oldman’s performance.
Our combined rating comes to 6 of 10 stars.And if you do the math, yes I did round up in my favor this time because I can!