Thoughts on 'The Book of Eli' . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Possibly a matinee ticket, but then again, a rental would be just fine.

Will I Own It On DVD: No. One time was enough for this one . . .

Overrall Grade: C+

1) I'm just plain tired of post-apocalyptic movies. Earth is always a wasteland, a colorless, perilious world where the lucky ones have already died and everyone else is struggling to get by as evidenced in 'Terminator: Salvation,' 'The Road' and now 'Book of Eli.' Why I've seen all these movies is another matter entirely . . .

2) 'Eli' features the afore-mentioned wasteland, and boasts Denzel Washington as the lead character, a man wandering alone carrying the only edition of the King James Bible left in the world. In this brave new world, reading is a luxury as most of the population has never learned how except for the older citizens, who still recongize the power of the written word.

Gary Oldman is one of those people. He runs a small desert town, and devotes his focus entirely to finding the rumored Bible because he believes the words inside will give him even greater power over the people left in the world.

3) The cast is what elevates 'Eli' into a project worth watching. Washington is as good as he always is as the loner who must carry the Bible west because that's what a voice told him to do. Oldman is also a worthy antagonist, although I prefer my Oldman acting in his gonzo, bat-shit crazy mode of 'The Professional,' and here, he is a bit more restrained.

4) The cinematography in the film is the other interesting aspect as the Hughes Brothers ('From Hell,'Menace 2 Society') give it a gray and washed-out appearance that makes great use of the desert landscape where most of the action occurs. There are also a couple of nicely choregraphed fight scenes as well.

5) Overrall, 'Eli'is a solid film that is elevated by its cast, notably Washington in the lead role. But at the end of the day, it doesn't add anything new to this post-apocalyptic genre, and so the decision to see it should be largely based on whether that depressed world sounds appealing to you.



  1. wigsf Says:
  2. This is odd. I don't think I've ever seen a movie before you reviewed it. Weird.
    I thought the movie was crap. I thought the surprise ending of Denzel being blind was very poorly done. If he's blind, why did he use a light to read brail?
    And that scene at the end when Mila Kunis walks off looking all bad-ass. Gimme a break. She couldn't play bad-ass if she was being spanked...

    Ah, Mila Kunis being spanked.

    But back to this crappy film. I disagree about the fight scenes. I thought they were poorly choreographed. The first one was done all in shadows, the second one was the same as the first, only with some light. The gunfight at the old couple house, gimme a break. They blowed the fuck outta that house and it didn't fall down.

    And seeing as how he memorized the book, why did he need to save it? He coulda just went west without the book.

    And Gary Oldman is starting to look like he did in the Dracula makeup, except, now he doesn't need the makeup. He just old.

  3. JLee Says:
  4. I am also tired of the apocalypse movies and didn't see "2012" for that reason. I do like Washington and Oldman though, so will maybe rent it a rainy afternoon...

  5. Heff Says:
  6. I'll probably skip this one altogether, but I must admit that Gary Oldman is ONE HELL of an actor.

  7. TROLL Y2K Says:
  8. Bummer. Gary Oldman's about the only living actor with talent. Shame Hollyweird can't make a film worthy of his presence.

    Yeah, he was GREAT in "The Professional" but I like his more restrained "Romeo is Bleeding" type work too.

  9. WIGSF - That is strange, but those are largely valid points, especially the one about Kunis. Seriously, that is flat-out ridiculous with her at the end and I busted out laughing in the theater (luckily there were only 3 other people at the showing). The fight scenes I liked just fine because I didn't need to see the spewing blood and they ahdered to the color/grain of the film as it was shot. I just thought they looked cool. But yeah, overrall, it wasn't a particularly good movie, but I thought Washington made it watchable.

    Jlee - I didn't catch '2012' either. I might, might, rent it, although it looked pretty bad to me. This one would be OK to catch on cable some rainy Sunday . . .

    Heff - Agreed. You're not missing much w/ 'Eli' and Oldman is a hell of an actor.

    Troll Y2K - Man, I hadn't thought about 'Romeo' in awhile. Excellent flick. I need to re-watch that one as I remember digging Lena Olin in it too.

  10. nobich Says:
  11. Well I had no desire to see this
    (and good thing since WIGSF told us all about the surprise endings etc...) but thanks again for the review

  12. Boxer Says:
  13. 2012 was bad, but flashy, if that makes sense. And about 30 minutes too long. As for "Eli" I rarely see these movies, but it's always good to see Gary Oldman. He's becoming a character actor, whichi is good and bad (mostly bad for his career.) I always enjoy your reviews however and really enjoyed wigsf's input also. Makes for a good read this morning!

  14. boneman Says:
  15. I'll trust you and rent it, then.

    Does music play in the background? Dancers? K9 said something about men in pink tutus...That isn't in this movie, is it?
    5th Element.
    Like a quiet genious type of Malkovich...say in, (Put the bunny back in the box...)CON AIR with Nicolas Cage, Colm Meaney (danged corvette FLYING into the air!)

  16. Nobich - No problem, and yeah, sorry you read the spoiler ending. :) It's a very mediocre movie.

    Boxer - That does make sense. I'm considering putting it into my Netflix queque with very, very low expectations. Ha. Glad you enjoyed the give and take, and I also like Oldman as he's always interesting in whatever role (character, lead) that he takes.

    Boneman - Thanks and hopefully that will be the right call. That being said, I paid only $5 to see this one at an early a.m. matinee, which was worth it since a rental will set you back nearly as much. Nice 'Con Air' quote too . . . and wasn't Meaney seriously out-of-whack angry in that film? I mean, irrationally angry? Ha. And finally, I own 'Element' on DVD & man does Oldman have a bad haircut in that one.

  17. Gypsy Says:
  18. Just dropping by to say hi B and that I've been missing QHF. I have just caught up on the posts I hadn't read yet and will be here on time tomorrow....hopefully.

    In regards to this movie, I've never heard of it and doubt if I will see it as I definitely don't do depressing. I'm a comedy kind of gal :)

  19. Miss Ash Says:
  20. I'm not the least bit interested in this one....though I'd like to see Shutter that one :)

  21. This looked like a movie that was written for Will Smith. I'll wait until it's out on DVD.

  22. 單存 Says:
  23. very popular to u!..............................

  24. Gypsy - Great to see you back from hiatus and QHF is up! You can skip 'Eli' as it's nothing special.

    Miss Ash - You read my mind - I think I'm going to see 'Island' this weekend, so watch for the review next week . . .

    Native Minnow - Easily could have been a Smith vehicle. It would be a fine rental if you keep your expectations low and are in the mood for this kind of genre.

    *&*&* - Sorry, can't replicate the symbols, but thanks for the comment.

  25. this doesn't seem like something that I'd see unless it was free. But your review was good. :) (better late than never, eh?)


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