A lone hero walks in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that was once America. He heads west on a mission he does not fully understand but knows he must complete. In his possession is the last copy of a book he fiercely guards with his life for it holds the only hope for the future. Only Carnegie, a self-appointed warlord ruling a town of thieves and gunmen, understands the power Eli holds and is determined to make it his own. But nothing can stand in Eli's way to fulfill his destiny and bring help to a ravaged humanity.
We all know that there is nothing chirpy when it comes to the end of the world, and the idea of a post apocalyptic world is one full of gloom and darkness. We would probably never experience such a landscape (you wouldn’t want to anyway), but we have certainly seen countless movies depicting this murky backdrop. So when this Hughes Brothers directed flick comes along, we aren’t particularly excited. Well, maybe other than the fact that it stars the ever so cool Denzel Washington.
Washington plays Eli, a wanderer who has been traveling the wastelands for the past 30 years. You’d think 30 years is a long time. Yes, and that’s why the cool dude (in shades, nonetheless) reads a book that he brings along with him. He soon reaches a village ruled by a mobster and he tries to convince him to join his gang. Somewhere, somehow, the book becomes the centre of attraction and our hero has to protect the book with his life. This mission becomes the main plot for this action movie.
There is nothing really new when it comes to the visualisation of the post apocalyptic world in this 117 minute movie. You see the familiar grayish brown wastelands populated by some really violent folks (you have to forgive them because there isn’t much of a society to talk about after what happened to the world). You see the dust and sand in the air, making the world a really dismal place. And there isn’t much joy and laughter around, but we understand because there really isn’t much to be happy about in the situation.
And so it is with this backdrop our hero struts from place to place protecting the book in his hand. Initially, it is a rather intriguing idea – what significance does the book have? The symbolism and religious references are especially interesting to note. But as the movie moves on, you somehow get engrossed in the occasional impressive action sequences, and begin losing track of the plot that drew you in earlier. This isn’t a bad thing though, considering how some viewers may just be looking for wham bam action in their choice of movies.
It also helps that Washington is as suave as ever, making him the ideal man for every growing boy. He is an Oscar winner, and he’s got some serious credentials you don’t want to mess around with. His performance is complemented by the ever dependable Gary Oldman, who takes on the role of the antagonist.
If this is the post apocalyptic world in store for us, we really won’t mind – simply because everything is sleek and cool. For some, that is something that is probably unachievable for the entire lifetime. Thanks to movies like this, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to walk around looking stylistically unruffled, and be prepared if the day ever comes.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Blu Ray Disc contains quite a bit of substantial extra features. Eli’s Journey is an 18 minute featurette which has the filmmakers talking about the post apocalyptic world they created. They talk about how this look is different from other movies – hmm, really? The Lost Tales – Billy is a five minute animated short which features the baddie in his earlier days. The 13 minute Starting Over is an interesting documentary which explores how human beings would survive after the world ends while weaving in the themes of the film. A very unique featurette in the palette is the five minute The Book of Eli Soundtrack where composer Atticus Ross discusses the music style employed with co director Allen Hughes. Included in this section are also four Deleted Scenes and Trailers like Legion and The Taking of Pelham 123. The Survival Guide Mode allows you to watch the movie by getting picture in picture, storyboard and focus point comparison – something you may want to explore on second viewing.
The visual transfer for the movie is perfect – the sharpness is amazing, which makes the viewing experience totally enjoyable. The powerful audio track is available in English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1, Portuguese 5.1 DTS HD Audio, Czech, Hungarian and Thai 5.1.
by John Li
Posted on 17 July 2010