Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Book of Eli - The Lord Maketh and it was Bad

Denzel Washington has a long and accomplished career. He’s played everything from Denzel Washington to Denzel Washington and in Book of Eli he plays…Wait for it, Post apocalyptic Denzel Washington. Look Denzel is a fine actor, but frankly he plays the same thing in everything he does and Book of Eli is no different. It really seems like the Hughes brothers wasted the entire budget on this star studded cast. If book of Eli has anything, it’s an amazing cast. Starting with Denzel as Eli you also have Milas kunis as Solara, Gary Oldman as Carnegie, Tom Waits (whom I happen to be listening to as I write this, coincidence only I swear), Jennifer Beal, ray Stevenson (whom I loved in the most recent punisher film and who is much bigger than I expected he looks like a giant next to Oldman) and with a great little cameo by Albus Dumbledore himself, Mr Michael Gambon (an esteemed and amazing actor in his own right). Now look at that cast and tell me this doesn’t seem like the kind of movie you’d want to see. Well that’s how I got suckered in too.

Who wouldn't be suckered in to seeing a film with Gary Oldman? He's awesome!

Book of Eli follows the story of our titular hero as he wanders the countryside looking for the perfect place to deliver a book he keeps in his backpack. He gets caught up along the way in a small town run by Carnegie and his men. Carnegie is learned man and is looking for a particular book that will help him have better control over the masses; he has great aspirations to rule. Needless to say the book he’s looking for just happens to be the one Eli is carrying and once he makes this discovery goes to great lengths to get it. The story itself is the weakest part of the film. It’s kinda irritating when the cast brings their all and does a really good job with the material they’re given, but frankly it’s the material that brings the film down the most. The only saving grace (pun intended) is the action sequences, all 7 ½ minutes of them. The action, while it taking place is crisp and well edited with quick snappy camera work that would have great if it appeared more in the rest of the film. Sadly just not enough of the film is good enough to make it worth watching. In all seriousness if I was alone watching this, I’d have walked out. The other main offender in this film is the pacing. It's glacial. Imagine, if you will, you're traveling on foot across the country. You stop at every flower and smell it. You take three naps a day and maybe cover 1/4 mile a day. Now imagine that you're doing all this in an outfit made entirely out of fiberglass insulation. That's a pretty good comparison to what it's like watching Book of Eli.

I had gotten used to seeing Michael Gambon with the beard

I wasn’t going to go into this because I didn’t want people to think my personal opinion played any major role in my dislike of this film, but it’s just too big of an aspect to be ignored. There is a major religious undertone to the film that absolutely didn’t need to be there aside from giving the movie its title. It’s an unnecessary addition that might have actually meant something better had Eli been carrying a science text book instead of a King James Bible. The story goes that once the worlds ended everyone blamed religion and for some reason only the bibles were collected and destroyed? Why not the Qur’an or the Torah? It just makes no sense when you get down to it and it’s this lack of logic in the story that really infuriated me. I mean, I get it and totally understand why it was important for him to be carrying a bible and the message of faith that the movie delivers especially with the “twist” at the end (a twist that if you don’t have it figured out by the second action scene I’d be surprised). I do have to admit that my personal opinion on this matter did aid in my lack of enjoyment in this one aspect of the film, I just thought it was frivolous. I guess my point is, had this been a 5 star film, my personal opinions may have made me give it a 4, but this was already a pile of post apocalyptic dung to begin with. My thoughts and prayers go out to the cast that they might be able to bounce back from this steamy mess. Amen.

1 “Twist” out of 5

Next Up: Fanboys – my expectations aren’t much better for this one.

P.S. do you think the “Amen” at the end was too much? I don’t either.

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