Blech of Eli


So, I watched my very first post-apocalyptic movie on Friday. It was called The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman. It also had a very bit role by Malcolm McDowell and Jennifer Beals, she of long-forgotten Flashdance fame. (She’s not changed as much as I expected, frankly.)

The basic premise is, the world has come to a grinding halt at some point in the past (we learn later in the movie it was something like 30 years previous). A wandering Road Warrior-type man (Denzel Washington) is traveling west (he says this repeatedly) with his sunglasses to deliver something. It’s a book – the last of its kind, actually. (For those of you enamored of the gatekeeper system, here you go – how can it not be the best and necessary way, when the movies show print books?! I mean, ebooks aren’t going to survive the apocalypse!). It’s a King James Bible.

Well, there are many obstacles to overcome on the way from the east to the west. And for 30 years this poor devil has been wandering the barren wastes of the former United States in search of his mystical destination. (By the way, why hasn’t some form of government formed after three decades? Even tribal societies have governing structure. Gimme a break. Matter of fact, if you put two people together for any given amount of time, one of them will become a leader and the other a follower. So wtf?) Yes, you read that right: It’s taken him 30 years to cross the United States. And no, he’s not lost. He even says that.

I still say, with Bugs Bunny’s voice, he should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque.

The movie follows Eli (Washington) as he encounters all the riff-raff the road has to offer. And there are, of course, ONLY unsavory types left. No one of decent character would survive the apocalypse. And certainly people wouldn’t band together to help and protect one another. No. That’s never happened, so why would it happen now?

Gary Oldman’s character is seeking any surviving Bible. That’s right, he happens, just so happens, to be looking for the exact book our wandering anti-hero just so happens to be carrying. And of course, the asking politely ploy won’t work. No, Eli’s on a mission. A mission from God. I don’t think that was in this movie as dialog, but I know I’ve heard some guy in sunglasses say that in a movie at some point. Hm.

There are lots of establishing scenes, and Denzel is a polite killer, so it’s okay. He can be both brutal and soft-spoken, so all’s well. You know you can trust him that way.

God is protecting Eli, too. So cannibals can’t capture and eat him, bullets don’t hit him (until the end, anyway), and the sun only shines clearly in a blue sky where he’s going. There’s a sidekick too, and she’s already killing people before her eighteenth birthday. With shoe laces, no less. No one had to teach her that. You just grow up knowing it after the apocalypse.

You know what else you just know? How to drive. Yeah, you can climb behind the wheel of a vehicle and just… take off. No problem. No starts and stops and squeaks and jerks while you learn to brake and accelerate. Nope, in the post-apocalyptic world, you can just drive away smooth as single-malt Irish whiskey.

Also, you just know how to row a boat (not an easy task), and across the San Francisco Bay, too (also not easy). All the way to Alcatraz Island, no less than a mile from the San Francisco shore. You also instantly become a bad-a$$ when your traveling companion dies. Matter of fact, there’s no explanation how Eli became Chuck Norris, Jr., but it’s okay, because the cannibals you had tea with are packin’ heat. Where they get all that heat, no one knows. But they have a lot of heat.

You can also dine at the top of a nuclear power plant’s cooling towers, too. Just… climb up. Somehow. Without equipment, ropes, grapples, hooks… nothing.

But the one thing you won’t know how to do in the post-apocalyptic world – despite all the things you CAN do, like charge an iPod without the benefit of the correct charging device or electricity for that matter, or use the bathroom without toilet paper – is read. That’s right, lovely blog followers, no one but the ones who survived the “flash” as it’s called, can read. And who’d bother teaching their children or their loved ones how to read? Who needs that in the post-apocalyptic ash?

If my references don’t seem to make sense, it’s because you’ve obviously:

  1. Never survived an apocalypse, or
  2. Never had to sit through this movie.

For both, you should be grateful.

-JDT-

Copyright 2011 DarcKnyt, All rights reserved

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9 thoughts on “Blech of Eli

  1. This comment contains spoilers so don’t read it if you don’t want me to blow this crappy movie for you.

    Did I leave something to spoil? how do you spoil something that’s already bad?

    What baffles me about this movie is that we’re supposed to believe that Denzel’s character is reading Braille and that he’s blind. Then why was he using a light to read the book?

    It was pretty funny. He couldn’t be any less blind-like. It became pretty obvious early on they wanted us to believe it but they never did get it right.

    I did not like this movie at all. Cyborg was a much better post-apocalyptic movie.

    I don’t know if I ever finished stomaching JCVD’s post-apocalyptic adventure. Or is the original pilot for The Six Million Dollar Man (which was based on a novel called Cyborg, btw)?

  2. And Mila Kunis couldn’t pull off bad ass to save her life.

    She’s always gonna be that chick from That 70s Show who got dumped by Ashton Kutcher to me.

  3. Sounds about as reasonable as Odysseus taking ten years to get from Troy to Ithaca, only staggeringly less entertaining. Nice work indeed.

    It was horrible in a lot of ways. Such a pity; so much potential.

    It is, however, comforting to know that useful abilities bloom like daisies in a meadow when one lives in a post-apocalyptic world. Long as I can kill people with my shoe laces, everything will be fine.

    You never know what you can do until you try, I guess. 😉

    Thanks for setting my mind at rest.

    Happy to be of service.

    PS Is that a new banner smirking up top there, or was I just not paying enough attention before? Either way it is looking tidily spiffy.

    It is indeed a new banner. One of many to come I’m sure.

  4. SPOILERS!

    I like WIGSF, had trouble believing that Eli was suppose to be blind the whole time.

    Yeah, that was pretty weak. There are a lot of cool things blind people can do but I’m not sure firing a gun with pin-point accuracy is one of them.

  5. Yay for Blues Brothers references. Now there’s movie worth watching…

    Beg to differ. Just sayin’.

    Your first post-apocalyptic movie? No Waterworld, Mad Max, I Am Legend, Omega Man, Planet of the Apes, Red-Dawn, Titan AE, Wall-E, or the greatest feel-good post-apoc movie of all time, Six-String Samurai?

    Oh, those count? I thought all post-apocalyptic movies involved a strong male archetype character of no depth who has to save one or more femme fatales and/or the species from extinction while fending off bumbling caricatures of enemies and… wow. Okay, I guess I have seen my share of that genre. I never figured Wall-E for one, so good on you for spotting that.

    • But seriously, Six String Samurai is great – as long as you know going into it that you’re going to be wasting two hours.

      *rim shot* And Lord knows, I’ve wasted a lot of hours. A lot.

  6. I watched this movie Saturday night and I really liked it. I went in with no expectations since I don’t like post-apocalyptic movies and seldom watch that genre. I thought the cinematography was beautiful, and the message of faith and persistence kept me glued to the TV. I didn’t even complain about the 2 hour run time.

    Wow, really? Interesting. I almost strained a muscle rolling my eyes, and nearly dislocated my jaw yawning. Too predictable, boring and trite. How many cliches, flat characters and predictable outcomes can be shoved into a single movie? Answer: LOADS. 🙂

  7. Nice movie review! I enjoyed reading your review far more than you enjoyed seeing the movie. FAR more. Alright, it’s not even a good comparison. That’s like saying your cooking is better than eating mud. I’ll just say that you could be a pro movie reviewer. I think that’s a good enough compliment. 😉

    It certainly is! Thank you so much, Spark! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  8. I’ve heard mixed opinions on the movie. Some people’s opinions I value, others, I don’t.

    True enough of all things, I’d say. You SHOULD weigh opinions objectively. 🙂

    Sounds like Book of Eli will fall under the “movies to poke fun of” movie night category (because sometimes it’s nice to watch a bad movie and rip on it the entire time)

    We look at ALL movies that way now! 🙂 Have fun. It’s very poke-fun-able.

    I haven’t seen anything great in awhile.

    Last GREAT movie I saw was Doubt.

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