Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Book of Eli- a movie only Kirk Cameron could love

“The Book of Eli” is a bad movie.

From Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide “ In a post-apocalyptic America where the once-picturesque countryside has become a desolate and violent wasteland, one man (Denzel Washington) fights to protect that sacred tome that could hold the key to the survival of the human race in this futuristic thriller from filmmaking duo Albert and Allen Hughes (From Hell and Dead Presidents). Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, and Ray Stevenson co-star in the Warner Bros. production.

Where to begin, where to begin…

In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t been a fan of Denzel Washington since the “St. Elsewhere Days.” I also have post-apocalyptic fatigue, after have seen “The Road”, although the latter is a better movie. But I had two hours to kill and murdered them with Eli.

The plot has to do with a hero, Washington, who is trekking across the US to the west coast. The apocalypse was briefly described as the sun touching the earth and had something to do with religion. I interpreted this to mean that there was a nuclear war between two or more religious traditions. As was once said, “God, protect me from your followers.” The long and the short is that Washington has the only remaining copy of the Christian bible. How these folks know this is not made clear. Maybe a message from the deity? There is a character named Carnegie who is a book collector (get the reference?) who wants the last copy of this valuable text. Why is it valuable to Carnegie? Because he believes it will be the vehicle he can ride to increase his power over more people. Sounds right to me. Anyway, he and Washington have their own mini-war over the good book. Along the way, Washington goes into a house with his female companion, Solare, to seek shelter. They meet George and Martha (oh, come on). Given today’s health care reform debate, Harry and Louise would have been better. Martha had the shakes, which according to Washington, was because she had eaten too many humans.

Washington eventually gives the book to Carnegie, but with a twist. I won’t reveal it, but at the point in the movie it is revealed, I couldn’t have cared less. In the end, Washington ends up dictating the book from memory to a grizzled Malcolm McDowell (shades of “Fahrenheit 451,” a much better movie). Throughout this journey, Washington displays martial arts skills that are better than Jackie Chan, but there is no explanation of why is he is such a super killer.

Did it not occur to anyone that the major conflict causing the devastation of the civilized world was fought, in part, because of the bible? Did it not occur to anyone that another war was being fought to gain ownership of the bible because it would give the owner a greater opportunity to control others? My guess is that Carnegie couldn’t wait to put on a pair of red slippers, a pointy hat, and gold-decorated robes. I wonder if Muslims who watch the movie wonder why no one was fighting over the Quran.

Washington never cracks a smile throughout this whole ordeal, and come to think of it, no one else does either. It is a lugubrious movie that is silly in its use of the bible as its centerpiece. Frankly, given what happens I can’t imagine why anyone would want to have this book around given its capacity to encourage such evil in people. Oh, I forgot that’s how it’s used today and we still put up with it and believe that it’s god is better than other people’s god. God save us.

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