Author Topic: The Book Of Eli [split topic]  (Read 1466 times)

The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« on: January 21, 2010, 10:52:43 AM »
I saw Book of Eli last night hoping it might be fun trash.  Huge mistake.   

The film asks us to accept the premise that after the Nuclear War the survivors burnt every single remaining Bible, religion having been the cause of WWIII. I mean, what? Really? So somebody was actually able to co-ordinate the destruction of the most common text on the planet and then get everyone to collectively forget about the entire concept of religion?

Then we're asked to aceept the idea that The Bible itself is basically so powerful that whoever rediscovers will be able to use its words to control the populace. There's a hilarious bit where Denzel reads the 23rd Psalm to post nuke Young 'un Mila Kunis (waaay too well-scrubbed looking to convince) and she's moved to tears. When really she should be asking questions like "Who is this Lord?," "What is a pasture?" and "What does Green mean?"

So conceptually it's a really, really stupid premise. But what really sinks it is a lack of colour, both visually and in terms of character. Gary Oldman's villian is basically Swearengen from Deadwood minus pithy dialogue or charisma. The love interest could scarcely be more wooden. And the various henchmen are dull, dull, dull....

If you're trying to pitch us a laconic Man With No Name style bad-ass it works best if he's surrounded by interesting and utterly bat-shit baddies. Samurai Jack, Mad Max, Judge Dredd all benefit from having a plethora of nutso-fucking cuckoo antagonists. It makes them seem cooler and their world's more dangerous. Here's the hero's dull and so is his environment and his enemies. 

And there's a final twist so astoundingly stupid it sets a new low.  [spoiler]In the end we learn that Denzel was blind the whole time and that has Bible was in Braille, thus making it useless to evil Gary Oldman. [/spoiler]

boxofslice

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The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 11:05:47 AM »

And there's a final twist so astoundingly stupid it sets a new low.  [spoiler]In the end we learn that Denzel was blind the whole time and that has Bible was in Braille, thus making it useless to evil Gary Oldman. [/spoiler]


Haha, brilliant.  At least it has a sense of humor.

The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 11:31:16 AM »

Haha, brilliant.  At least it has a sense of humor.

Actually no.  The makers of this shite think that's a mind-blowing revelatory twist which adds extra depth to a story they already think is worthy and significant.   It's a sub-Shyamalan bit of trickery.   And this film is so humourless it's astounding. 

It all seems dumber still the, erm, day after as it were.   My favourite bit of unintentional comedy has Jennifer Beals cooing over a gift of some shampoo, a rare gift in post-apocalyptic shitsville, and reacting with pleasure as Gary Oldman washes her hair.  A scene which might have worked if it wasn't then undercut immediately by the introduction of Beals' daughter, Mina Kunis, who has the cleanest shiniest hair we've ever seen and looks like a contemporary US college student on a gap year. 

It also manages to waste an interesting supporting cast.  You'd think a post-apocalyptic film in which survivors are played by folk like Tom Waits, Ray Stevenson, Michael Gambon and Frances De La Tour would have more life to it but you'd be wrong.   


Jemble Fred

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The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2010, 11:33:25 AM »
You were given a pretty clear warning that it had no chance of being any good, when the name 'Denzel Washington' came up at the start.

Not that I think he's a bad actor, it's just that his resumé is nearly entirely devoid of good films, bar two or three okay-ish entries (Much Ado, Philadelphia, Malcolm X). He has the worst taste/judgement of any Hollywood star.

boxofslice

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The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2010, 11:47:49 AM »
Not that I think he's a bad actor, it's just that his resumé is nearly entirely devoid of good films, bar two or three okay-ish entries (Much Ado, Philadelphia, Malcolm X). He has the worst taste/judgement of any Hollywood star.

I got certain amount of pleasure out of that film where he got upset when that kid got kidnapped and isn't Training Day supposed to be good?  I know what you mean though, he does lack any consistancy when choosing scripts.

niat

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The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2010, 12:03:44 PM »
I got certain amount of pleasure out of that film where he got upset when that kid got kidnapped and isn't Training Day supposed to be good?  I know what you mean though, he does lack any consistancy when choosing scripts.

Training Day is good for a while, then throws it all away with a stupid, stupid ending.

I like a lot of his earlier films, especially with Spike Lee directing, Mo Better Blues, Malcolm X, even He Got Game, and more recently Inside Man.

Glory is very good, and I enjoyed his performance in American Gangster. A quick glance at his IMDB page shows that he has been in a load of shit too, but no more than most Hollywood stars.

Jemble Fred

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The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2010, 12:10:27 PM »
no more than most Hollywood stars.

Really? I just checked IMDB and it's about eight times more than most Hollywood stars – certainly he's in his own league of crap movie experience considering his level of fame and achievement. He's as familiar in shit as sweetcorn. By now, his name in the credits is just a warning shot.

The worst thing is that the vast majority of his movie CV is just so unrelentingly BORING. At least this Book of Eli looked like something a bit out of the ordinary for him.

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The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2010, 12:20:44 PM »
He seems a fairly dull man off-screen, and a reasonably good actor who gets involved in some crappy projects.

The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2010, 01:01:55 PM »
I saw Book of Eli too, and while I guess the title is a bit of a giveaway I am right in thinking that the trailer didn't imply it was a bible-thumping action fest aren't I? Well it is anyway, Eli is the ultimate Christian action hero; as violent as the crusades, never swears and turns down sex. I was impressed with the Hughes Brothers work in the early scenes though, almost like a Terrence Mallick Mad Max movie. I guess as far as post-apocalyptic bible bashing movies go it might be slightly better than I am Legend, but I'm not entirely sure.

Whug Baspin

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Re: The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2010, 03:32:43 PM »
I remember being really impressed by Dead Presidents, listening to Kermode talking about it the other day reminded me and I watched a bit of it on youtube. It's still great, heavy handed, but not quite to the point of being silly and still packs a kind of punch. Also it defies genre in a way I don't think many films do. This all means nothing to the thread as I haven't seen The Book of Eli. More just a general 'what a shame, they don't seem to have made anything like that again'. It does appear to be very comic book like, which seems to be a device that allows you to get away with an awful lot of shit.

wheatgod

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Re: The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2010, 01:33:26 AM »
Its not a religious film!

The book is a MacGuffin.

Deal with that.

Re: The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2010, 09:21:23 AM »
Its not a religious film!

The book is a MacGuffin.

Deal with that.

Not true.   Eli behaves in the manner of a religious extremist (smiting enemies without mercy, turning down sex), he has a miraculous shield which makes him bullet proof, and his entire quest would have proved impossible without the direct intercession of God.   The film is religious propaganda which flat-out asserts that the Bible has magical properties and that a society without this text could never succeed. 

It's possible to imagine a smarter version of this film in which the Book was something of genuine value to post nuke survivors, a start-up guide to rebuilding civilisation or such like.   In that scenario it would qualify as a MacGuffin.   Here it does not.   

falafel

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Re: The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2010, 02:31:48 PM »
Except it wouldn't because the whole point of a MacGuffin is that you don't know what it is.

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Re: The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2010, 03:37:25 PM »
I thought the point of a MacGuffin was to drive the plot forward, whether you know what it is or not.

Re: The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2010, 03:54:17 PM »

Not that I think he's a bad actor, it's just that his resumé is nearly entirely devoid of good films, bar two or three okay-ish entries (Much Ado, Philadelphia, Malcolm X). He has the worst taste/judgement of any Hollywood star.

Thats so wrong blood. [/Pan B]
He Got Game,The  Hurricane, Antwone Fisher, Remembering The Titans, Training Day and Glory are quite decent.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 04:22:01 PM by rjd2 »

Re: The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2010, 04:50:26 PM »
Depending on how high your action film tolerance is Ricochet, Crimson Tide and even Virtuosity may or may not all be jolly good fun. I also really enjoyed Fallen, a much classier take on the Shocker/First Power/House 3/Exorcist 3/Ghost in the Machine cycle of body-swapping killer films of the late 80s/early 90s. Basically, his filmography isn't quite so shitty if you're into B-movies.

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Re: The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2010, 06:05:06 PM »

falafel

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Re: The Book Of Eli [split topic]
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2010, 06:41:15 PM »
I thought the point of a MacGuffin was to drive the plot forward, whether you know what it is or not.

Well, yeah, I guess. I suppose what I should have said was that it doesn't really matter what a MacGuffin is explicitly for.