The Book of Eli is every bit a western, only set in a post-apocalyptic world. To sum it up, it’s a stylish, gritty, adrenaline-fueled visual treat centering on a butt-kicking prophet who wanders around the wasteland world of the future.
Eli delivers bloodshed in between poetic psalms and wrestles with the agonies of what the world has left for him and the rest of humanity. While it’s targeted as a popcorn flick, its biblical engagement reaches some moments of fine depths every now and then.
On a technical level, The Book of Eli is interestingly enigmatic and atmospheric. With a messianic stature, it utilizes its road movie aspect to showcase fancy swordplays, shootouts, and chasing scenes where the faith of the prophet becomes the primary weapon that accompanies the book of power.
While this movie won’t provide serious enlightenment, its commercial intentions as a post-apocalyptic offer is simply worth seeing for the cool fight sequences. It offers a steady parade of fanboy treats with enough thrills, dark humor, and bursts of bloodshed. The graphic novel style delivers enough mayhem flair. There is also an operative socio-religious allegory that doesn’t thrust too much, and it doesn’t dumb down the fun action neither.
The Hughes brothers know how to move the camera and which action to focus on. This is mainly what makes the movie work amidst its ho-hum storyline.
The movie’s narrow path to righteousness is its ability to present religious themes into the mix without getting too preachy.
The Book of Eli is a post-apocalyptic tale about a prophetic man who fights his way across America to protect and bring the sacred book that holds the secrets to saving mankind. It’s a time where the Earth becomes a total wasteland where surviving humans struggle with the simplest valuables as the new gold: potable water, food, and even a shampoo sachet acknowledged as a precious perfume that could be the last of its kind in the world.
As the mysteriously dangerous Eli (Denzel Washington) continues his perilous journey, he meets many helpless wanderers succumbing to the gruff thugs on the. He showcases his unmatched fighting skills by saving those in need, and of course, himself. He reaches a small reconstructed city lorded by the powerful Carnegie (Gary Oldman) where things even get more dangerous.
Everyday, Eli stops at the comfort of his barren and quiet space to read the book he guards. When the power-hungry Carnegie discovers the book, Eli becomes his ultimate target. He struggles to his pilgrimage towards the west with a new companion, Solara (Mila Kunis) who escapes the slavery of Carnegie, with the soon hope of going back to save her enslaved mother.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases
The Book of Eli DVD has an aspect ratio of 2:35 and rounds out with the additional scene called Lost Tales: Chapter 1 (Carnegie’s Story). This DVD offer is a pretty basic disc that only elevates itself through the movie’s exquisitely dark textures, contrast complexity, and rigid movements especially in the action sequences. The mix of computer-generated effects and focused cinematography of the destroyed landscapes and dilapidated towns maximize the film’s ashy color tones.
The Blu-ray release features a standard double-disc package: the Blu-ray disc and the bare-boned DVD/Digital Copy combo disc. This R-rated Warner Home Video release has subtitle options in English, French, and Spanish. The audio is in DTS Surround Sound with dubbed option: English in DTS HD High Res Audio, French in Dolby Digital 5.1, and Spanish in Dolby Digital 5.1.
The dusty, post-apocalyptic atmosphere of the uses heavy grays that concentrate on the scaling degrees of clays, muted tans, and rich blacks that complement the shots. The audio’s surround sound treats generally keeps up with the expectations for this kind of action-filled movie.
Glancing at the disc special features, The Book of Eli Blu-ray showcases a Maximum Movie Mode (MMM) with 40 minutes of picture-in-picture commentary from Denzel Washington and the Hughes Brothers. This feature offers a commentary, picture-in-picture interviews, production artworks, and branching out featurettes. Other additional scenes include: Lost Tale: Billy, an animated short about Carnegie’s back story; Starting Over that explores the role people might play in reshaping the society after a global destruction; The Look of Eli which covers the creation of the movie’s visual design and its use of religious metaphors; The Book of Eli Soundtrack, a comparison of notes about the soundrack’s construction and deconstruction by Allen Hughes and composer Atticus Ross; and Eli’s Journey which probes the historical and mythological roots of the movie’s theme. There are many other featurettes including: Underpass Fight, Building Carnegie’s Town, The Motorcycle Brigade, Eli Goes to Battle, Eli’s Mission, Shootout at George and Martha’s, Eli’s Weapon of Choice, Solara Causes Mayhem, and Apocalyptic San Francisco.