Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hodgepodge Sci-fi: The Book of Eli

Back again my loyal legion of readers and welcome to Day 2 of Hodgepodge Sci-fi. I thought we'd get right into one of the world's most common of science fiction, the post apocalypse. Now this normally ranges from anything to: zombie infestation, nuclear war, plague, meteor strike or Gaea getting stropy. Whatever the case may be it is once again follows the mentality of those in the right and those of might. This time around the story focuses on one man and what his goal means to the world. This is Book of Eli.

Hmm, Apocalypse or New Mexico?

Thirty years later... the world has taken a turn for the worse after the nuclear war that somehow statistically did not wipe out every last living thing. I mean I am just crunching the numbers on 180 megatons a single ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile), let alone the thousands of them that inhabit our world but I suppose suspending disbelief is in order. A lone wanderer, Eli (Denzel Washington of St. Elsewhere, Glory, Training Day, Man on Fire, Inside Man and American Gangster) moves on foot across the west coast of the US. Showing an impressive array of fighting skills, hunting and survival, it is completely feasible that this once decent soul probably never raised a hand in anger but now must adapt to his ruined world. In order to live, he may resort to killing those that would stop him from his quest. While seeking water he encounters more than a fair share of cannibalistic marauders and dispatches them like the wrathful hand of God.

The face of freedom.

Making his way to a tattered town lead by a man name of Carnegie (Gary Oldman of Rosecrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Dracula, Leon: The Professional, Air Force One, Batman Begins and Robocop) also a literate man in a time that is almost a return to the dark ages. Carnegie sends his pack of men out into the wastes in search of a specific book that will provide him the words to motivate and reign over his people. With the best intentions, Carnegie feels he can bring order and right to the world and well folks, that is just not how it works and presumption tends to bite you in the ass 9 out of 10 times. Meanwhile in the local watering hole, Eli is jumped by a biker gang and they too meet the way of his blade and hand-to-hand fighting. Carnegie finds a kinship to Eli and tries to keep him in town to better it but Eli simply asks for a place to rest if he may.

Making his daughter Solara (Mila Kunis of That '70s Show, Family Guy, Black Swan and Ted) subservient to Eli's needs, she is made aware that not all men view women as a form of entertainment and hears Eli's prayers over the bounty of dinner providing him the strength to continue his quest. Solara shares this prayer with her blind mother Claudia (Jennifer Beals of Flashdance, Vampire's Kiss, Four Rooms, The L Word and Lauren) when Carnegie hears and recognizes it wanting the book for himself to keep his town under his yoke. Will Eli be able to continue his quest of carrying the word of God? Can Carnegie create a utopia through force?

A few comments about the movie now. This post-apocalypse sci-fi western brings a Mad Max/ Blood of Heroes vibe with a positive message that humanity can rise above their petty wants for the betterment of humanity. Denzel Washington did all his own hand-to-hand stunts and blade work via Bruce Lee's former student Dan Inosanto. This is one of the few movies that simply eludes to the war and does not give huge disclosure of the world that was aside from a few stories.

Oakely got enough screen time with the backpack and sunglasses Washington is toting and Dr. Dre's Beats headphones got a fair amount of being seen. No I do not feel there was too much product placement as much as most A list films commonly do. Take a peek on a Woody Allen or Mike Nichols flick and note how much merchandise pushed on you.

Traffic's light today.