The Book of Eli (Blu-Ray)
I am a big fan of most faith bound, destiny films, which consequently makes me a big fan of most post-apocalyptic films. THE BOOK OF ELI delivers on both accounts combining a stunning visual of destruction with an interesting concept dealing with humanity and hope.
Eli (Denzel Washington) is a man surviving alone on a mission to protect the last King James Bible and bring it to his foretold destination. Along the way he must fight against the evil and opposition of the post-apocalyptic world, scarce of food and water. Specifically Carnegie (Gary Oldman) who is a kindred educated man, whom there are very few in this younger generation, chaos-driven world. Carnegie is searching for the same Holy Book and willing to sacrifice and use any means necessary to obtain the literature. He understands the power of faith and wants to use and manipulate it for evil.
The cinematography is exquisite with a wonderful color pallet that transforms an ugly world into a visual beauty. The opening scene finds a suited man patiently hunting an undernourished cat in an ash-filled forest, but the thought of this gruesome act is captured in gorgeous camera work that really sets the tone for the rest of the picture. There are three main action sequences that are beautifully choreographed and filmed in one extended take. Every shot seemed very deliberate and well prepared so I believe the film makers achieved their goal, however, I would challenge that they spent too much time breathing in the desolate landscape. The film was poorly paced seeming to drag a bit with gaps missing some much needed action. The audience is introduced early and quickly to Eli’s impressive weaponry and skills as a fighter, which is never fully revisited again.
The performances by both Washington and Oldman are naturally great. They consistently give a believability and weight to all their roles and here is no different. Washington as Eli has a cold mysterious demeanor that commands respect and breathes wisdom. Oldman as Carnegie provides logical understanding with a controlled psychoticness. THE BOOK OF ELI entertains while giving a moving message about the importance and power of faith, along with the characteristics and choices of human nature. The ending has a slightly questionable twist but overall delivers an interesting and beautiful film.
Video: The look of the film is magnificent and thrives with a practically flawless transfer. This is a film perfect for what Blu-ray can do.
Audio: The sound is just as good as the visual…stunning.
WB Maximum Movie Mode: A picture in picture commentary-esque feature that can be played during the film. It’s mostly comprised of clips from later features but also with some comparisons with the beautifully done storyboards.
Focus Points (34:24): A compilation of ten mini featurettes. These were all short and very interesting covering the look, story and action of the film.
Starting Over (13:03): The filmmakers and actors discuss and explore what would happen as far as people’s reactions, feelings and wants and needs during a post apocalyptic world.
Eli’s Journey (17:54): The filmmakers and actors discuss the character of Eli and Denzel’s performance. They also discuss his faith and mission from God. They also discuss Oldman’s character and belief and knowledge for evil.
The Book of Eli Soundtrack (4:59): Basically a small discussion about the music and collaboration with the composer
Deleted/Alternate Scenes: Four extremely short scenes, which did not make any difference to the film. I was really hoping for more here.
A Lost Tale: Billy (5:02): A short moving picture graphic novel about the origins of our villain during his childhood