‘Book of Eli’ won’t make you a believer

Scott Viau

Films with post-apocalyptic themes are unique; they show modern humanity with no law and usually no hope. The “Mad Max” trilogy shows how primitive humans become when technology is dead and gone, and recent film “The Road” shows humans becoming closer when all hope is lost. “The Book of Eli” uses both of those ideas, but this time it is just like the real apocalypse: empty and unfortunate.

The world has been destroyed by war, and survivors are scarce. Mysterious drifter Eli is traveling West carrying a Bible that he believes will change the world, because God will protect him. Eli stumbles into a small town of people that are governed by Carnegie (Oldman). Eli kills some of Carnegie’s men, and he is imprisoned until he agrees to join Carnegie’s army. While incarcerated Eli befriends Solara (Mila Kunis), a girl who is also being held captive by Carnegie. An escape leads the two Westward bound. Carnegie figures out about Eli’s Bible, which is the only thing Carnegie cares about in his life. Eli attempts to make it out west, but he can’t without God’s occasional magic powers and Solara’s help.

Denzel Washington is one of Hollywood’s leading men andhas he choice of nearly any film in production. For some reason, though, he made this film. His character was decently interesting, but it never sat right with me that he was the actor. His acting was just about the same as it has been in his past films, but his stern, clear voice never made an impact on this one. However, his acting in the film’s occasional fight scenes was impressive. While I enjoyed Mila Kunis in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” her acting was bad in this film. The awful dialogue was not her fault, but she was as interesting as a piece of wood. Oldman is one of my personal favorite actors, and while I was not very impressed by him, he was without a doubt the best character in this film. Ray Stevenson, from “Punisher: War Zone,” was especially pointless in this film. The remainder of the cast was just dirty people yelling too much.

Directors Albert and Allen Hughes have a impressive film record with “Dead Presidents” and “From Hell,” but they failed on this attempt. Their war-torn world was impressive, but it felt too fake, and the monstrous plot holes kill this movie. The action scenes are easily high points, but there are only about 10 minutes of them. I usually enjoy drawn- out movies, but this movie had a ridiculous amount of filler scenes that killed its pace.

The score is not used for a large portion of the movie, and it hurts the film. The scenes feel dull, and the random electronic noises sounds like Trent Reznor sitting on a keyboard. The special effects were not bad, and every action scene looked good. The hand-to-hand combat was enjoyable, but there just wasn’t enough. The cinematography was not great, but it was well done. The large vast shots of deserts, war torn cities and a decaying golden gate bridge were appealing, and the sets were done well.

“Eli” was not horrible, but it’s definitely not good. The fight scenes are very entertaining, and if you’re a fan of Denzel then you might enjoy some parts of the film. On the negative side, the pace was slow and boring at numerous points, and a movie based at least 30 years after the apocalypse should never have a working iPod and Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones. “The Book of Eli” attempts to show us faith will save us all, but sometimes you need more than a little prayer.