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Denzel Washington in “The Book of Eli”

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Denzel Washington may have over a million Oscars and over a hundred leading roles, but even his greatness could not save the sad production that is “The Book of Eli.” “The Book of Eli” is the action/adventure of a man named Eli who is in the possession of the last Bible on Earth after the apocalypse. A voice tells Eli that he must carry the Bible to the west, but along his path he runs into a warlord who is in the hunt for a Bible so he can use it’s power to rule over people. The plot seems fairly simple, but the story dumps the audience into a pool of confusion on how Earth got to the way it is in the movie. “The Book of Eli” would have been a better movie if there was more background information on the plot, if the movie actually matched the genre that it is classified for, and if there was not a conflict with being sacrilegious.

In the opening scene of the movie, Eli is hiding in a wooded area hunting prey to eat for dinner. First of all, this is the only scene that shows any type of forest area when supposedly the apocalypse was suppose to wipe out all of civilization. The setting is 30 years after the apocalypse, and Eli has been walking west because a voice told him to. Who is this voice you may ask? The voice is presumed to be the voice of God, and that would make sense since Eli is in possession of the last Bible on Earth. One could also ask how is it possible that one Bible is remaining on Earth when the Bible is the most read book in the world. There is also speculation to the time period that this movie takes place because in one of the opening scenes Eli is listening to an Al Green song from the 60’s, but his headphones are Beats by Dre‘, which are very expensive. There are many random moments throughout the movie that do not make sense logically, but if there was a briefing on what exactly happened before the movie started then the plot would make more sense; which in turn would make the movie more enjoyable.

The genre of “The Book of Eli” is considered to be an action/adventure movie. While there are a few fight scenes, all of them are shown in comic style like the “Watchmen” or “The Spirit” so the view is from a distance and it does not show the details that would make the fight more intense. Throughout the whole movie there were only two legitimate fighting scenes, and they were each only about five seconds long. Such epic fight scenes right? “The Book of Eli” is an adventure because Eli is on a journey to a specific place, and on the way he is faced with the dilemma that is the evil warlord, Carnegie. To place “The Book of Eli” within only two genres would be wrong because there is also drama and mystery. Drama occurs in the movie when Eli is shot and has the Bible taken from him, so at that point the audience is wondering if Eli will finish his journey or has the bad guy one. The question of whether Eli is blind or not is a mystery within itself throughout the whole movie because the audience wants to believe that Eli is blind, but who is to say that only blind people can read in brail. The fact that the movie is declared as an action film most likely brought on action film fans, but if a serious action fan was not a fan of Denzel Washington then the movie would be a total let down.

Incorporating a spiritual aspect to an action movie has not been done too many times in Hollywood, and hopefully producers paid attention to this film so they will know not to make the same mistake that the Hughes brothers made. Whenever there is any type of religion incorporated into a movie there is always going to be some type of controversy because religion is one of those topics where everyone is going to have their own opinions. The controversial part is that Eli has been reading the Bible every night for thirty years, and he ruthlessly kills people. There is a difference between self-defense and being a murderer, but when Eli is surrounded in a battle he kills every single bandit; even if they are on the ground in pain with their hand chopped off.

One would think that someone with a Bible would be more of a holy person and let people live, but according to “The Book of Eli” it is okay to carry around a Bible and quote scripture while killing people just because they threaten you. The Hughes brothers tried to avoid spiritual conflict by not specifically saying that the book that Eli is carrying is a Bible and that the voice that talks to Eli is God, but even a blind man can see through that scheme. The Hughes brothers would have came out better by making the book a dictionary or an encyclopedia, and instead of having an “imaginary voice” they should have incorporated a witch that tells Eli his future.

While “The Book of Eli” may be a difficult movie to grasp and has one of the greatest actors the movie would have came across more clear to it’s audience if the there was more background knowledge on the plot, a broader range in the genre, and no religious aspect whatsoever. Denzel Washington can make any movie obtain views just by having his name in the previews, but if it was some actor that no one had heard of before then the movie would have done terrible in theaters. Some movies cannot be saved by a stellar actor, and “The Book of Eli” is a prime example.

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