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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Science Fiction > Terrorism > Post Apocalypse > The Book Of Eli (2010/Warner Bros. Blu-ray w/DVD)

The Book Of Eli (2010/Warner Bros. Blu-ray w/DVD)


Picture: B/C+     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: B-     Film: B-



The post-apocalyptic film is pretty played out by now and most of them with their non-stop bad digital effects cannot match the actual disaster unfolding in the gulf thanks to BP and Halliburton.  Nevertheless, a few good films in the genre still get made and one of the few that will hold up years from now marks the return of The Hughes Brothers.  The Book Of Eli (2010) imagines a near future where the ozone layer has so dissipated that the sun’s rays managed to fry the entire surface of the earth to a crisp and kill billions with it as it destroyed life, industry and civilization as we know it.


Denzel Washington is the title character, a man who is transporting something priceless across what is left of the land and will do anything to reach his destination, though he will eventually run into people who want to strip him of anything they can get value out of.  In a local town run by a megalomaniac ironically named Carnegie (Gary Oldman), Eli tries to keep to himself until Carnegie realizes he has a copy of The Christian Bible (turns out to be a King James version before liberties were taken in the 1980s) blamed in part for the annihilation and banned worldwide.  Carnegie knows he can use and abuse it to increase his power over others and so does Eli, so the race is on for who will win.


Gary Whitta’s screenplay is in the best tradition of these films and the Hughes Brothers’ love film (note the poster of A Boy & His Dog in the background at one point) makes this not just fight scenes, tired styles and bad fashion statements, but a story about something though we have seen this subgenre more than we would like.  Here, the story is essentially about a battle against extremism and religious abuse, which always rises in the worst possible situations.  A bold stance in any film let alone a commercial one where the point is so well stated, Warner wanted to get Washington into an I Am Legend-type film and have come up with a superior work that is everything the Will Smith blockbuster should have been in terms of intelligence and resolution.  Rounding out the solid cast are Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals, Michael Gambon, Frances de la Tour, Tom Waits, Malcolm McDowell and Ray Stevenson.


This is, even more than Glory, the most violent film Washington is ever likely to appear in, but (for a change and like that other Washington hit) the violence and action is in context to the storyline and that is all too rare these days.  This is only Albert and Allen Hughes’ fourth film, which is a shame as they should have made more, but by not selling out, they have been more or less punished for their efforts.  Fortunately, Eli was a moderate hit and I hope we see more from them soon.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image has high expectations in part since the Blu-ray for their film From Hell was one of the best early Blu-rays and continues to be one of the best to show darker presentations.  This film was actually shot in High Definition video by Director of Photography Don Burgess, A.S.C., (What Lies Beneath, Terminator 3, the first Raimi Spider-Man) in his best work in years.  By stylizing the data from the RED ONE RAW 4K camera, it has more of a film-like look than the vast majority of HD shoots, but you can still tell from the lack of detail and richness it is HD.  Still, this looks good for the kind of production it is, but is no match for the more advanced dark look (or resulting Blu-ray) in From Hell.  The anamorphically enhanced CD included is much weaker and is a poor downtrade.


I may have some minor issues with the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix here, such a dialogue not always sounding as full as I’d like it to, but the soundfield is otherwise very well recorded and mixed, as is typical of all Hughes Brothers releases.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD reflects some of this, but that old codec could never be a match for the DTS-MA on the Blu-ray.


Extras include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, Additional Scenes of interest and the animated A Lost Tale: Billy, plus Blu-ray exclusives include BD Live interactive features, the Maximum Movie Mode Survival Guide you can turn on while watching the film and three more featurettes: Starting Over, Eli’s Journey and The Book of Eli Soundtrack featuring the directors delving into the use of hit songs and new scoring (by Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross and Claudia Same) for the film.


To read more about From Hell on Blu-ray, try this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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