The Book of Eli Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to look at a pretty depressing kind of film from a while back. The Book of Eli is definitely not the kind of film where you can expect the characters to have a good time. The problem is that you won’t either. Between the level of grit and Mad Max vibes the movie gives off from the start this film ends up being pretty terrible very quickly. Literally the first scene of the film involves animal violence and from there you know that things are not going to get much better. Films have a way of tipping their hand early if you know what to look for like the recent Transformers film. As long as you pick up on the key points you won’t be surprised.

So once that scene is over and done with we see Eli get jumped by a bunch of bandits. He murders all of them except for the leader. He is carrying a package and heading somewhere but refuses to let anyone see what is in the package or for anyone to know where he is going. The whole thing has to be done in utmost secrecy after all. The problem is that the world is pretty much ruined and everyone out there is only looking out for himself. There’s one town in particular that has gone really over the edge and it’s ruled by a man named Carnegie. This guy aims to steal a certain book for himself so that he can really establish a chokehold over the world. The problem is that his men can’t read so they can only grab as many books as possible until they find the right one. When Eli shows up Carnegie figures he may have finally found his man. Eli will have to try and escape along with a girl named Solara whose life was going to be in danger in the city anyway so she figured she may as well tag along. Now the journey begins.

The Book of Eli is just a very gritty film all the way through. The animal violence is just the tip of the iceberg although on its own that would still be a very big problem. It’s not like you can just bypass that. You need to already have a lot of good will such as being a 9 star film so you can survive the drop or be a long running show where you build up your points again. For a film like this you need all the stars you can get so it really doesn’t help. Animals definitely don’t survive Eli’s expedition and it’s a true shame.

Eli is a good main character at the end of the film. He learned from his mistakes and how he lost sight of everything along the way. It’s reeeeeally tough to overlook his shaky beginning though. The scene where he lets a lady be dragged off for a fate worse than death and doesn’t life a finger to help is terrible. That’s the kind of action that you can barely even call a mistake because it’s so bad. At that point his safety was worth more than anyone else’s. The worst part is that it probably wouldn’t have even been all that dangerous for him. He is shown to be a very good fighter right off the bat so I’m sure he could have won.

Those are the kinds of dark themes this film thrives on though. Bad things are always happening to the characters and there just isn’t much that they can or want to even do about it. They’re doomed and they know it which just makes the trip worse for them. The town is completely corrupt either way so there is no more hope. Eli wants to bring hope back as his delivery is the only thing that can do it but he sure takes a while to get there. Then you got cannibals to worry about and things like that.

Solara is the main heroine here and she’s not bad I guess. She’s doing her best to survive at this point. You’d think she’d be a little more grateful for Eli telling her to stay back but allowing her to keep a cover story rather than trying to rummage through his things the whole time. She tries to look at the package more than once and you’d think she would have more restraint given the circumstances. I don’t blame her for falling for Eli’s trap at the water boulder though because who’d have thought that the main character would leave her for dead like that.

Make no mistake, if she didn’t escape she would have been dead. Once the villains made it to the cave to get their next batch of water she would not have had a chance. Finally we have the main villain Carnegie who is definitely not impressive. He spends the climax whining and groveling which is definitely not something you really want to see your main villain doing. I mean c’mon now, he has to hold himself with more dignity. He basically squanders his entire empire and there is no coming back from that. He definitely didn’t plan things out very well.

Okay time for the spoilers parts of the film so skip these next 3 paragraphs because they all involve the climax of the film. Technically the film reveals what the package is rather early on but it’s done with some subtlety at first until it becomes completely obvious. You should still pick up on it fairly early on when the main character is in town though. So Eli is traveling with a Bible. We find out that the world has gone to ruin and is basically a Hell on Earth now because the Bible’s have all been burned. Society changed massively after some kind of cataclysmic event and rulers were quick to assume power with bombs. I believe the cataclysmic event was that World War III occurred but I’m not exactly sure if they officially name it. Either way you do get the gist of it though. Everything is blown to smithereens and we don’t have technology anymore for the most part.

So Eli is delivering the Bible somewhere based on a vision God have him. He doesn’t know where the destination is so he just has to keep walking in that direction until he reaches the end. We also find out that Eli is blind so the fact that he is able to fight and maneuver so well is due to God aiding him on the journey the entire way. It was really good to see the Christian themes present themselves here and in such a positive light. I’ll at least give the film credit here because it’s such a rare sight. Especially nowadays you are unlikely to see films acknowledge God in a serious manner.

This does raise further questions on how Eli fell so far from the path but I already spoke on that quite a bit so there’s no need to keep on going there. The film acknowledges the power of the Bible as well as the fact that whenever you read it you will always find something new to learn. It’s why it is easy to see how Eli could keep reading it over and over again because it is the only book in existence that never really has to end. Memorizing it would certainly be quite the feat and impossible without God’s miracle here.

Overall, The Book of Eli is a terrible film that at least has a great twist at the end. It’s not enough where it can save the film because everything else is so poor but at least it looks like the movie was trying to go for a good message at the end. The execution wasn’t quite up to the level it needed to be but I appreciated the attempt. You can definitely make a good movie out of this story, but you just need to tone down how corrupt this world is or at least what we see on screen and get implied. There are many ways to get across that this is a terrible world with no more hope without being so direct. If you handle that well then the rest will follow. So instead of watching this film I’d recommend you check out Yugioh Bonds Beyond Time instead as a film that is also about bringing hope back to a world that is about to lose its future.

Overall 1/10

The World, the Flesh and the Devil Review


Well, you certainly can’t say that the title isn’t unique. It’s an attention grabber although admittedly in the opposite way of what the film is going for. If I walked into a theater and saw a film with this name I’d do a quick 180 and head back to Sbarro’s. Still, the film is reasonably good. I had some major complaints with the main characters as none of them were particularly likable but it made for a solid plot nonetheless.

The film starts with Ralph getting stuck underground. After a few days it seems like everyone has given up on him so Ralph reluctantly heads back to the surface on his own. The problem is that everyone is gone. Far as Ralph can tell, everyone has died somehow. He makes the most of it, but it can be pretty lonely. That’s when he runs into a lady named Sarah who is the last lady on Earth. Ralph is happy to at least have someone for company and they grow pretty close. He is reluctant to get romantically involved though despite her attempts. Things change when a third guy shows up named Ben. Ben is also interested in Sarah but unlike Ralph he is pretty aggressive about it. Who will Sarah choose?

I always like the setting of a world where humanity has been taken out of the picture. It’s always very thought provoking to see how you would try to survive like in Dr Stone although this would be a little more similar to The Last Man on Earth. Either way, you have to find a way to not just survive in the short run but also long-term. That means growing your own food and finding renewable sources of energy. The film doesn’t really focus on this aspect although I think it would have been very interesting. One tough part about these films though is how you end them. It’s really easy to run on the premise for a while, but eventually you do have to start a goal. It’s why to an extent titles like Dr. Stone, Resident Evil, and other survival stories have their best parts near the beginning. The longer you can keep up the mystery the better. That’s not to say that the series go down when the mystery is gone, but nothing beats that early peak.

This film goes from there into total romance territory which is something I often warn against doing. There are already thousands of romance stories, can’t we just have a survival one instead? The romance is pretty bad in part because of the characters. Ralph is determined not to make a move to the point where he keeps declining Sarah’s advances. Ben is pretty obsessive about how he likes Sarah and brings it up a lot. Then you have Sarah who clearly likes Ralph more than Ben but is fine with rebounding with Ben if necessary. At the end of the day it does seem like she will go with whoever is the last person standing so that doesn’t fill you with a lot of confidence on how loyal she’ll be.

Ralph’s reasoning for declining Sarah isn’t because he likes the friend zone, but because of the racial barriers between them. He believes that Sarah wouldn’t have given him a chance before the world blew up or she may not have even had a chance to meet him because of how society is. He is likely correct, but it is a whole new world now. It’s still a big assumption on his part to assume that she is racist. Assuming it was the latter and she just wouldn’t have had a chance to meet him, that’s not to say that she would have disliked him initially. It’s still fair to decide not to get involved with her, but then he should be direct about it from the start and explain that it’ll never happen. Instead he sulks an awful lot and still gets jealous with Ben which makes him too wishy-washy here.

My complaints with Sarah are really more of the same. If she likes Ralph then that should be game over for Ben or vice versa. Instead she does hang out with both and seems to encourage Ben throughout all of this. She knows that he likes her so if she isn’t interested then she should just say it. Leading Ben on when he has no chance is pretty awful. She gives him hope in quite a few scenes and likely enjoys the attention but it’s still pretty bad. Meanwhile Ben is pretty terrible from the start. He knows about the tensions between Ralph and Sarah and doesn’t care. Additionally he even plans to murder Ralph to get closer to Sarah. While this may actually work eventually, it’s still a pretty bad plan.

We get a prolonged gun fight near the end of the film to fill the action quota. It’s not bad although it could have been a lot more exciting. Imagine a live action Fortnite type showdown where both of them are running around the city. If anything the tough part is that if your battlefield is an entire city that is empty you could run for days, years, or forever and never find the other person. Just think about how huge these cities are and now shrink that down to 2 people. There’s absolutely no way to find each other without one person being really loud. The ending’s also a bit on the cheesy side but it could be worse I guess. They’re basically just pushing the problem off for a few months and then off screen one of them is probably going to get it.

Overall, This is a film with some interesting ideas but it doesn’t go into them enough. The premise of humanity being wiped out is already pretty great. Just focus on that. Instead we get a love triangle that takes up the whole movie and it’s not nearly as interesting. I think you can make a good triangle plot with two guys who both have their good qualities and a girl who isn’t sure how to shut them both down because she likes guy C. That would make for a pretty great plot. What we get here is more of a head scratcher. The writing is good on the whole, but the movie does drag on and the missed opportunities stand out. If the premise still sounds interesting to you then you should check it out. Just be warned that after the opening act the film forgets about the apocalypse angle.

Overall 5/10

The Last Man on Earth Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old film about vampires, but you could also just call them zombies. It’s a solid slow burner about a guy just trying to survive on his own. It’s surprisingly good and way better than most films in its genre. That being said it does squeeze a dog in for literally no reason which did take away a quick point. Why the film did this is beyond me.

The film starts off by introducing us to Robert. He believes he is the last man on Earth after watching everyone else go down to the plague. This illness was spread through the air and started by infecting all of Europe but eventually spread across the world. The vampires can’t move during the day time at least but at night they go wild. The only way to put them down for good is with a stake or burning them to oblivion. Robert has lived for 3 years by taking them down one at a time during the day and boarding himself in at night. Still, the days are taking their toll on him mentally and he knows that he can’t go on forever. Can he find a cure or finish them off before he loses the will to keep on going?

This is a pretty solid slow burner film. The opening scenes of Robert just walking around and living life are pretty fun. I think I can see why people would like an apocalyptic slice of life film. There’s a nice sense of peace as he just goes about his daily life. I actually would have been fine not even seeing the flashbacks. It’s also nice to just throw us in the middle of this because it gives you a lot to think about as he walked around. I’m sure it must have been a whole lot of work to find out all the rules of how to fight these vampires. He did good to live for 3 years although from how we see him live you’ll be surprised that he lasted so long. He uses quite a lot of garlic for the refills and doesn’t grow his own so the store he gets it from must have had an absolutely massive supply. I wonder if it would have been safer to just live in that factory for the time being.

That being said, the garlic really did not seem all that effective to me. Towards the end the vampires just walk right past it so its effect was either weaker than anticipated or the zombies just had a lot of determination in that scene. They are also very fast since Robert said that he had been trying to find them for 3 years, but never did. Based on how quickly they show up when nightfall is upon him that would suggest that they always make sure to sleep very close by. When searching a whole city for a bunch of zombies it makes sense that this wouldn’t be an easy ordeal but there does seem to be something he is missing. Nonetheless, his strategy of knocking them off during the day each time is pretty smart. It may not be much, but he’ll eventually take them all down.

This is one of those movies where the vampires are incredibly slow to the point where he was able to knock out like 10 on his own. There really isn’t anything to fear except for them potentially getting a lucky shot in. I think his best plan would be to find a gun somewhere so he can just mow them down. That would even allow him to survive pretty well at night since he could easily shoot them before they get close. A sword would also be a good idea. A more pro-active approach like that would definitely do wonders for him. Slow zombies/vampires (I use the terms interchangeably) may be convenient but it does let you have fun imagining scenarios on how you would win. It does leave you a lot of openings for coming through in the clutch when necessary.

Unfortunately there is one scene that the film had to squeeze in for no real reason. A dog shows up. Yes, I sighed when this happened too. There is no purpose for the dog to show up here and even in context it doesn’t make sense that it would have lasted this long. I guess the dog also got immune like Robert somehow, but you know that it’s only showing up to die right from the start. The movie isn’t even being all that subtle about this to be honest. It’s not handled nearly as bad as it could have been in other situations, but it was still enough for me to dock a pair of stars.

This movie does throw in a big twist near the end when Robert finds out that he is not the last person left. Personally I think it would have made sense for a ton of other people to have survived if this was really a virus. Could Robert have been the only one who was bitten by a mosquito and granted immunity? It wasn’t the same situation per say for these guys though. This leads to a bit of a grim end for Robert even if he does take it in a different way than some other characters might. It’s hard to blame Robert for what happened here though since he just never realized that not all of the zombies were the same. As I mentioned his plan was pretty logical.

Robert is a fun character. He certainly was loyal to his science principals and didn’t even want to entertain the idea of the supernatural until it hit him right in the face. He’s the kind of guy who will stay up late cooking up new cures while everyone else has given up. His friend Ben was not nearly as dedicated to his work. While Ben may have had a point, he didn’t do a good job of getting it across. Ultimately all he did was get in the way and slow down the process. At least he became very determined once he was a zombie. The fact that some of the zombies kept parts of their old personalities is also interesting.

Then you have Ruth who isn’t a terribly good character. She wasn’t great at spying on Robert and in general she wasn’t very helpful. I know that wasn’t part of her job, but while she was there she could have at least worked on getting a cure right? Then we have Virginia who is probably the worst character in the film. Even after Robert warns her multiple times not to call the cops because they would burn their daughter, she cracks and does so anyway. It’s easily one of the worst tropes when the character insists on doing the wrong thing and immediately starts crying afterwards acting shocked at how it all went wrong. It’s just way too late by then and that made things tougher on Robert. At the end of the day the only person he could count on was himself.

Overall, the writing is definitely on point here and Robert’s sarcasm and personality really help to carry the film. I enjoy his inner monologue and the movie’s pacing is consistent from start to finish. While I don’t think we needed the flashbacks it is always interesting to see how the town handles it when the zombie infestation first spreads. Resident Evil did something similar with the second last film as we saw a local town’s reaction. Robert may not have ended the zombie infestation, but he came close. It’s hard to say if he could have ultimately survived for the remainder of his days. I feel like he would have a good shot with some weapons and maybe finding a place with 24 hour electricity once he is retired. He would definitely need to thin out the zombie ranks as best he could before then though.

Overall 6/10