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Blu-ray Review: The Book Of Eli
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The Book Of Eli
Blu-ray | DVD | VOD
Directed by the Hughes Brothers
Starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals
Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Release date: June 15, 2010

Are you looking for a trek across the post apocalyptic wasteland of our future? How about a trek to bring the word of God back to the people and into the right hands? If you are, than The Book of Eli is definitely for you. That’s right you heard me correctly, post apocalyptic trek across the wasteland of the future and to top it off it is led by America’s best friend, Denzel Washington.

While this may not be appealing to everyone and I definitely can see where this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I have to say that I definitely enjoyed this premise. We meet Eli (Washington) 30 years after a war has left the Earth a barren landscape, bringing out the worst in its human survivors. Eli is traveling on foot, to where we don’t know at first. He seems a simple man with a simple quest, until you see him in action — it will surprise you. Eventually, he comes to a functioning town run by Carnegie (Gary Oldman), a man obsessed with finding a special book he believes will give him more control over the masses than he already has.

The cast is definitely most of what I love about this movie. While I do find it odd that Mila Kunis seems to have popped up in quite a few movies lately, I cannot say I hate that that is the case. Also Gary Oldman can always pull off a great villain role and definitely does so here.

The premise is strong and the story is not bad, but the movie does lack a bit in execution. While dialogue and premise are its strong point, there is something to be said about the execution of these in a lot of movies lately. This movie also seems to have released at a very odd time when really it is one of the best “summer blockbuster” premises I have ever heard of. Also the very well choreographed fight sequences seem to also feel very “summer release” to me.

I have to say though my favorite part of the entire movie is the twist and that is definitely what makes this movie worth the purchase itself. I actually had to watch it a few more times to see if there were hints to the twist earlier on and there definitely was and I do suggest watching a couple of times to see if you can pick up on anything new.

Overall if you are looking for a good action movie with substance or are just a big Denzel fan, this is definitely your movie and I really think you should pick it up for a good time.

Special Features

DISC 1

— Maximum Movie Mode Survival Guide

The Blu-ray version comes with something called “Maximum Movie Mode Survival Guide,” which allows you to watch the movie with enhancements. So, during a scene, a window will pop up with concept art or behind the scenes footages or video commentary. It’s a really great feature, especially if you enjoyed the movie a lot and want more details. Unfortunately, my copy was jumpy and the sound would cut out a lot, so I didn’t get to truly enjoy this feature like I should have.

— Picture-in-Picture Director Commentary

While the movie plays, periodically, a window will pop up with behind the scenes footage or interviews with the filmmakers, storyboard-to-screen comparisons; and other details.

— Focus Points [34.24]

Multiple featurettes that go into detail about the story, stunts, concept art, building Carnegie’s town, and much more.

-The Look of Eli:
Shows the construction of the forest set built on location in New Mexico and includes clips from the movie with the Hughes Brothers and producers talking about what’s happening in the scene. There’s also concept art show, which is very comic book looking, since the directors had actually put together a book, like a graphic novel, that was a storyboard of the entire movie to show to everyone before principal photography began.

– Underpass fight:
This is when Eli meets the thieves on the road and has the silhouetted Kill Bill-style fight. We see the behind the scenes, and find out what was CGI and learn that Denzel Washington does his own fights in the film.

– Building Carnegie’s Town:
Filmed on location in New Mexico; set designers talk about creating the post-apocalyptic town.

– The Motorcycle Brigade
A look at the menacing road gang.

– Eli Goes To Battle
A featurette focusing on the fight coordinators. We see a sample of a stunt man fighting 38 people all in one take. This was a test for the scene where Eli fights everyone in Carnegie’s bar.

– Eli’s Mission
Details on Eli’s mission and his stance on violence.

– Shootout at George and Martha’s
A look at the events at the old couple’s home.

– Eli’s Weapon of Choice
The filmmakers originally were going to use a samurai sword, but Washington thought it should be something else, and suggested a machete. The result was something quite unique.

– Solara Causes Mayhem
On location where Solara fights Carnegie’s men who were taking her back to the town. We see the sequence where the truck is blown up by the grenade.

– Apocalyptic San Francisco

Filming the final major sequence in San Francisco and special effects.

— Starting Over [13:03]
The filmmakers, actors, and scholars talk about what would happen in a post-apocalyptic world; what becomes a commodity. Also, they discuss how Eli’s mission motivates him and his faith guides him.

— Eli’s Journey [17:54]
The filmmakers talk about the look of Eli’s world. The Hughes Brothers worked with several concept artists to create a full storyboard ‘comic book’. Also, details about the look of the movie, Eli’s mission, stunts, storyboards, Washington’s prep for the film (script, stunts, fighting); and what the book means to both Eli and Carnegie.

— The Book of Eli Soundtrack [4:59]
The film’s composer along with co-director Allen Hughes talk about the music (the sound quality of this interview segment is not so good).

— Additional Scenes[1:53]
A few additional or extended scenes; I can see why they were cut, but after watching the entire film, you should go back and watch these, as they’ll give you a little more insight into the story.

— A Lost Tale: Billy [5:02]
Animated short motion comic that serves as a companion piece to the film, about Carnegie’s back story, which takes place when Carnegie was little, well before the war, back when people still had religion.

DISC 2

Digital copy: To be viewed on your computer or portal video device.

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