Book Of Eli, The

Featured In Issue 149, July/August/September 2010

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Some brutal violence and language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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The Hughes Brothers
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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"The Book Of Eli" takes place in the not-too-distant future, some 30 years after the final war. A solitary man walks across the wasteland that was once America. Empty cities, broken highways, seared earth—all around him, the marks of catastrophic destruction. There is no civilization here, no law. The roads belong to gangs that would murder a man for his shoes, an ounce of water...or for nothing at all. But they're no match for this traveler. A warrior not by choice but necessity, Eli (Washington) seeks only peace but, if challenged, will cut his attacker down before they realize their fatal mistake. It's not his life he guards so fiercely but his hope for the future; a hope he has carried and protected for 30 years and is determined to realize. Driven by this commitment and guided by his belief in something greater than himself, Eli does what he must to survive—and continue. Only one other man in this ruined world understands the power Eli holds and is determined to make it his own: Carnegie (Oldman), the self-appointed despot of a makeshift town of thieves and gunmen. Meanwhile, Carnegie's adopted daughter Solara (Kunis), is fascinated by Eli for another reason: the glimpse he offers of what may exist beyond her stepfather's domain. (Gary Reber)

Special features include four featurettes: "A Lost Tale: Billy"—Carnegie's backstory (HD 05:02), "Starting Over"—a treatise on how civilizations live, die, and are reborn again; plus what role we might play in reshaping society the day after the end of the world (HD 13:03), "Eli's Journey"—behind the story (HD 17:54), and "Soundtrack"—the soundtrack's construction and deconstruction (HD 04:59); deleted and alternate scenes (HD 01:53); Maximum Movie Mode PIP commentary with Denzel Washington and the Hughes Brothers; 10 Focus Points; and BD-Live functionality. Disc Two contains the standard defiition DVD and a digital copy of the film.

The 1080p VC-1 picture is extremely stylized, with an exaggerated desaturated color palette, which virtually borders black and white. The effect is that of gloom. There are no bright moments other than gray cloudy skies. Blacks are deep and solid and shadow delineation is darkly rendered yet revealing. Dimensionality is excellent. The visual effect is dramatic and mysteriously haunting. Resolution is revealing of facial features and object textures during close-ups but generally soft in backgrounds. Still the imagery is impressively cinematic. This is not your usual desaturated look. The picture plays on shadows and dramatic contrasts. This is a wonderfully creative presentation that perfectly establishes the apocalyptic story. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack delivers an electronic tinged orchestral music score that is drearily depressing and creates an eerie emotional experience. The music is well recorded, with defined instrumental timbres and a dimensional presence. Dialogue reproduction is excellent, with convincing spatial integration. Sound effects are, at times, dramatic and weighted with deep .1 LFE bass. Scenes with gunfire are extremely dimensional and effective, with varying degrees of intensity integrated with camera movement. One gunshot incident in particular is an amazing sonic feat. Atmospheric sound effects and Foley are impressively presented and perfectly enhance the eerie emotional mood. The soundfield is wide and deep, with expansively aggressive and directional surround envelopment that creates an effective holosonic® experience. This is an engaging soundtrack that perfectly enhances the dramatic storytelling. (Gary Reber)