The Book of Eli [Blu-ray] The Hughes Brothers

The Book of Eli [Blu-ray] The Hughes Brothers
Nine years is a long time between films, but it's good to have the Hughes Brothers back. It's been that long since their visually stimulating, but divisive, take on Alan Moore's From Hell. Treading safer, less lit-geek sacred ground, the Hughes Brothers have treated an original film story as a graphic novel adaptation with The Book of Eli. A part of the increasingly omnipresent post-apocalyptic genre, Eli follows a man on a deadly journey across the wasteland of America. In his possession is a book containing lost knowledge that can save or enslave the remnants of humanity, depending upon the intent of its wielder. Denzel Washington stars in a role that's far more badass and understated than we've seen from him before. It's classic solitary drifter, but Denzel imbues his character with an unflappable, Zen-like grace; he's all the more balls-out awesome when his cool is broken and his fury is unleashed. The incomparable Gary Oldman becomes his nemesis, Carnegie, a crooked man of knowledge in a land of the young and ignorant. By simple virtue of being old enough to remember how to read, Carnegie holds power over the ragtag community rebuilding amid civilization's ruins. He seeks the book and blackmails Solara (Mila Kunis, solid in a rare non-comedic role) into using her feminine wiles to pump Denzel for information after the drifter decimates an onslaught of surely heels in one of the film's gorgeously shot and choreographed action sequences. The film's highly stylized look and fluid, high-impact fight choreography is part of many detailed deconstructions in the excellent "Focus Points" of Eli's "Maximum Movie Mode." Action wizard Jeff Imada (Fight Club) lauds Denzel as a quick study, pointing out that there is no stand in for these complex sequences. Among the impressive revelations of this superior look at the filmmaking process is the loving care put into the storyboard pre-visualization. The Hughes Brothers hired comic god Chris Weston to conceive much of the movie's look prior to filming and they're happy to flaunt his extraordinary illustrations in these extras. Brief deleted scenes, an interview on the exceptional score with composer Atticus Ross, a couple of decent philosophical discussions on how people might really react in a post-apocalyptic situation and a motion comic short on Carnegie's back-story flesh out the features on this solid The Road meets The Road Warrior action drama. (Warner)