The Day After Movie (hereafter referred to as “DAM”) has set conventions as rigid as a romance novel’s: SOMETHING BAD, usually our fault, happens and destroys most, but not all, of the human race. (Animals always seem to be exempt from whatever happened.) The survivors are split into two groups, those still NORMAL and those AFFECTED by the catastrophe. Everyone lives in small enclaves with a lot of bartering. Into this mix comes the HERO, a loner who doesn’t want any trouble but does not walk away from it either. Without really wanting to he becomes the ONLY ONE STANDING BETWEEN the end of the human race… or its new beginning*. This has been the plot of every DAM including all three incarnations of I Am Legend, both Kevin Costner DAMs (Waterworld and The Postman), Tank Girl, Children of Men, 12 Monkeys, The Road, the Mad Max trilogy… and now The Book of Eli.


Eli is our Hero, traveling across a devastated America because a voice told him to carry the last surviving copy of a book to safety “out West.” (all copies of this book were burned after the Catastrophe, including, apparently, all the Kindles.) He passes through a town run by Carnegie, who happens to be looking for a copy of the very book Eli happens to be carrying. Eli sees the book as hope; Carnegie sees it as a weapon. Conflict ensues and you know how it ends.


The Hughes Brothers are familiar with genre material having directed From Hell, one of the better adaptations of an Alan Moore novel. They have always had a lush visual style and the look of the movie is stunning. The script is surprisingly subtle and it is refreshing to see characters fighting over ideas rather than things, even if the discourse doesn’t rise too far above the first year of college, second pitcher of beer level. There are several genuine ah ha! moments but there a few WTF moments too. (Like: how far can you get on one tank of gas and even with a generous head start, could you stay that far ahead of people in cars if you’re traveling on foot?)


The Book of Eli it gives you something to talk about but, really, not much to think about: it’s a good DAM movie but not a damn great one.


*The human race ALWAYS SURVIVES.

You need to be a member of Blacksciencefictionsociety to add comments!

Join Blacksciencefictionsociety

Email me when people reply –