I don't often pay too much attention to how a movie is reviewed by critics. My experience is that they are usually too far over the top one way or the other in their like or dislike of a movie and I would rather form my own opinion of it or listen to a friend or two that has similar tastes to mine when it comes to movies.
However, I find it interesting as to how the movie The Book Of Eli has been reviewed. The critics seem to be torn on it. About 1/2 think that it is a wonderful movie, while the other 1/2 feel that it gets "too preachy". But the real interesting part, is what I have read from the Christian community, such as the Christian Science Monitor who really seemed to dislike the movie. Disliking the action scenes and violence. To me, they really miss the point of the movie.
If you have not scene the movie yet, but are planning on it and do not want it spoiled, then I would advise you to stop reading this post right about now.
Although I did find the violence a bit much at times, I found that it was necessary for Hollywood to do so if they wanted to sell some tickets. That's just the times that we live in. But, it is not like the Bible is without violence. And with this story taking place 30 years in the future after a nuclear war, I would think that there would be violence in an era with no laws. To me it made sense.
After this war, there were book burnings and all sense of law has been done away with. After being in hiding after the war for a year, Eli hears a voice from God. The voice tells him to look under a pile of rubble and to take what he finds out west to a place that will protect it. What Eli finds, is the last known copy The King James Bible in side of a very nice cover with a lock on it that has to be opened with a key. God tells Eli that he will protect him in his journey and Eli abides by going on the journey God told him to go on. And, every chance Eli has to sit and rest, you see him reading to himself out of The Bible.
During his journey, it is clear that everyone wants what Eli is protecting. In particular a person that is running a town that Eli comes through. He is one of the few people that remain that understand what the Bible is and the power of the words that are in it. He wants it, not to teach the good that is in it, but to use it as a tool to control people which I thought was an interesting reflection of how some Christians and even non Christians probably view it....In more of a legalistic view.
While Eli is in this town, the guy that runs the town tries to use what ever he can to persuade Eli to hand over the book. In what was one of the most memorable scenes, a young lady was sent to Eli's room to find out if he did indeed have a copy of The Bible. While there, Eli offers the young lady 1/2 of the meal that he has. But prior to eating Eli insists that they hold hands, close their eyes and he then begins to pray. I found this to be an incredible touching and moving part of this movie. The young lady had never experienced prayed before and did not know anything about it, but was completely drawn in by the power of it.
What was a common theme, was the power that prayer and scripture has in a society that basically has no laws or structure. It made me wish that there was that same kind of thirst in our current society.
Eli leaves the town, the young lady follows him because she is drawn to the good in Eli, and of course the bad guys track him down in an effort to get the book. Ultimately, they do. Although you have doubts about if they actually have the book or not since Eli continues his journey west after the bad guys have left with it and since they cannot open it because they do not have a key to the lock on it. During that struggle for the book, Eli is surprisingly shot.
Eli, and the young lady that is following him, finally get to their destination out west which happens to be Alcatraz where someone has turned the once prison into a museum for important items-like The Bible. When Eli gets to the gates, he is met by armed guards and he announces that he has a copy of The King James Bible with him. At this moment, they flash over to "the bad guys" who when they open the bible, they find that the bible is a braille bible which reveals that Eli is a blind man which might explain why it has taken him 30 years to walk across the country. It then flashes back to Eli who is meeting with the head of the facility and Eli instructing the man to listen carefully and to write down exactly to every word the Eli has to say. Eli then begins to quote the entire bible right from the beginning.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
When Eli started reciting those words, I was never so glad to hear them. I was truly overjoyed and tears ran down my face. When a movie can give a renewed meaning to those words, then I feel it is truly a great movie.
To me, a lot of people are missing the message of The Book Of Eli. A message about how important one person can play in the grand scheme of things. A message about how God can use an unextraordinary person to do extraordinary things. A message about how important it is to be immersed in the word of God on a daily basis. A message about how important it is to have your feet pointed in the right direction and take steps day by day by day to go further in that right direction and how you can be amazed at the impact that you may some day have.
Needless to say, I give this movie 2 big thumbs up and cannot wait until it comes out on dvd. I will be buying it the day that it comes out. In case you have not seen a trailer for the movie, here is a trailer for it: