Last night, we had a movie themed night: After the End of the World (post-apocalyptic genre)
First movie: Book of Eli
All I knew of this movie before watching it was the trailers of Denzel Washington fighting bad guys using his machete. I knew that he was protecting a book, but I did not know for what or why. The movie starts slowly, but you find out that Eli (Denzel Washington) has been walking for 30 years after the war that caused major devastation to the earth to find a place for the book he is protecting. He does have very impressive fighting skills. Case in point: A guy pushed him and Eli told him that if he did it again, he would not get his hand back. The guy did it again and Eli cut off his hand in a matter of fact way.
His nemesis Carnegie (Gary Oldman) is looking for a book that he believes contains great power and with it he can extend his influence and authority over others. To that end, he sends his hooligans out over the wasteland to ravage and pillage to find this special book. He is frustrated because they come back with books, but not the one he was seeking.
Then he meets Eli, impressed with his fighting skills, and hopes that Eli will help him find the book for which he is searching. Eli declines and Carnegie locks him up for the night hoping to change his mind. He even send in a young bar maid named Solara (Mila Kunis) to use her feminine wiles to convince him. Eli does not fall for the bait because he is focused and on a mission. She begs to stay the night so that Carnegie will at least think they slept together (she worries that Carnegie will hurt her mother). Eli allows her to stay and while in the room, she sees that he has a book. She is excited about this even though she does not know how to read.
The next day, when she goes to see her mother, she prays for their food like Eli did the night before. Carnegie is suspicious about Eli. In the end, Solara tells Carnegie that Eli has a book so that he will stop hurting her mother. Carnegie goes to find Eli because he wants that book. Again Eli declines, a shootout ensues, and the chase is on.
I will not tell you any more of the story or what the book is because I want you to see the movie. The ending was okay. I was not totally disappointed. I felt that was probably the best way it could have ended. Eli was determined to carry out his appointed task. And for the most part things seem to work out for him, that you believe that he might have some higher power watching over him.
From the movie, there is an underlying message of hope and religion/spirituality being the answer to combat despair.
Robert Neville (Will Smith) is a scientist that is trying to find a cure for a virus that was caused by scientists who created it when trying to use the molecular structure from measles virus to cure cancer. The viral infection is transmitted through the air and from bites from infected individuals. Neville is immune to the virus and becomes the last healthy human survivor in New York. His one companion, a dog named Sam, cannot be infected from the airborne virus but can be infected if bitten. Neville is methodical about keeping his whereabouts hidden from the Darkseekers, infected individuals that have super human strength, angry attackers like rabid dogs, but have an extreme sensitivity to sunlight and UV light.
It would seem that Neville had nothing to live for since he saw his wife and child die in a helicopter accident when they were leaving NY. But he is determined to find a cure for the human race since he is the only possible hope as a person immune to the virus. For years without success, he does trial after trial with different chemical compounds in efforts to combat the virus’ effects. Meanwhile, he is constantly looking for survivors, although he is not sure there are any. Although, he thinks that the Darkseekers are devolving and losing all traits of humanity, there are instances in the movie that show the viewer that they still have intelligence, logic, planning abilities. This is probably the undoing of Neville because he begins to underestimate his opponent.
This movie ended okay also. I probably would have been in the minority choosing the alternate ending if I had a choice. Through it all, Neville becomes, more than a man, a legend.
The movie seems to be a cautionary tale of what can happen when scientists try to outsmart and control nature. There is still so much about nature that they do not know and creating mutations might have the unintended consequences of creating viral infections that have 90% infection and/or kill rate of the human race.