Movies That Should be Comics# 14: The Book of Eli

there's only a handful of talents that automatically gets a movie onto my 'definite maybe' list (the 'must see' list is gone in this economy), and Denzel Washington (Training Day, Philadelphia, American Gangster, Glory) is one of them. Once i saw the early trailer for this post-apocalyptic action joint The Book of Eli (featuring a grizzly, disgruntled, blade-swinging Denzel and directed by Albert and Allen Hughes [Menace II Society]), it was immediately put on my schedule of things to do in the dime.
The Book of Eli takes place in a typical post-apocalypse where war (presumably nuclear) has destroyed civilization and brought the human race to the brink of extinction. North America is reduced to a blasted wasteland where roving gangs prey on travelers foolish and unlucky enough to fall into their traps. Denzel plays Eli, a grizzly wanderer on a quest to deliver the only copy of the Bible to survive the wars and book-burnings that followed them to... well, he doesn't know to whom. He's just headed 'west'.  Washington is awesome in the movie as a reluctant badass on a mission from God, with fly slimmie Solara (Mila Kunis Forgetting Sarah Marshall, That 70's Show) in tow.
He's opposed in the film by a ruthless city boss named Carnegie (Gary Oldman [The Professional, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight]), who has been searching the world for the Book. the story takes off once he realizes he cannot convince Eli to turn over the Book willingly, and he shows he will sacrifice any amount of men, gas, and bullets (all rare commodities in this world) to get it. Oldman did a great job playing Carnegie as a complex dude who is clearly the bad guy, without making him an inhuman monster. Although he doesn't believe in God, he definitely believes in the power religion will give him over weak-minded people, and intends to use the Book to take control of that power.
It's pretty easy to make the case for making The Book of Eli into a comic, but it helps that the directors saw it as having a comic book style story. "It's more based on kind of a comic book, graphic novel world. Even though it didn't come from that, it's very much inspired by that kind of look and feel." * We get a glimpse of the kind of violent, amoral tribes that thrive in that kind of world, but a proper graphic novel prequel would be able to give us more.  They might give it to us, too.  they already made motion comics prequels Lost Tales ch1 Billy focusing on the movie's villain Carnegie in his youth, and Lost Tales chapter 2 The End which shows Eli before the war that ended civilization. The film's screenwriter Gary Whitta wrote the prequel motion joints, with art by production artists Chris Weston and Tommy Lee Edwards. With that comics pedigree, this team would do a great job on a Book of Eli graphic novel that shows how Eli goes from the timid guy in the motion comic to the warrior apostle in the film.
I feel comfortable recommending The Book of Eli to anybody sitting on the fence about watching it. It has nice action sequences and effects. While it's rated R for violence and language, I don't think it's too violent or vulgar for church-going folk (who I think will be encouraged and/or inspired by it's subtext), but I'm pretty sure its Christian themes will be understated enough to make it palatable for non-Christians who just wanna see Denzel chop up bad people with a razor-sharp blade while getting his quest on. let's keep our fingers crossed for that graphic novel...


mk said...

Brother Samax,
instead of just saying it needs to be a graphic novel, why don't you get a few Brothers together, who write and a few who draw like yourself and make a graphic novel for a pre or post story for the film or a story around the world for the film.

I will buy it, and would be glad to help in any way.

samax said...

first step would be getting the rights. which assumes they don't already have plans to do a comic themselves. If you can secure the rights, or if the Hughes brothers are looking for more artists, I'd be happy to help out.

as it is, I'm allergic to red tape.

Check this out!

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