Feb 5 2010

Article XIII – In Which I Practice Kung Fu in Post-Apocalyptica

I’ve decided not to tell any jokes for you people this week.  I’m sick of being your little joke monkey, go find your own moderately insanely attractive columnist to chain up in your tool shed and only feed stray vermin to while dancing to Hansen’s Mmmbop in drag.  I DON’T WANT TO BE THAT GUY ANYMORE.

As a side note: the title is a little bit of a misnomer, I don’t have to practice kung fu.  I am kung fu.

This time I’m going to do something I’ve apparently subconsciously done for the past three articles: another post-apocalyptic film.  What is my fascination with the end of the world?  Who knows?  The Book of Eli came out like two or three weeks ago (I can’t be bothered to fact check), is 118 minutes long, and is the second science fiction film of the new decade.  That makes this the last film in my cycle of one movie per decade “random” choice pattern.  Congratulations to all who played.

The Book of Eli is, surprisingly, about a man named Eli who has a book.  Denzel Washington plays Eli who is this awesome dude who wanders around the post-apocalyptic American West looking for a place to take his secret book and practice kung fu.  Commissioner Gordon (yes, I’m going to refer to everyone from The Dark Knight as their awesome characters since I don’t think I get to review that film) plays the evil Carnegie who is trying to run a town in said post-apocalyptic world.

The plot is simple – stranger comes to town, Commissioner Gordon won’t let him leave, stranger kills a lot of people and leaves.  Quick, painless, and to the point.  I should write for Comcast.

This movie is beautiful.  Plain and simple – if you want a reason to watch this movie, the visuals are it.  Unless you want to play Fallout 3 – that has pretty much the same atmosphere as far as the de-saturated color and matte painted sky.  The scenes of San Francisco at the end are fantastic, the endless road that Eli walks on has a desolate, beautiful feeling about it.  Everything about this movie visually is so striking, it almost makes me want to end the world myself so that we can live in such a pretty (ugly?) world.  As soon as my uranium is done…enriching…

The acting is about what you would expect: Commissioner Gordon doesn’t do his best as the bad guy in this film, which makes me sad, because he’s the best villain in every other movie he’s been in, even the movies where he is the good guy.  Denzel Washington is pretty much the same guy he is in every other movie, the loner awesome dude who doesn’t play by the rules.  I say this having seen maybe four Denzel Washington movies, by the way.  He’s particularly good in this film, I think the loner thing (with kung fu) works for him.

In this movie: Denzel looks up a lot.

One thing I HATED about this movie was Mila Kunis.  I use her real name because I’ve never seen her in a role that I didn’t hate her in, never was there a movie she didn’t bring down.  She may have a somewhat pretty face, but she really really really really can’t act.  Voice work or in person.  She is terrible.  She single handedly brings this movie down for me.  Her annoying voice, her terrible inflections, her stupid subliminal messages telling you to watch Family Guy, IT MAKES ME MAD ENOUGH TO KILL.

They never actually tell you how the world ended in this film, but there are some really cool little bits where we get a wide shot of Denzel walking and there’s a giant crater off the side of the road.  My money’s on it had something to do with robots.  They’ve started plenty of apocalypses yes?

I guess one of the huge things about this movie, if anything can be called huge, is its “overt” religious message?  There’s some stuff in there about the book Eli carrying being the guiding light for him, or being a weapon for Carnegie, etc, etc.  I don’t disagree with anything said in the movie about the book or religion in general.  Yes, it can (and has) start wars.  Yes, it can (and has) saved the lives of people who believe in it.  As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really get preachy or too into itself at all – it just tells it like it is.  There are a few moments where Denzel talks about following the good book and whatnot – but these moments are far and few between, and they don’t get too uppity.  You’ve gotta use the shotgun on uppity films – put ‘em out of their misery.

The fight scenes and action scenes are really cool, and pretty well thought out.  Not Matrix cool, but definitely better than (500) Days of Summer.  Man, that movie had shitty fight scenes.

It’s a little tough to review this film without giving away the ending, which, in my opinion, was kind of a mediocre way to go.  There were clues throughout the movie to let you figure the “twist” and on a second viewing, it’s fun to look for the clues – but overall, it doesn’t make that much of a difference, and it brings up a lot more questions than it answers.  Thankfully, I have a metal plate in my brain that allows me to look past plot points and details like that and just enjoy the film.  That’s not an excuse, mind you – No one likes excuses.  Especially not Darth Vader.  No sir.

Me?  I really enjoyed it.  It’s odd, because the people I went to see it with didn’t really like it at all – except for the visuals.  And the music.  That’s something I forgot – the soundtrack to this film is awesome.  It fits the atmosphere and action perfectly.  Like a glove.  A glove that fits on a hand perfectly, for those of you who don’t understand the idiom.

See? He's looking up.

This is one of those movies where you would buy it or watch it for one or two really specific things: the atmosphere and the music, and to some extent, the action.  The film excels in these areas, and the rest of the elements are just mediocre, making for a fun one to watch, but nothing too serious.

Did I forget anything?  Commissioner Gordon?  Check.  Atmosphere?  Check.  Ambiguous about the surprise ending?  Check.  Mandatory Star Wars reference?  CHECK.

I’m sick of this whole decade-at-a-time thing.  I’m a virile young man.  I need change and excitement.

…I guess the sane thing to do is stop writing this column.  But I made a promise, dammit.  So I’m going to get my kicks by changing up the “random” selection process.

STAND BACK!

SCIENCE!

**cough cough**  -see you next week **cough** is site down

One Response to “Article XIII – In Which I Practice Kung Fu in Post-Apocalyptica”

  • Alexis Jones Says:

    (500) Days of Summer had bad fight scenes? Who would have ever guessed….you Mr. Phil are silly. Love the articles keep them coming.

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