Sunday, June 27, 2010

“The Book of Eli” - Spiritually Inspirational Film or Confirmation of the Horrors of Religion?


[Warning: movie spoiler]

I like Denzel Washington -- always have. I also like action films. So when “The Book of Eli” came out last week I picked up a copy at the local rental joint, bought some Good and Plenty and Sour Patch Kids at Walgreens, and settled in with Mrs. Hump to watch Denzel kick ass and take names in a post apocalyptic America.

What we got was lots of slice and dice / shootin’ and killin’ as a middle aged Denzel (Eli) makes his solitary trek across a devastated landscape. Inhabited largely by low life uncivilized lawless illiterate rabble, the survivors and their off spring of a war that took place perhaps 35 years earlier, the hero dispatches hoards of evil doers with his uncanny martial arts skills. Armed with sword, shotgun, pistol and bow and arrow, nothing can stop him from fulfilling a spiritual quest as he heads west along the “Road of Death” carrying the sole surviving copy of the Bible.

We learn that the nuclear war which destroyed civilization as we know it, plunging the planet back into the dark ages, was a religious war. As a result all copies of the Bible were rounded up and destroyed by the survivors, presumably to prevent another such occurance

The voice of God in his head tells Eli to take his Bible west, guided by “faith and not sight,” [we learn later that Eli is actually blind, and is presumably able to kill everything in his path and appear sighted because of a God given “force” that would be the envy of Luke Skywalker and Yoda combined]. Eli quotes the bible to a rescued damsel who joins him, while being pursued by a megalomaniacal fiend and his henchman bent on obtaining Eli’s Bible thus using it to establish himself as the dictator over the region, if not the country. It’s logical that the Bible could be a catalyst for consolidating such political power; the surviving populace being largely illiterate, unschooled, and impoverished. Sound familiar?

Ultimately Eli reaches his destination, a pocket of civility and educated people who are dedicated to restoring civilization and are collecting and preserving the most important cultural and technological advancements of Man.. And while he loses his King James volume along the way Eli is able to dictate it from memory -- word for word, chapter and verse from Genesis to Revelation -- to the scholarly old scribe who promptly publishes it into bound volumes. Immediately after which Denzel croaks.

To the 86% of Americans who are believers, and especially to the 78% who are Christians, this is the story of a man obediently fulfilling a commandment from God to not let “His” written word be lost for all time. Thus Eli is given powers from God and a faith that compensate for his sightlessness, and who in spite of great odds, is carried by his devotion on a mission to repopulate the planet with copies of the Bible – sacrificing his life in this noble, indeed Christ–like cause.
The epilog if there was one, would be that God prevails, goodness will follow, and the Word will once again be spread across a godless planet to those who have never heard it, thus restoring civility once again. No doubt heart warming to religionists who will be brought to tears at Eli’s devotion, demonstration of God’s power, the promise of continuity of their belief for ages to come, and the opportunity for the ultimate salvation of Earth’s survivors. To theists’ it’s a dream fulfilling ending.

But to the thinking, to the remaining 14% of us, its meaning is much different. It’s a harbinger of the devastation that the divisiveness of religion, and the fanaticism that inevitably follows, is poised to one day wreak upon the planet. It’s a testament to Man’s willingness to ignore history condemning himself to repeat it. It’s an ode to ancient superstition, a justification for its bigotry and ignorance that will continue to pervade men’s minds far into the future. It’s a lost opportunity to rid mankind of the greatest deception and source of division ever perpetrated. To those of us who reason The Book of Eli is a horror story with a nightmare ending.

28 comments:

NewEnglandBob said...

When I first heard about this movie, I thought "A Denzel Washington movie, well his last couple of movies were dumb, but I'll take a look".

Then I saw the trailer and read a review/description of this movie and my baloney detector went wild. I refused to waste my money on such bunkum, piffle, poppycock, tomfoolery, twaddle, bilge, hooey.

Dromedary Hump said...

Bob, good decision.
But I still can't help but wonder if the meaning is more anti-religion than pro.

Rachelle said...

LOL! I like your synopsis, Hump. :)

DM said...

and btw, at best 4%...

and the vocal scumbags like you are less than 1%, hump


we'll deal with your types OUR WAY...

zarton said...

I'm with NEBob on this one, when I heard about it the needle on my B.S. detector pegged. I guess you do have the advantage of having seen it Hump and it sounds to me that it may have purposely written in an ambiguous way so as to let the viewer make up his or her own mind. The one question that comes to mind for me would be, "Why would a civilized educated people who did not have the bible have a need and/or desire for it in the first place?".

Dromedary Hump said...

Zar..ah..but the premise was that they weren't civilized anymore, or educated. Thus, much like DM or anyother mentally inadequate person they could be influenced by the biblical babble.

zarton said...

Hump, I mean the educated and civilized part that he was taking it to, why would they want it? Sorry if I didn't explain that part.
zar

Dromedary Hump said...

Ah yes....ok. You're right. You'd think that at least THEY would be smart enough to not repeat religiously influenced history.

DM said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
zarton said...

If only they would have made a sequel where Eli comes back from the dead 3 days later and tells conflicting stories to different people. Then a different guy would come along and have a donkey explain things him so that he could then contradict all the things that Eli said, then maybe I would understand it better. HA HA
zar

Dromedary Hump said...

Zar...you may have a career in writing screen plays ;)

DM said...

can't HANDLE THE TRUTH, eh?

DM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beyond Belief said...

Not sure if this clears anything up, or makes it worse, but there’s an interview with the Hughes brothers at http://io9.com/5447710/is-book-of-eli-a-christian-movie-we-ask-the-hughes-bros that focuses on whether The Book of Eli is a Christian film. They seem to indicate, as Zar says, that the script was written in an ambiguous way in an attempt to appeal to everyone.

When asked why religion would be of use in the future (if it was the catalyst for the great war in the past), Albert Hughes basically says that people are trying to apply logic where none was intended. He goes on to say the film has no agenda; it was made only for purposes of entertainment. However, he is later quoted as saying, “If you apply logic to a faith based religion — any of them — it will slowly start to fall apart.” (I would only disagree with "slowly").

When asked about social commentary, Albert replies, “People with too much time on their hands . . . too much religion on their hands can do some pretty sick and crazy things.”

Allen Hughes appears more religious than his brother, saying, “. . . And let's not split hairs over who God is or what God is, we're all going to assume coming in, even non-believers, that there's something going on. There's some energy, life force or interconnectivity we all have.”

Dromedary Hump said...

Beyond... excellent. Thanks for that.

Yep, clearly can be perceived both ways as Zar proposed. Good to see the film's creators arent whacked out religionists.
I know Denzel calls himself a Xtian, thus I'm guessing he was playing it from a religion = goodness perspective.

DM said...

there is no cure for you, FUCKER...

Dromedary Hump said...

To those of you who have been putting the troll DM's posting emails into junk mail, as you’ve all told me you are... I have been having them deleted from my blog which seems to have him quite aroused and upset.

I would normally leave them entirely intact, but he insists on making them stretched out with spacing instead of condensing them.

So what I'll do is just give you the condensed summary of DM's comments:

1) Yes, I am a schizophrenic. I often have dreams of Jesus doing Bukkake on me. I'm not so sure that's a bad thing. He seems to like it.
2) My mother doesn't give a shit what I do as long as I get to the night shift at BK in time so I can pay her some rent money.
She says she doesn't make enough as a hooker to feed me AND house me.
3) I heard Hump and his friends are planning a trip to Quebec in July, but I'm not hanging around to find out so don't waste your time.
4) I was molested by a priest while he was in my Mom's waiting room, but I'm ok with it now. I see him regularly.
5) I know there is a God he visits me from time to time. He must be Canadian because we eat Kraft Dinners and drink Molsons. He diddles me with a crucifix. Mom said just to take it like a man

Ok, the rest of DM's posts are directed a random atheist bloggers , but those are the salient points he felt necessary to share.
I'll transcribe and condense other posts of his if they are of equal interest.

DM said...

you are going to BURN, hump...

NewEnglandBob said...

Thanks so much Hump for helping DM to express himself. He will be forever grateful to you for helping him come out of his fog to express his very pitiful life.

Dromedary Hump said...

Bob,
NP. He seems to have issues with brevity, and anger. Here's the latest one just a few minutes ago:

[[[ DM has left a new comment on your post "“The Book of Eli” - Spiritually Inspirational Fil...":
YOU BASTARD!! I never said anything about God. You made that last one up!! Fuck you, and Hemant and the Amazing Randi. Especially RANDI BECAUSE he was responsible for my failure at my computer export business. ]]]

Kind of amusing when you think about it. :)

NewEnglandBob said...

Quite amusing, Hump. He has little grasp of reality. He doesn't even remember stating all that, even though he had admitted it to all of us several times.

Dromedary Hump said...

Symtomatic of his illness.
I'm just wondering how he found out about the "visit" to Quebec end of month.

zarton said...

I always thought that giving him (you know who) any attention was a step in the wrong direction. I am not necessarily backing off from that position, but I will say that your condensed version was not just hilarious but in all likelihood spot on.
zar

Dromedary Hump said...

Zar...well in as much as he is in a compulsive frenzie of posting..over 100 today I think... I thought it would just be fair to him to at least list the most important points he wanted to make.

given his condition it's the "atheist thing to do."

DM said...

Let me show you how ATHEISTS were partially responsible for 911

These ATHEISTS NEED TO BE ON THE TERRORIST WATCH LIST!

You don’t even have SCIENCE on your side…

You’re a perfect example of when PHILOSOPHY becomes an ENEMY OF LIFE...

http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2010/06/playing-mystery-card.html

not quite samantha with her *supernatural spit*, eh?

this isn't one of your little WORD GAMES...

blasphemy is a DEATH SENTENCE

you people actually BELIEVE the BS you preach!

GOD 1 - atheists 0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQcNiD0Z3MU


Atheists,
you are ENEMIES OF GOD AND ARE GOING TO BE ANNIHILATED...

Repent and turn to God or be destroyed...

YOU HAVE NO CHOICE...

my interpretation of the STATUE FIRE... it symbolizes the SPIRITUAL DEATH of atheism...

http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/topofthetimes/national/la-naw-0616-jesus-statue-lightning-20100616,0,4295974.story

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/6/16/1276680110544/The-King-of-Kings-statue--005.jpg

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2010-06/54332292.jpg


http://friendlyatheist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/butterjesus-1.jpg

PRINCESS DI IS WEARING A NEW DRESS!

http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/speechesandarticles/a_speech_by_hrh_the_prince_of_wales_titled_islam_and_the_env_252516346.html
______________________________
http://skepticblog.org/2010/04/06/would-i-ever-pray-for-a-miracle/

Shermer, I WANT TO SEE YOU BEG FOR A MIRACLE...
___________________
we do like your music Lady Gaga, but...

The B**BQUAKE - 911

Let me show you the FATE OF TRAITORS...

http://www.loiterink.com/photos/products/182_3424_500x500.jpg

they are incapable of telling the difference between SCIENTIFIC *FACT* AND
RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL *TRUTH*... FATAL ERROR!

they also preach a *VALUE FREE SCIENCE* called *POSITIVISM* that ignores the
inequalities of wealth and power in capitalist civilization...

for a sample taste of PZ Myers' GARBAGE...

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/06/sunday_sacrilege_imagine_no_he.php

HIJACKING IN PROGRESS!!!

http://hawaiiwebgroup.com/maui-design/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/website-hijacking.jpg

HIJACKING IN PROGRESS!!!

how can these HEADLESS IDIOTS BET AGAINST GOD!!!
________________________________________
what happens when you LOSE Pascal's Wager...

http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/pascals-wager.htm
____________
you FIGHT PAPER MONSTERS...

the blood and bodies of the atheist movement...

you mofos killed MICKEY MOUSE!!!!

this has more TRUTH then what Dawkins, Randi, Harris, Myers, and Shermer
combined have said in their entire lives...

http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=5R2wE8Sduhs&playnext_from=TL&videos=hht1U_19anc&feature=rec-LGOUT-exp_fresh%2Bdiv-1r-3-HM

they tried to BULLDOZE the entire METAPHYSICAL DIMENSION...
they LOST THE WAR......

you have FORFEIT YOUR SOUL, shermer... you have become an object in the material world, as you WISHED...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUB4j0n2UDU

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/7/11792994_ffaaee87fa.jpg

we're gonna smash that TV...

They had become ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE AND OF GOD...

you pushed too much and *CROSSED THE LINE*

degenerates (PZ) or children (HEMANT) - ATHEISTS!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRRg2tWGDSY

do you have anything to say, you STUPID LITTLE F*CKER?

how about I tell you, Mr. Shermer, EVERYTHING YOU THINK ABOUT THE WORLD is
*WRONG*

THE BOOBQUAKE - 911!
****************************************************
http://dissidentphilosophy.lifediscussion.net/philosophy-f1/the-boobquake-911-t1310.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx7XNb3Q9Ek

RUN, ATHEISTS, RUN!!!
-------------------
http://www.4degreez.com/misc/dante-inferno-information.html

the 9th and FINAL RING of Dante's Inferno is designed for little blaspheming traitors like you...

but at least FREE AIR CONDITIONING is included!

longhorn believer said...

Hump, thank you for starting this post with a spoiler alert! I finally got around to watching the movie last night and I skipped this post a few weeks ago because watching a movie when all the surprises have been ruined is my least favorite thing to do! I thoroughly enjoyed the movie from an artistic perspective and because I was truly surprised at the end that Eli was blind. I love it when a movie has a good twist that I haven't figured out or hasn't been ruined by some well meaning movie critic.

That being said, the fact that the Bible was saved from total historical oblivion and slid onto the shelf next to the Qoran and the Torah WAS horrifying! It didn't seem to me that the movie was a ringing endorsement of religion up to that point. I guess that was the other reason I liked it! It's interesting that a movie like that was made with any kind of critique on religion at all. I like to think of that as progress in the world, but it's probably just wishful thinking on my part.

I do wish someone could have pointed out to old Eli that if the end of the world had really come, according to the Bible he had so diligently memorized, there should have been a thousand years of peace and heaven on Earth instead of the nightmare he found, OR he was in hell and he was doomed to repeat his westward quest over and over again for all eternity! Hey......wait a minute! Maybe Eli was a child raping evangelist before he died. Now that would be a fitting version of hell for someone like that! Add a little bit more suffering at the end......perfect!

Morrison said...

One thing that is being overlooked is that although this was said to be the result of a religious war (as if secular powers would not use nuclear weapons?) the weapons that were used were made possible by atheistic scientists. (as Dawkins assures us, most scientists are atheists)

So if the atheist scientist were really that smart, maybe they would not have provided this possibility in the first place.

So, by your logic atheists were complicit.

Dromedary Hump said...

Morrison...
Thanks for your timely comment on this post.

So by your reasoning: Secular scientists responsible for the creation of nitrogen based fertilizer are complicit in the blowing up of the OK City federal building by Timothy McVeigh?

And given your logic, the chineese invention of gun powder makes them responsible for the millions killed by gunfire, and specifically the 2nd World War?

And the ancient pagan Greeks invention of "Greek Fire" is responsible for the burning Dresden, and the napalming of Vietnamese children?

I suppose that means that what ever superstionaist prehistoric man discovered how to make fireis complict in the Xtian witch burnings of the 17th centure in America and Europe, and the burning of witches in Africa today by Xtians.

Maybe the guy who invented rope is complict in having given you enough of it to hang yourself.