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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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'Book of Eli': Huge Christian blockbuster or action movie dud?

Who knew? I thought the "The Book of Eli," the new Denzel Washington film that opens Friday, was supposed to be part of the new wave of "The Road"-style post-apocalyptic thrillers that represented Hollywood filmmakers' underlying pessimism about the future of the world. (The film's trailer shows Washington -- wearing shades, military-style fatigues and a backpack with a nasty-looking machete -- grimly wandering the desolate landscape, the sheer desolateness of the landscape having apparently turned his hair gray.)

Movie_BookOfEliPoster The early reviews have not been good. So far, the film has a lowly 23 on Rotten Tomatoes, with Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman calling it a "ponderous dystopian bummer that might be described as 'The Road Warrior' without car chases."

But wait. It turns out that the movie may end up being a huge hit in the heartland, since to hear the New York Post's Kyle Smith tell it, the film is actually a "Christian blockbuster." Smith, one of the few openly conservative critics at work today, comes up with a "Road Warrior" reference of his own, this being a movie destined to inspire all sort of comparisons to the Mel Gibson-starring 1981 futuristic classic. Except Smith sees "Eli" as being "like 'The Road Warrior' as rewritten by St. Paul."

Full of praise for the Hughes brothers-directed picture, he says that "Eli" is not only "a well-done action movie, but an overtly, unabashedly Christian one in which Denzel Washington plays a soldier of God. He's on a divinely inspired quest -- yes, a literal mission from God -- to take The Book to the West as a swarm of wrongdoers led by Gary Oldman try to stop him."

I've read enough of the Bible to know that it's a book with at least as much blood and savagery as any James Ellroy crime novel (as evidenced by the recent R. Crumb version of the Old Testament -- which is notable for being (a) literal and (b) jam-packed with violence and sex), but I'm not so sure that Middle American evangelicals will flock to see a film with so much bloody mayhem and such a grim view of the future. But Smith insists the movie is "going to do heavenly business at the box office." Is he being too optimistic? We'll be watching the film's box-office numbers this weekend -- and its all-important CinemaScore rating -- and see whether we've got a true Christian blockbuster or just another futuristic dud on our hands.

 
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I am a Charismatic Christian from the Midwest and saw this movie today. My wife and I really enjoyed it. I'm a huge fan of post-apocalyptic, sort of my "Little House on the Prairie." They're stories that show humanity tested beyond the comforts that we always think we'll have. This film really stands as a illustration of a "world without the Lord" and I didn't find the gore at all off-putting. I don't want to say that I'm a "different" Christian than my brothers and sisters of faith, but being a relatively new Christian, I see things a bit differently and feel that portrayals of violence are just that, portrayals. The underlying themes in this movie are far more important than a guy getting his hand chopped off or a head flying off the shoulders of a marauder. I, for one, never let a few dead bodies get in the way of a good story.

I just saw the movie today and I think it is the most fantastic movie I have seen. I think this movie is a message from God for us, we are warriors of God and we are all like Eli avoiding temptations of the devil to follow God´s word and take it to those who don´t know him yet. I used to live a life like the one gary oldman offered Eli, he told him don´t go, stay here, i have plenty of food, water, women and he said no thank you he avoided all temptation, he did not sell him self for no piece of bread, sex or even water, he said i am not interested in that.

That is us today telling satan we are not interested in his world, we are interested in following jesus and his word no matter what. The world today is in its end and people fail to see it because of their narrow spiritual sense, but can you see the sun how heavy it is these days? satan is distracting us in so many ways, you can not even imagine.....food, tv, false profets, etc etc,....the only solution is to know the God from the bible....our sword is the bible...its our weapon....

I am just trying to say that i felt fully identified with this movie. I really feel like that woman that experienced jesus, that saw him, that felt him, that hears him and now is ready to go back and fight for her people, to tell those who don´t know him, hey here is the bible, here is the word, do you want to kill your self, maybe die of heat, thirst or do you want to listen to the word, learn about a God that has mercy and that is life, now you need thirst of him....

are you waiting for something that dramatic to happen to get to know him?? are you really? why not know before it is too late? which God will you call when this is all ending?

and yes the bible can be used to manipulate and it happens now a days, thats why you can not follow a man or a pastor or a human, you have to follow that God that talks to you, the God of the bible....you cant hear him? quiet your mind, quiet your world.....

I saw the ending and all i want to do now is be with jesus, ive had my own apocalipse and ive lived the world plentyful and nothing fullfills you more than a relationship with God, I am a warrior of God and I today felt like Denzel avoiding all temptations to love and be with jesus, taking his message to those needing....

In the past i was passionate about so many other things, other people, other causes, the plants, other Gods, stones, energies, stars...etc etc but when i was down in hell, when i was captive the only name i called and answered was jesus´s name and he rescued me.....I hope one day I can talk to all the people I convinced of other things and tell them God and his word is the only hope, I really from my heart encourage everyone to follow him, he is the only real hope....i dont want to scare you telling you that the end is coming because this is not about scaring anyone, but just see out there and see with your own eyes what is happening and decided wether you want to walk and endless road or you want to walk a road with a purpose.

God loves you! And he is the creator of everything and he is bigger that everything we see and bigger than our imagination. He rescued me, he made me a new person and now I can´t be ashamed of telling you this, because time is almost up. We need to really think of what is valuable to us.

So this movie is more than a Christian blockbuster, this is a message from GOD, so people start bending knees to him, this movie is for the Glory of the lord and I was praying while I saw it today and people approached me and they took jesus in their heart. There is a strong man in this world and we all know he tries to distract us from the real purpose, specially in this times but I am telling you, the God you have in your heart is bigger and he is fighting those finghts for you, you just have to believe, walk on faith not by sight.

I am touched, God is calling....He is calling.....PLEASE LISTEN!!!!!! Don´t wait till its too late and do not forget, do not follow the man....follow his word....I love you! And I hope one day I can speak my testimony to nations, I am now with this message!

Glory to the Lord!
Amen

Greatly enjoyed the movie. To be honest I probably wouldn't have seen it if it weren't for you article a day or two before the release. More often than not I find myself agreeing with Fandango fan ratings more than anything else these days...


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