The Book of Fallout

The apocalypse appears to be progressing nicely.

If there is one thing Hollywood knows how to do, it’s rip off something popular. When Gladiator was a surprise hit, we got a rush of sword and sandals epics including Troy (shitty), Alexander (shitty), and 300 (shitty). Next, when Lord of the Rings hit the jackpot, we got a shitload of epic fantasies like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (average-good depending on my mood), Eragon (shitty), and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (extra double shitty for such a retardedly long title). After that, Twilight has hit it big, and there have been a million goddamn clones of that.

It seems that the typical Hollywood executive thinks, “Oh man, if people loved [movie X], then they’ll definitely want to see 15 more movies in the exact same genre and style! I’m a fucking genius! More cocaine and hookers for everyone!” This is no more apparent than in the recent Denzel Washington movie The Book of Fallout 3, err sorry, I mean The Book of Eli.

So how exactly is this a typical Hollywood rip-off? Well, it’s not a rip-off in the same sense that the Dawn of the Dead remake spurned a decade’s worth of mediocre zombie movies. It’s more that it is a near duplicate, albeit an inferior one, of the incredibly popular video game Fallout 3. The game takes place in the post-apocalyptic United States (ok, nothing new there, I realize that), and it features the adventures of the “Lone Wanderer” through a barren wasteland (I know, still nothing new). What sets it apart from everything else was how well it portrayed all the minutiae of life in a post-apocalyptic world.

  1. The Lone Wanderer was often attacked by roving bands of raiders. Was that in Eli? Check.
  2. The Lone Wanderer had to trade insignificant items (e.g. bottlecaps) as a form of money. What about Eli? He used Kentucky Fried Chicken wet naps.
  3. Non-radioactive water was extremely precious to the people of Fallout 3. And for the people in Eli? Check.
  4. Fallout 3 had a bleak, dirty, grayed-out landscape throughout the world. What did Eli look like? A bleak, dirty, grayed-out landscape.
  5. In Fallout 3, bullets are scarce, but people seem to find enough of them to use machine guns recklessly, without concern for running out of ammo. In Eli, bullets are scarce, but people seem to find enough of them to use machine guns recklessly, without concern for running out of ammo.
  6. In Fallout 3, the ghouls were people who were hideously deformed by radiation. In Eli, similar people are alluded to (everyone has to check their hands for deformities), but in typically lazy Hollywood writing, this plot point is never developed and their “ghouls” never make an appearance.
  7. The Lone Wanderer meets all sorts of crazy individuals, such as people who drink blood like vampires. Eli meets all sorts crazy individuals, such as people who eat human flesh like cannibals.
  8. In Fallout 3, there is an entire side-quest dedicated to recovering books that were not destroyed in the nuclear blast. In Eli, the main plot is dedicated to recovering a particular book that was not destroyed in the nuclear blast.

I could keep going on with more examples, but by now I think you get the point

Notice any similarities?

It’s not that they took a number of plot points or minutiae from Fallout 3 and added it to Eli. They lifted the entire visual aesthetic. Hollywood has always been good at that. Unfortunately, Hollywood was not able to rip-off another aspect that made Fallout 3 great. Its sardonic wit and intriguing, multi-faceted characters. The characters that populate the world of Eli are mostly one-dimensional, and lifelessly chug through the movie with no depth and very little humor. Hollywood usually manages to steal the look and feel of something, but they are rarely able to accurately translate the human element. This probably has something to do with movies these days having 12 screenwriters, and being directed by committee.

Despite these failings, The Book of Eli, isn’t a bad movie. In fact, it’s quite watchable. To be honest, I really enjoyed the first half. It showcased Eli making his way through the post-apocalyptic wasteland, slaughtering raiders, looting, listening to R&B on his iPod, and generally kicking ass. I thought it was fun watching my favorite Fallout 3 moments on the big screen. Unfortunately, as the movie progressed, it started to drag. The second half moved much more slowly than the first. It should have been a straight up action film, but instead they tried to make it “about something.” Hollywood usually fails when it tries to convey a message. The only message they are able to convey well is, “Hey look at these explosions! This shit explodes real good!”

More Mila Kunis, please.

This movie is “about” Eli carrying the last existing Bible, and how one man wants to steal it so he can control the world. You see, people are dumb sheep, and they will blindly follow whatever is in the Bible. In the world of Eli, however, the nuclear war was caused by religion. So, of course it only makes sense that everyone will immediately jump back on the religion bandwagon a mere 30 years later. Seriously? Did none of the movie’s 12 writers ever consider that? Idiots. Well, even with all that, the movie was still enjoyable. It wasn’t until the final minutes that the “surprise ending” reared its ugly head to destroy everything that had made sense so far.

Spoilers: Eli was blind the whole fucking time. Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right. All those times he killed rooftop snipers with a single bullet, shot down flying birds with a bow and arrow, and successfully butchered hordes of bad guys with a big knife, he was doing it with only four senses. Personally, I’m tired of Hollywood trying to make us believe that blind people having fucking super powers. They don’t. They can’t fucking see. I don’t care if they pay more attention to sound and smell and taste and touch. There is no goddamn way that a blind person is going to shoot a flying bird out of the sky with anything, let alone a bow and arrow. In fact, the only reason for this “surprise ending” was to show how the villain is foiled when he ends up with a Bible written in Braille. I’m sure those 12 writers thought they were really clever.

Fuck you, Hollywood. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.

Black? Check. Blind? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Piano? ...well, where is it?

Why was that the “surprise ending?” Why did they need to have a “surprise ending” in the first place? Couldn’t they have just done the typical good guy triumphs over evil story? Sure it’s been done a billion times before, but it isn’t a non-sensical “surprise” just the sake of having a “surprise.” You know what would have been a better “surprise ending?” If Eli turned out to be Jesus. I’m being 100% serious here. Eli should have been the second coming of Christ. He certainly kicked enough ass that it would have been plausible. Plus, isn’t Jesus supposed to come back and save everyone at the End of Days? That’s what this movie should have been about. Black Jesus returns in the post-apocalyptic United States to kill the shit out of everyone while he listens to his iPod. At least that “surprise ending” would have had some balls.

I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less than disappointment from Hollywood. Overall, though, this was a hell of a lot better than the typical drek we get served up on a weekly basis from those idiots in California. The Book of Fallout 3, sorry, I keep doing that. I mean, The Book of Eli did have good acting, a great cast, nice aesthetics, fun action sequences, and a tolerable storyline. Plus, they decided to rip-off some excellent source material, which is better than ripping off something like Transformers 2, which must have been written by someone who was functionally retarded. This movie isn’t horrible, and is worth at least seeing once.

Verdict: Average

Fallout 3 Verdict: Awesome

Eli should have looked more like this.

11 Responses to “The Book of Fallout”

  1. September 22, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Fantastic man, i laughed my balls off!!
    Keep the blog alive!!

  2. 2 Wolf
    January 16, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Great post, as usual.

    I feel like I have to point out, though, that the reason they checked everyone’s hands in the town was to see whether or not they shook uncontrollably, the implication being that people with shaking hands had been eating human meat. This is also demonstrated later on in the show when Eli and the girl go to the house with the old couple and the camera zooms in on their shaking hands right before they talk about having to get out.

    I understand if the movie was pissing you off too much to notice though.

  3. 3 Mike
    January 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I don’t think he was blind the whole time. I think he just knew how to read braille. While I wouldn’t consider Hollywood particularly bright, they are bright enough to know that a blind man cannot do half the things Eli did. And the other half of the things are questionable at best.

    I also read somewhere that the art director for Fallout 3 and Book of Eli were the same person. In fact, some of the actors in the movie provided voices for the games, such as Malcolm McDowell (Fallout 2, I believe)

    • January 4, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      I suppose having the same art director would explain why the two looked so similar. I like your reasoning for why he could have done those things. But I don’t recall there being any scene where Eli would have been blinded during the film. So, even though I like where you’re coming from, I still think he was meant to be blind all along.

  4. 5 g
    April 29, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Man this movie may have been meh, but I still want a sequel with mk kicking ass.

  5. 7 OCL
    July 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Haha! Nice! Interestingly enough, I’d actually released a similarly themed video through Machinima Inc. just a few days before you wrote this article. Feel free to check it out, although it may not be your style of humor.

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June 2010


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