Post-apocalyptic movies are by no means unexplored territory. The Book of Eli has a very strong idea which gave it the premises to be different. To a large extent it failed.

source www.imdb.com

As 2012 happens to have been the previous film that I had seen I can say that to a certain extent The Book of Eli happens a few decades after 2012 ends. it is just that nobody prepared big ships to save mankind, and the survivors seem to be in their greatest majority the strong and the mean. Worst than this, society lost its memory, including most of the technology and social skills and above all morality. Books are forgotten, reading is not taught any longer to the younger generations, and above all religious books and especially The Bible were destroyed, as they were perceived as the root of the evil that almost destroyed the planet. All Bibles but one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6UvIwyjLxw

(video source hitflixcom)

The motive of the film would have allowed a deep introspection into the dichotomy of religion as savior and molder of the moral fiber of humanity, and as factor of destruction and fanaticism. Unfortunately this is not the film that The Book of Eli is on screens. There are two reasons for this. One is that the Hughes brothers (whose previous From Hell is maybe the best jack Ripper film made ever) chose to focus on the spectacular aspects of the post-apocalyptic world vision rather than on the psychological aspects. Solving such a deep dilemma with the tools of the good guys vs. bad guys tools is cheap, even if a lot of talent was invested in building the vision. Second the moralistic approach is dogmatic and the ultimate result seems dogmatic. Believers will be satisfied by the approach. Skeptics will not be convinced. I am a skeptic.

(video source TributeMovies)

We are so left with a film which is much better than the usual post-apocalyptic stuff, but much less than it could have been. I liked the exquisite camera work. I enjoyed acting, Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman are very well cast and fit the vision of the directors. I liked much less the details of the loss of memory of mankind – these are not very original or credible. Despite the very interesting premises we are left in The Book of Eli only with a well filmed and well acted and very watchable version of humanity in rags and with a religious predicament that many of us could have skipped.

A lot of good information and any critical views (some better then mine) can be found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1037705/.