Sunday, October 3, 2010

Post-Apocalyptic Mythology Part 1: What is worth holding onto in the vast wasteland?

When the world ends our trash will become treasures. Things that seem so important to daily life will no longer be of value, and things that we forgot or threw away will be gold. So when the world is over what is important? The film "The book of Eli" attempts to answer that question. The main character has a pack that he refuses to part with, and perhaps on the surface level that pack is important because of the titular book it holds. However, that pack is important for many more reasons beyond the book. Eli's livelihood is within that pack. Every character has objects that are of extreme importance in this post-apocalyptic world. So what would you need?

Of the three characters who remember the world before their needs vary greatly. The villain needs weapons, of all types. He is a collector of gasoline, armored cars, and fast vehicles. He has his own army well equip with bullets which are exceedingly rare, and has a town at his disposable trapped by his hidden water cache (which is what is most desired by all people). But despite all this power and wealth, he is desperately looking for the one weapon which he needs most. The female from the before times only needs her daughter's safety. Finally, Eli has a few possessions which he treats with religious devotion. First is his iPod, which seems to be the only way he sleeps at night. Second, his machete which is cleaned and sharpened with the same care one gives a lover. And lastly, of course, is his book, the sole reason for his existence.

This is a culture stores that puts the highest price on things like soaps, lip balm, and shampoo. Lighters are a dime a dozen, but nice clothing is hard to get. Guns are carried without bullets and most people travel by foot as gas is only for the powerful. Everything is hoarded with the hopes of a good trade, if for nothing else, for water. However, the two main characters who were not from the before time require less tangible things. The main henchman just wants a woman, and the main girl desires anything more than she has. It is not things she needs but ideas. Her hopeless world is too empty for her.

This post-apocalyptic world is complex and interesting. It shows the human interactions in the trade, theft, and gifting of possessions, which may not be necessary for life, but are for living.

I give the entire tale a 4 out of 5.

Holding tightly onto her beloved book,
J.R. West the Raccoon