Day 2: Beth Emhoff has just arrived home from a business trip to China and is feeling terrible. She's got a splitting headache, coughing, high fever and frankly looks like hell. So doing what sick people do, she stays home and is taken care of by her husband and stepson. Soon though, it becomes apparent that something is not right. Beth can barely stand, is having trouble focusing vision, and shortly after collapses to the floor having a seizure and foaming at the mouth. Her husband calls 911, she's rushed to the hospital, but hours later, she's dead. A mere 3 days after contracting an unknown illness. Two days later, her stepson is now dead as well, after being exposed to the disease at home.

Contagion starts off like many other viral outbreak movies with a dramatic introduction of some deadly unknown pathogen brought over from a 3rd world country. What separates this movie from the pack of others in the same genre is that this movie attempts to stay grounded in reality by following the stories of 4 groups of people who are among those affected by a worldwide pandemic the likes of which mankind has not seen since the 1918 Spanish Flu. We follow the story of Beth's husband and stepdaughter as they cope with the loss, the CDC as they attempt to get a handle on the progression of the disease, the scientists who are working on a vaccine to treat those who have not been exposed yet, and a conspiracy theory blogger who claims to have the truth - and a cure for the virus.

While the movie may not seem like much, it has a huge AAA cast in it to round out the many angles the movie follows. There are subplots within subplots, story branches you don't see coming, and lots of other minor scenarios all playing out at the same time. Each is a part of the greater whole as the world deals with the massive outbreak. At times they cross paths, but at no point does anything get wildly out of hand.

That said, the movie suffers from a distinct lack of refinement in its presentation. For one, it was not done in widescreen HD format. Something which was immediately noticeable while in the theater. At times, it appeared as though it was very VERY low budget, with scene quality not much better than that of your average night of television. The soundtrack was extremely limited, resorting to recycling the same main theme music over and over as the movie progressed with only slight variations in tone. This may all have been a stylistic choice by the director, but despite the great story and the cohesive characters and plot, it lacked that star shine we've all come to expect.

As with The Happening, the movie had a great thing going right up until the ending where they more or less ruined everything by pinning blame on some evil mega-corporation for deforesting some backward hole deep inside China. Yes, you do get to see who Patient Zero is, where the virus came from, and how it crossed into the human population, but for the love of God, we're paying you guys $10 a pop for this stuff now. Leave the political bullshit out of it.

The bright side in all this was that not only did they skip the lameass Screenvision stuff they usually play before the movie started, but they even skipped the paid commercials. When the lights went out, we went straight to the previews and the movie. I HOPE it wasn't because the theater knew they had a dog on their hands but rather is a change in policy because our complaints have finally been heard. Well, I can dream, right?

On the Horizon

Frankly, not much. The only good preview was for Disney's John Carter, in March of 2012. Looks good. A sci-fi deal that takes place on Mars.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Sep 13, 2011 2:20 am by Samson in: | 0 comment(s) [Closed]
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