Remember when we all died from SARS, No? Oh yeah, that’s right, it never happened. How about bird flu? Didn’t really live up to expectations either, did it? But at least swine… ah, wait, there’s a pattern emerging here.
So what do you do when your epidemics don’t pan out the way you’d hoped? Make up a new, more gut-wrenchingly terrifying one of course!
I mean actually make one up, as in, make up en entire fictional world with which to place your devil’s disease in and some superfluous characters to contract it. Voila, you’ve created Contagion. Take that, reality.
It’s everything the media promised in the past, it’s like bird flu and swine flu mixed to form a super flu, only bird flu wasn’t evil enough, so swine flu cheated on bird flu with… bat flu.
That’s actually what happened in Contagion world. Swine flu mixed with bat flu (can bats even get flu?) to form a new super flu, which I can’t recall ever been given a name, I think it was mostly just referred to as “the virus” or “the infection” or “the apocalypse”, or something equally intimidating.
Obviously bat-pig flu originates in the east, like any self-respecting super virus it couldn’t possibly come from America. Bats and pigs don’t mix in America, but who knows what goes on in Asia, they’ve probably got game shows where bats and pigs fight to-the-death in strobe-lit pits while drunken businessmen sing karaoke in the background, right?
Contagion is a fairly formulaic three-star film, maybe three and a half if you’re into the whole scaremongering thing. There’s no point writing a “real” review about it, it’s exactly what you think it’s going to be.
However, it has a few points of note…
Ross Geller’s dad:
What he does isn’t important, what’s important is its Ross’ dad! If, after every one of his scenes you imagine him excitedly ringing Ross or Monica to tell them how he’s saving America it makes the film far more entertaining.
Jude Law has an accent:
The reason for his accent is never explained, however, he plays a journalist, well, a blogger. And as we well know, all journalists are flat-cap wearing Cockneys who like to hound scientists. To be fair, Jude Law is a Londoner in real life, but it’s tough to see how having an accent elevates his character. Perhaps they thought giving him an accent would make him seem less one-dimensional, if this is the case, they failed.
A man is immune:
He’s basically like a superhero, everyone around him is spluttering into their surgical masks and convulsing to death while this guy wanders around like it’s only a SARS outbreak. The only price he had to pay to realise his immunity was to watch his wife and child die horribly in his arms. Unfortunately our superhero widower doesn’t really use his powers. It’s such a waste of his god-given talent, they could have got an entertaining yet ultimately pointless side plot going with this guy – just like they saw necessary to do with every other character. After he learns of his superpowers he just uses them super-annoyingly coddle his one remaining daughter.
Laurence Fishburne has a moustache:
And it’s hilarious. It’s fantastic because after a while you stop noticing it, then, all of a sudden, it catches your eye and once again it’s hilarious. Maybe they should’ve given Jude Law a moustache too. Yes, they should have.
Walter White will always be the highlight of anything he’s included in. If you haven’t already, go watch Breaking Bad. It’s better than any film you’ll see this year.
Empire Calls Contagion, “A starkly effective ensemble drama which could well do for the sniffles what Jaws did for great whites.” Empire, as usual, is wrong.
Contagion is probably a far better film than Real Steel – where Hugh Jackman fixes a broken relationship with his young son by becoming the coach of a robot boxer, seriously – and definitely better than Johnny English Reborn – I’m not even going to comment on its finer plot points – however, If you’re making an outing to the cinema, it’s probably better to see something good, like Drive.