In the 21st Century, terrorists have developed a new way to strike: disease. Not only have they created a deadly Level Four Ebola virus, their first victim is the President of the United States. The virus is particularly contagious and is spreading. If a cure cannot be found, the only chance for saving the world from epidemic is for the army to destroy the hospital and the town where the victims, including the President, are currently contained.
Directed by: John Murlowski
. Starring: Bruce Boxleitner
, Megan Gallagher
, Lin Shaye
, Tom Wright
, Dan Lauria
, Matteo Crismani
, David Wells
, Tim Van Pelt
, Jeffrey Combs
, Debbie Ann Thomas
, Noel Conlon
, Andrew Hawkes
, Tim Lounibos
. Music by: Tim Jones
Imagine you are witnessing a train wreck occurring, pre-collision. You see the trains barreling closer and closer and can do nothing but watch as the atrocity unfolds. You would be having an experience not unlike the one I associated with the viewing of 'Contagion'. (Warning: Spoilers ensue.) The issue with Contagion is not only the scientific aspect of the film, but also the atrocious acting. Several of these are present in concert with one another that give you the same 'What the heck just happened...wait, no that...what?' kind of feeling that you might experience if the aforementioned trains you were observing stopped one second before collision and decided to take flight and make their way to Barbados instead of ramming into one another, especially if it was mentioned that one of them had recently been awarded a six night stay in a fancy hotel there and decided to cash in on it at that moment, the ponderous thought that had ensued prior being the reason the two trains were at one point physically destined toward mutual wreckage.
However, I have clearly derailed my train of thought (har har, right?), which was previously charged with the goal of analyzing this film. Several scenes are clearly used in this film to exemplify the CDC doctor's attention to scientific detail and safety, which are summarily trumped by her general inability to keep unauthorized persons outside of an ancillary field laboratory (you know, space not guaranteed to general hospital staff, though a crazy manages to get in), as well as scenes where holes are left un-patched up in a large tube connecting that lab to the roof access door after the virus (Ebola) had been aerosolized. Apparently, as long as her actions were consistent with a scared human after a certain point, safety was of no consequence.
Then there was the President, who constitutes such an interesting dynamic to this story that they must be mentioned (oh yeah, and he happened to be a main character, doh!). Upon having a dart fired into his neck, the president reacts in a way that is simply laughable. 'I will go down in history as the only president attacked with a game piece!' exclaims President Moron, apparently unaware that anyone with the planning and nerve to attack the president would probably NOT be doing it just to laugh and think of how irritated the President will be after removing a DART FROM HIS NECK. Bwahaha! The random game piece terrorist strikes again! (Interesting concept, but plausible? Was that a no? You're good at this game!)
Then there was the interestingly redeeming scientific portion of the film, in which logic in the scientific sense was slightly consistent with human hypothetical thinking, but all other logic was chucked right out the window. The masterfully intelligent terrorists gave the scientist a partial vaccine. Now the initial concept of a partial vaccine is intriguing. I mean, if you don't give people enough antibodies, the virus still has the upper hand, right? But when you HAVE antibodies, which would be the only way you could get a medicine to be working immediately (remember, vaccines are preventative, not curative), it would follow that whatever an immediate cure would do in this case would be effective in a larger dose. So, what did our CDC gal do with it? Replicate it, test it, and make a full vaccine? No! Play to the plot like a lap dog and essentially pander to the terrorists' limited scientific knowledge? Yes!
So the concept of a partial cure is inconsistent with the terminology used. If we will remember biology, Vaccines are a dead or inactive version of a virus or disease that is used to trick the immune system into building up antibodies for use if you were to get that virus in an active form later in life or until the vaccine needs to be re-administered. These types of cures by proxy are NOT to be used once you ALREADY have the disease. The only way to cure a virus like Ebola once it is already inside of you is to inject antibodies into your system in greater numbers than the virus can handle. Thus the usage of a partial 'vaccine was pure quackery', only put there to facilitate plot progression. If anyone has any information to contradict my assumptions, feel free to lambaste me into submission.
Contagion receives a D- for premise and poor acting.
Review by craptastic_crap from the Internet Movie Database.