Thursday, June 14, 2012

Contagion (2011)

I'll admit, at first I was prepared to write a really negative spiel about this movie. Here's the thing. The movie bombed, or so it seemed to me, because I didn't hear much positive about it, but I enjoy horror movies and stories about the end of the world (or close calls) so I wanted to check it out anyway, and at first I really enjoyed this movie. The movie had some nasty deaths (not much gore, in deference to the PG-13 rating, but still some icky creepy glimpses of various people shuffling off this mortal coil) and though I had one particular death spoiled for me before I even saw the movie, it was still hard-hitting to see, and I appreciated that this movie wasn't afraid to kill off characters we knew and cared about or didn't expect to see die so horribly. Disease like this, it doesn't care who you are or how much money you have, when it gets you, it gets you gone. All the riches of the Kings end up in wills and all that jazz. for at least the first hour of the movie, I was hooked.

What happened then? I'll be honest with you; I don't really know. It's like the filmmakers got the first half of the movie finished and then they were all like "now what?" so they wandered around filming people basically doing nothing for over and hour and then the movie didn't really END, it just stopped. almost in mid-sentence it seemed. don't get me wrong, by that time I WANTED it to stop, but still. I like my movies to CONCLUDE, not just trail off into nothing and leave me rewinding and fast forwarding to make sure the disc didn't just skip the damn ending. My favorite part was when one of the scientists explains, during the first half of the movie, how the virus must have come about (a bat and a pig got together and made little germy babies somehow) and then at the very end of the movie the filmmakers show us what happened and how the virus got its start...which is exactly what the scientist already told us. So they told us once and then told us again, for those who weren't listening the first time (those who WERE listening the first time got to be really pissed as their intelligence was insulted and their only recourse was to bash a brick through the screen which was highly unsatisfying since the movie had only seconds left so the brick solution didn't shorten the misery any).

I'm still annoyed with how the movie basically wandered around with its finger up its nose for over an hour, wasting precious moments of my life that I will never get back, but having let the movie sit a bit before writing this review, I'm more inclined to see there was some good in that hour of pointlessness. Some cool scenes happened, some interesting threads got resolved I guess, but it was still a big bang opening that fizzled out into a disappointing finish. Matt Damon rocked even in the weaker parts though, and Laurence Fishburne was compelling as always, and Jude Law was great as a skeezy slimy douchebag...and of course the beginning was really strong, so I'd say this movie is worth a watch for fans of such films. Just don't expect too much. Maybe bring a book to read or have some paint handy for the last hour of the film, so you can paint something and watch it dry and compare that with the action onscreen and see which you think is more worth your viewing time.

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