Contagion is quite a different movie than The Change-Up. On the surface, this movie looks like a home run. This story of a deadly virus outbreak features an all-star cast (Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet) and a big name director (Steven Soderbergh) at the helm. Like Winslet’s character, let’s do some forensic work, shall we?
Same Story, Different Results
Hearing about the plot, I couldn’t help but think of 28 Days Later. If you forgot, this movie was about a rage virus that hit London. The movie follows a few survivors and their fight to stay alive. This was a very gory, R-rated, horror movie. But it was very well done and memorable. Contagion pales in comparison. The mystery of how the virus started was interesting, but because 28 Days Later was seared into my brain, this P-13 redo had no chance.
Like I mentioned before, this was a who’s who of big name actors. Ironically, most performances fell short as I kept thinking “Wow, look at that big name, they probably could have got a lesser name actor for cheaper.” This cast reminds me of the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe, Shaq, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton. More recently, just look at the Miami Heat with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. A cast of All-Stars doesn’t guarantee a championship and the same thing applies to movies.
Jude Law was terrific as a popular blogger who gains more fame and power during the crisis. As the government tries to solve the epidemic, he adds fuel to the fire by causing panic while searching for the truth and his own personal gain. He played the guy you love to hate with aplomb. Is this art imitating life?
Like I said before, a big name director and cast doesn’t always translate to a mega blockbuster. Just like in basketball, a superstar or two surrounded by role players is the best formula in my mind. Contagion does make us more aware of being hygienic and what could be a very grim future. As for watching the movie itself, I would stay away from it like the plague.
Can you think of a mega blockbuster that did have a big name director and an all-star cast? What was it?