I know Hollywood loves sequels. They crank out a new Saw every year and if I remember correctly Back to the Future Part 3 came out only a few months after part 2, but to release the second part of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a mere six weeks after the original movie seems the height of hubris.
Contagion starts exactly where Rise of the Planet of the Apes left off. We’re in an airport where someone has a vicious cough that is the first symptom of a deadly virus that will threaten humanity.
The movie proceeds as a tight, fast paced thriller following a medley of people affected by the epidemic. The infected, the exploiters of the disease, the governments looking to find a cause and a cure for the disease are represented by some of your favorite movie stars.
Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, and Kate Winslet all do a nice, subtle, unshowy job acting out characters in a world facing apocalypse. The movie is shot documentary style taking itself deadly seriously ( I can’t remember a joke cracked in the entire movie). With the ease with which the movie went from character to character and setting to setting and by forcing big name actors to all play supporting roles Contagion reminded me of how Robert Altman might have made a Hollywood thriller.
Contagion’s a gripping, intense movie that I would recommend to anyone not already suffering from neuroses about germs. The movie even serves as a timely public service announcement that we should all stock our pantries with canned foods and batteries in case of a disaster. And to this vegan’s delight the movie shows the dangers of animal consumption (even though the person in charge of continuity should have noticed the cause of this plague contradicts what we learned in Rise of the Planet of the Apes).
But in spite of all the positive qualities of Contagion the whole time I kept wondering where were the apes? We see a couple monkeys in a lab being tested for a vaccine, but they don’t talk and they don’t fight and they don’t wear any clothes. I suppose we’ll have to wait until Part 3 of Rise of the Planet of the Apes to see what Caesar and his simian buddies have been up to.