nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

A cranky person watches Contagion

I liked the trailer for Contagion, and then I heard an interview with Laurie Garrett, the science adviser for the movie-- she was very enthusiastic about how reasonable the science was. (Page down to Contagion for the movie stuff.)

So I saw the movie last night. Perhaps it wasn't the perfect thing to take my mind off 9/11 (any suggestions?), but I did get moderately caught up in it and distracted by what I didn't like about it, so it wasn't a total waste.

I'd say that the acting, dialogue, and music were all reasonably good. The science all seemed to make sense.

It wasn't visually interesting enough for me to say that it's worth seeing in a theater.

On the specific level, since Garrett insisted on no evil scientists, we get an evil blogger. He comes up with a fraudulent cure, gets lots of money as a result, and is about to encourage people to not get their vaccinations. He has accurate information about a security breach by a high-status good guy, but I think the implication is that revealing this isn't worth it-- at best, it's neutral.

There is no hint that there are any other bloggers.

I'd say the movie has an underlying theme of showing that all the initiative should be with major institutions. When people outside the institutions do something on their own, it's looting, rioting, kidnapping, and spreading false information. The only bit of low-level initiative which works out well is a janitor who begs for vaccination for his son from his boss, and gets it.

Also, there's less than I would have liked to see about the actual amounts of social breakdown, and what the efforts to rebuild and maintain in the face of a plague would have looked like. Perhaps I wanted a novel.

Minor annoying detail: The evil blogger is pushing homeopathic forsythia as a cure. When he and a top science administrator are arguing with each other for the media, the top science administrator doesn't ask "How did you settle on homeopathic forsythia?"

Possible symbolic weirdness, and I do mean possible.... the woman who brings the disease to the US from Hong Kong. She picks it up in a casino, and spreads it faster because she has an adulterous interlude in Chicago on the way home. Is there a subtext that light-hearted irresponsible behavior brings death?

Anyway, possibly the worst date movie in the history of movies.

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