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Contagion

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Poster for the movie "Contagion"

Contagion

Nothing spreads like fear

20111 h 46 min
Overview

As an epidemic of a lethal airborne virus - that kills within days - rapidly grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself.

Metadata
Runtime 1 h 46 min
Release Date 8 September 2011
Details
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Good

They say life imitates art and that seems true where Contagion is concerned right now. There are a lot of pandemic/illness movies out there, but Contagion is the most realistic one I have seen. Most other films seem to be zombie movies, post-apocalypse scenarios, or comedies. The next closest film is probably Outbreak, but even that is grossly unrealistic compared to Contagion. Outbreak is a bit more fun as a movie, but far from being mistaken as a documentary. It Comes At Night is also a close second but carries a very different tone. The Andromeda Strain also merits mention, but the overall story there is very unlike a pandemic.

This is not the first film where director Steven Soderbergh used an ensemble cast and this film would not have worked without it. In any story where society as a whole is affected, it is easy to get too focused on one area. Many such stories focus on just one group of survivors or scientists looking for a cure. In Contagion, we get a little bit of everything. The character cast consist of scientists, government officials, and members of the public in different locations worldwide as events unfold.

The spread of the virus itself is incredibly realistic. At first, very few individuals grasp how bad this is going to be. As things get worse, governments on both local and federal levels are more worried about their bureaucracy than the outbreak. You have individuals who are looting for food and medicine, an individual spreading misinformation for his own personal benefit, and people both in and outside of world governments forming “us vs them” mentalities as supplies begin to grow limited. And throughout all that, the film bounces through the entire cast pretty evenly with limited character development so that the pandemic itself remains the key focus.

What is really great about Contagion is the sense of realism. This is not a film that necessarily has a happy ending. The characters do not find a cure and just declare “the day is saved!” and the film ends. Even after working towards a cure, which takes time, they still have to produce and distribute it. They know more people will die in that time, but there is nothing else they can do at that point. Ultimately everything winds up being ok, but the question “for how long?” looms over the audience as the film ends.

March 29, 2020

Power Rangers (2017)

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Poster for the movie "Power Rangers"

Power Rangers

Together we are more

20172 h 04 min
Overview

Saban's Power Rangers follows five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove — and the world — is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.

Metadata
Director Dean Israelite
Runtime 2 h 04 min
Release Date 23 March 2017
Details
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Good

Power Rangers was exactly what I was hoping it would be. Is this an A-list film that will win a bunch of awards? No. Will the critics like it? Also no; the demographic that is “critics” was not the target audience. This movie was designed to appeal younger teens today and adults who watched the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. In that, the movie excelled. The characters were (mostly) pretty good and there was a ton of action for the younger audiences. For older viewers, the movie has a ton of throwbacks and references to the TV show.

Since it is PG-13, this rendition of Power Rangers is darker and edgier than the original. The Rangers fit the “teenagers with attitude” description much better than their original counterparts. These are the troubled kids who are not really bad people but they are all going through hardship in some form or another that causes them to lash out. From family problems to cyber-bullying, each of them has issues. The actors and actresses portraying the Rangers did a pretty good job for young actors as well. The pacing for their character development was done very well; the movie did not feel fast but it certainly did not drag on either.

The action sequences do not really start to kick off until the last 1/3 of the movie or so. Rita was a pretty standard movie villain but it was great to see her backstory expanded. Zordon also got a more detailed backstory, which was also a nice touch. When the action did finally get going, it felt like the Rangers did not get enough screen time morphed. They end up hopping in the Zords shortly after morphing. While in them, the Rangers helmets open up to give the actors more facetime. Understandable, but seeing the Rangers doing more fighting as Rangers than pilots would have been nice.

This movie does not do anything spectacular but it is a great popcorn film. You are not trying to wrap your head around any great ideas; you can just sit there and chillax. If you do pop in to see this, stay for the mid-credits scene. Saban Entertainment has said they plan on doing about six of these and that scene hints at the next film. If these movies can go all the way through the original storyline of the show (up to the end of Power Rangers In Space) that would be fantastic, but we will see if they can get that far.

March 26, 2017