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Contagion (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=232081&d=1325012746
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

88






Studio and Year: Warner - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 106 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Drama

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Matt Damon, Gweneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Kate Winslett, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Ehle, Sanaa Lathan
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Music by: Cliff Martinez
Written by: Scott Z. Burns
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 3, 2012







"Nothing spreads like fear"



Film Synopsis:

Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne and Bryan Cranston, along with medical journalist Sanjay Gupta, explore the real science of global viruses and what they mean to the human race. The world is preparing for the next biological disaster...but is it too late?



My Take:

Looking at Contagion based solely upon its stellar cast and director would easily lead one to the belief that it's got to be better than any of the other Hollywood productions based on the out of control epidemic/pandemic premise. I would say that assumption is more or less accurate. The story revolves around a group of characters beginning with a woman who returns from a business trip to Asia suffering from flu like symptoms which ultimately and quickly kill her. The reasons for this are unknown however the infection begins to spread and turns up not only in other parts of Asia and her home town but in Chicago. The disease is unknown, kills quickly and is moving to other parts of the world. The CDC and WHO begin deploying personnel in an attempt to trace its origins in the hopes of coming up with a vaccine. This leads the CDC to the original woman and her husband, son and stepdaughter. Meanwhile the WHO begins tracing the outbreak in Japan. Political pressure is mounting while the panic pot is being stirred by an opportunistic blogger playing both sides. Time is of the essence as the deaths are multiplying and the effects are beginning have global ramifications.

I liked Contagion but there are a few problems. The most obvious is that there are too many narrative strings. Characters are briefly introduced along with their respective subplot but they are either not played out to fruition or fully developed enough to satisfactorily engage. This adversely effects the pacing which made the film feel much longer than it was. There is a fairly deep focus on the technical aspects of how something like this would be investigated/handled which I found interesting. The theoretical side dealing with political/societal reaction had an air of melodrama but worked well within the narrative's construct. Despite these (relatively minor) shortcomings I think that Contagion succeeds in its ultimate goal which is to create intrigue along with a bit of mystery/suspense while speaking to the possibility of a pandemic threat. The cast is rock solid and is filled with lots of familiar faces. So, is Contagion worth and hour and a half of your time? I would say that it is but don't expect a thoroughly fulfilling drama/thriller that will leave you wanting to experience it over again.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for disturbing content and some language.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 84



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 92


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Contagion comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.

Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene and characters within it. The chroma range isn't diverse but hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are appropriately bland with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen were exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a clean, pristine quality that enhanced dimensionality and provided a looking through a window effect.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices are rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for active surround activity and extended dynamics however there is frequent use of atmospheric sounds that utilize the entire soundstage in support of the exterior/interior venues depicted in the film. The end result is an excellent audio presentation that renders the soundtrack's elements with aplomb.



Bonus Features:


  • (HD) The reality of Contagion - 11 minute featurette

  • (HD) The Contagion detectives - 5 minute feature

  • (HD) Contagion: How a virus changes the world - 2 minute PSA

  • BD-Live enabled

  • Bonus DVD of Contagion

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy of Contagion
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Final Thoughts:

Contagagion is a thought provoking pandemic thriller that proves entertaining despite a somewhat fragmented script. The cast/direction/subject matter hit the mark which keeps interest flowing and results in an above average film experience. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring pristine quality high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and bonus supplements that prove far less interesting than the film's subject matter. When you're in the mood for an enlightening bit of movie drama this is worth checking out.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
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post #2 of 21
Awesome...looking forward to this. Although I will say, movies about this sort of thing scare the you-know-what out of me. I work in the medical field and have education in microbiology, and the idea of any sort of pandemic nowadays is a scary proposition.

Wash your hands, people!!
post #3 of 21
I started watching this movie during dinner service on a flight over to London a couple of weeks ago, but I quickly tuned to another movie because the depiction of people with flu like illness was not what I wanted to watch while having a meal! But I will give the movie a rental when it becomes available on Netflix.

I agree with Ralph that there seemed to be too many story lines in the movie.

Cal68
post #4 of 21
how does this compare to out break?
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbase1 View Post

how does this compare to out break?

Having seen both, I preferred Outbreak. Whilst this movie was probably a little more realistic in terms of the way that society would react if a Pandemic was ever to take place, I found it a pretty slow paced film. I actually paid $18.00 to see this in Australia (about the norm for movie tickets here) and came out of the film thinking, 'well, it was OK'. Didn't have the helicopter chases, bomb drops and edge of your seat action as did Outbreak, but was a more sombre movie with a bit of Cheesecake thrown in for you as well (the whole Prom thing).
Overall, worth a rental but I won't be going out to buy this on Bluray as it probably won't stack up for a second viewing, as Ralph alluded to in his excellent (as per usual) review. YMMV.
Happy New Year everyone.
post #6 of 21
This film has a feel of being a documentary (at least in part) - I prefer this one over Outbreak because of it. I guess I'm not really into Hollywood over-dramatizations.

It's not a perfect film by any means, but I liked its realism. Definitely not a movie for germophobes
post #7 of 21
Will be worth a rental for me.
post #8 of 21
Having seen Outbreak i thought this one was right up there along with it. Both were very good in their own ways and scripts.

What i really liked about Contagion was the ending. Left me with the impression. Good ole Steven.

Gotta have this one.
post #9 of 21
Going to buy after reading Ralph's review. Feel like we need to support movies like this that do marginally well but have some "realistic" grounded story telling. It seems plausible stories in movies get rarer each year.

I still love Transformers' types but they do get the lion's share of the money pot and attention/press/promotion.
post #10 of 21
A couple people that I know who sat through this film said it was a "snoozefest" at best, but I will eventually check this one out as a rental. I hope I can stay awake?
post #11 of 21
I liked it. I thought is was directed nicely. And I would agree that it was a bit more realistic than Outbreak. I will proly but this one, thanks for the review!
post #12 of 21
I thought it was very well made and interesting story (nicely paced). I certainly wouldn't describe it as a snoozefest at all. I'm trying to decide whether to buy a copy or not....I'm trying to curb my spending and waiting to buy used.
post #13 of 21
slow paced? thought this didn't even give you time to breath it was going so fast. Felts like the beats in the music was constantly thumping.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goatse View Post

slow paced? thought this didn't even give you time to breath it was going so fast. Felts like the beats in the music was constantly thumping.

Agreed, I didn't remember a scene that lasted more than a few seconds and then you were on the other side of the world as the days clicked off while events multiplied exponentially .
post #15 of 21
I agree with those of you who said the pacing was solid. I felt that it kept moving along and it held my attention the entire running time. I thought it was a relatively realistic take on how something like that could go down.
post #16 of 21
Watched this last night, not bad, better than I thought it would be. Being in the medical/health profession, movie was spot on in regards to the response such a threat would initiate from a CDC perspective. Not only did it give you a good idea what happens on the inside during such a threat,, also drops a hint of the pharmaceutical / governmental conspiracy and or reality of contract awarding and what it means to the lab/pharm companies. Not to sure about Jude Law's role in the movie, would rather have seen the outcome of the village in the mountains as compared to Laws get rich quick storyline through misinformation. Anyway, interesting imo....
post #17 of 21
Tweaker: Since you're a fellow medical guy (I'm an RN), check out "Puncture" with Chris Evans. It's a new release I watched on Vudu last night. Not really a great film, per se, but it was interesting and based on a true story.

As for Contagion, as I said earlier in the thread, WASH YOUR HANDS, PEOPLE! lol
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

As for Contagion, as I said earlier in the thread, WASH YOUR HANDS, PEOPLE! lol

It blows my mind how many guys don't wash their hands after going to the washroom.

This movie has the best use of surrounds in my recent memory. Right from the opening scene, environmental sounds completely immerses you. Dialogue was crisp and clear. And I didn't have to crank it either (ahem Kung Fu Panda 2) This sound engineer should give out lectures.

As far as the movie goes, I was really looking forward to it but it ultimately fell flat. My mine beef is this there are too many narrative strings and too many subplots that it spreads itself too thin. In the end, I didn't care about anyone or their conflict.
post #19 of 21
This film was great im glad I bought this on a blind buy.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bing View Post

It blows my mind how many guys don't wash their hands after going to the washroom.

This movie has the best use of surrounds in my recent memory. Right from the opening scene, environmental sounds completely immerses you. Dialogue was crisp and clear. And I didn't have to crank it either (ahem Kung Fu Panda 2) This sound engineer should give out lectures.

As far as the movie goes, I was really looking forward to it but it ultimately fell flat. My mine beef is this there are too many narrative strings and too many subplots that it spreads itself too thin. In the end, I didn't care about anyone or their conflict.

I must agree....I was looking forward to seeing this. It started out fairly good but then fell flat and as you said, in the end I did not care about the characters and what happened to them. The sound was very clear and had a good mix. Overall just not a good movie.
post #21 of 21
This was a bit snoozy but it was interesting. I thought it had a very mild portrayal of how the violence, rioting and looting would be though. IMO not very realistic. Sugar coated.
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