Plot Summary: The CDC races against time to develop a vaccine against an extremely lethal virus.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Stars: Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Jude Law
Serious Jest: (Must Watch) This extremely-entertaining project uses an all-star cast, as well as skillful camera work, engaging sound, well-timed editing, and appropriate special effects to show you how easily an epidemic could spread, the effects that the disease could have on the world, and what systems the world has in place to stop the contagion from happening. If you want to get a young person interested in science, show him or her this movie. I know it made a little part of me wish I was a CDC scientist.
Part of the film’s brilliance stems from its lack of an individual protagonist or antagonist. Humanity is the protagonist, and the disease is the antagonist. The cast is full of top-notch actors who play supporting roles…in fact, I would dare to say that there is no clear-cut lead. Each of them has an important part of the story to tell, a slice of humanity to illustrate…and they do it very well.
To that end, the movie’s makers did a great job of keeping individual character development to a low, fleeting level. You identify with or dislike the different characters because of the aspects of humanity that they represent, but not because you spent a half hour learning about their particular lives and growing particularly attached. Too much individual character development in a project like this, during which you don’t really have the time to fully develop those characters, and you end up with World War Z, in which you feel like you’re supposed to care about the individual characters but you don’t because they’re only halfway developed.