DOASKDOTELL REVIEWS of films dealing with avian influenza or other natural pandemics (Fatal Contact; Pandemic, Fatal Error, The Summit)
Toward the end, the epidemic seems to be dying down and life is returning more to normal (which would be problematic), when a second wave with 100% fatality gets started in Angola, where person’s may be weakened already by HIV.
Pandemic (2007, Hallmark / RHI / Larry Levinson, dir. Armand Mastrioanni, 170 min, PG-13) A 19-year old Californian, while hiking and surfing in Australia, becomes ill in an area where dead birds are found. He gets on an Icelandic flight to Los Angeles, becomes ill, and dies in flight. The passengers are quarantined at LA (although the CDC first refuses to call it a quarantine, instead calling it "active intervention"). Step by step, the virus, worse than the Spanish flu of 1918 (it seems to be still a new virus, not just H5N1 as known so far, but a fictitious strain called H3N7 to which the public has even less immunity; the disease is called the "Riptide Flu"), spreads through LA from this one index case. But a drug kingpin was on the flight and led a breakout from quarantine, contributing to the epidemic. It's not likely that it would really happen this way.
The clinical course of this fictitious flu is horrific, with coughing up blood, and the lungs liquefying, and something like a 20% mortality rate, with the young and strong the most vulnerable (as with Spanish flu).
The film starts walking through the science, and for a while people naively believe Tamiflu could save them. The drug Cotoxin is presented as the antidote instead. Faye Dunaway (from "The Starlet" -- "don't call us, we'll call you") is the governor, and she is a bit of a pill, quarantining the entire city of Los Angeles from the rest of the world and then imposing formal martial law. (When the law is only words, it doesn't work, she says.) As the bodies pile up, they are thrown into mass graves just as in the Holocaust.
Finally, there is sunshine. A treatment is devised from the anti-bodies or immune cells of people who have recovered from tuberculosis; The cells prevent the virus from attaching itself to cells in the respiratory tract.
The style of "storytelling" and movie showmanship is rather trite and stereotyped.
A great line to a fibbie: "Don't you ever get tired of talking to yourself?" Answer. "No. I'm my own best company!"
There is an unrelated but similar novel by Daniel Kalla called "Pandemic". An episode of NBC’s “Heroes” on Nov. 5 also presumes a pandemic in 2008.
Fatal Error (1999, Artisan / Lionsgate /Ver Zerneck / Stephanie Germain, dir. Armand Mastrioanni, novel by Ben Menzrick, 99 min). This is sort of a variation of "The Ring". Here, people watching particular web-tv broadcasts from a Seattle company called Digicron, about to announce a new complete product for home Internet, get infected through their eyes with a computer virus that can also infect humans and cause their cells to calcify quickly. It starts with a meeting of seven lawyers hooked up to a rival in Australia. In the meantime, virologist Jack Baldwin (Antonio Sabato Jr., who was on the TV series "Earth 2"), is working as an emergency tech after getting fired for breaking rules. He gets on to this to track down the virus and the villain virus writer. The end reminds one of a scene from "V". Sabato, his forearms shaved, looks as though he had been disinfected and scrubbed permanently for all future surgeries as part of MRSA infection control. A related concept occurs in a novel by "The Trojan Project" by Edmund Contoski, link here.
The Summit (2008, CBC / Sfatesburg / Powerfilm /ION, 180 min, dir. Nick Copus, Canada) imagines terrorists infecting people with HIV and then live smallpox vaccines from a corrupt pharmaceutical company, and sending them to a G8 summit. Blogger.
Robin Cook's Virus; Outbreak
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