Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Top 5 Pandemic Films

Since the media is focused on the outbreak of swine flu, here are five films to remind us that times could be a lot worse:

Outbreak (1995): A fantastic cast (Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, and even Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey) keep this thriller moving. A deadly airborne virus with a 100% death rate is brought to a small California community through a monkey, leaving a group of scientists and military personnel to come up with a way to contain it. Scientist answer: study it and cure it. Military answer: blow everyone up.

The Andromeda Strain (1971): Based on Michael Crichton's novel, a satellite crashes near a small town in New Mexico, releasing an alien virus that kills the entire populace except for a little baby and an elderly man. A group of scientists in an underground facility must figure out a cure before the virus spreads.

28 Days Later (2002): Animal activists accidentally release a rage-inducing virus that spreads quickly through any contact with infected blood. Within 28 days, the entire city of London is decimated and abandoned, leaving only a tiny handful of survivors. It's like a zombie movie, only the zombies run at lightning speed. Not for the faint of heart.

Twelve Monkeys (1995): After 5 billion people are killed in 1996 from a man-made virus, only 1% of the population survives by living underground. A convict (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to 1995 to try and stop the epidemic, only to be accidently sent to 1990 and end up in a mental institution. Somehow the "Army of the Twelve Monkeys" is involved, and the convict must find out what really happened in order to change the future. Brad Pitt received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role as the deranged son of a famous scientist. The entire film is completely bizarre and makes you feel like you're going crazy. But maybe that's the point.

I Am Legend (2007): Robert Neville is living alone in New York, trying to find a cure for a world-wide plague that has either killed the population or turned them into weird vampire-like people. Charlton Heston fought the same vampires in The Omega Man back in 1971. While the latest version of Richard Matheson's novel has some unappealing elements, the spiritual theme of one man saving the world through his own blood is a powerful one.

So if you avoid all infected monkeys, crashed satellites, secret underground labs, and crazy scientists, you'll be okay!

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