Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 5:29AM
You have to be careful with movies that have great casts and directors and cool concepts. Sure, it ought to work out, but even when they throw $200 million at such a promising vehicle the end result can hit the ground like a guy who didn't open his parachute in time. Witness: Robin Hood.
That brings us to Steven Soderbergh's quickly assembled Contagion, which has a very good ensemble featuring Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Laurence Fishburne and promises to be a more serious reading of the same kind of thing that made Outbreak a hit all those years ago. Fewer monkeys, probably.
It sounds fantastic, and Scott Z. Burns has already written what's been dubbed a "terrifying" script that beings with a simple sneeze, and he's pretty good, too. All in all, that's a movie to look forward to, don't you think? So we'll remain cautiously optimistic that going 3-D is the right move when Contagion is released next October.
Filmonic says Warner Bros. has set the date - October 21, 2011 - in addition to what shouldn't be surprising anymore, thanks to the entire industry falling head over heels with...um...$13 a ticket. On the plus side, even for 3-D haters, is that there are very few directors willing to take chances to the degree that Soderbergh does. The guy follows up Ocean's movies with Solaris, was the first director to embrace VOD, which he did with Full Frontal, casts a working porn star for her acting ability in The Girlfriend Experience, and makes a four-hour film about Che Guevara.
Of course, he also had an idea to use animated characters in Moneyball and eventually got kicked off the movie. They can't all be winners. He's like Brett Favre; if you can live with the interceptions...
The point of all that it is, 3-D is something Soderbergh hasn't really exploited, and I would expect him to not let his opportunity pass him by. He'll shoot for the moon, I think. And there's a chance it's the right move, too, because it definitely will have some sci-fi overtones. Not that it will be Contagion, but with the slavish devotion the studios are showing the emerging technology, it makes you wonder what the first 3-D film to win the Oscar will be, and when that might happen.