MOVIE: Pandemic (2007)

This is a made-for-television movie my Mom taped off the Hallmark Channel several months ago and we only just now got around to watching (we often will record movies like this and then wait to watch them until we’re together — by the way, Mom, I have a sci-fi disaster one with Dale Midkiff waiting for the next time you come to MY house!).

Anyway, we didn’t have super-high hopes for it — deadly virus movies are a dime a dozen, after all, and we’ve seen them all, I’m sure. But, despite its numerous problems (for one, it’s three hours long and really needed to only be two), we found it surprisingly watchable.

The movie opens with a pair of surfers on a beach in Australia, one of whom covers his mouth with his hand to cough, and then uses the same hand to pat his pal on the back and say goodbye. The pal heads to the airport and gets on a plane, where he too begins to cough, sending infected droplets plane-wide. And then he begins to bleed from the mouth. And then he dies. Man, I hate it when that happens.

The CDC is called in to quarantine the passengers on the plane, but, of course, you can’t have a virus movie called Pandemic that’s about a successful quarantine, so instead, one arrogant butthead sneaks out and hails a cab, spreading the germ to the cabbie, who spreads it to his next passenger, who spreads it to, etc. etc. etc.

This storyline alone would’ve been enough to make a relatively solid, if unoriginal, movie, but because they needed to fill that third hour, the writers decided to add in an extra twist: one of the airplane passengers also just so happens to be a Dastardly Villain in federal custody. He and the cop he’s cuffed to both get taken to quarantine, where the cop promptly becomes sick and has to be isolated. Meanwhile, Dastardly Villain’s pals begin working on a plot to bust him out, which we viewers know will mean even more spread of the germ. See above, re: Hate it when that happens.

Despite the fact it had too many superfluous subplots and not enough science, this movie was still what I would describe as “entertaining enough.” The mysterious bug is a derivative of H5N1, the infamous “bird flu,” so that lent it an air of timely paranoia, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by Tiffani Thiessen, who I mostly know as “Moonface” (as my sister and I called her) from Beverly Hills 90210. She carries the movie quite well, supported as she is by Faye Dunaway, playing the governor of California, and Eric Roberts as the mayor of Los Angeles. All in all, we were entertained. Enough, anyway.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: TV movie / killer virus

Cast: Tiffani Thiessen, Michael Massee, Faye Dunaway, Bruce Boxleitner, Eric Roberts, Vincent Spano

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9 Responses to “MOVIE: Pandemic (2007)”

  1. Cheryl Says:

    I have to read before I go to sleep. I just have to. I can’t sleep otherwise. But there is a problem with that. If I am reading something new, I have real problems finding a good stopping place. Often I’ll find myself reading until 3 and 4 in the morning, and on Sunday through Thursday, that’s a problem.

    I’ve solved that problem for the most part by only reading at bedtime either really boring things (my husband has a whole pile of biographies of politicians that works well) or reading the same thing over and over again. I’ve read all the Harry Potters at least 4 times now, I’m on my 4th or 5th copy of Lord of the Rings, and I’m thanking heaven and my husband for my complete sets of Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jane Austen.

    “What on earth”, you ask, “does that have to do with “Pandemic”?” “Good question”, I respond.

    Just Friday I picked up my old, beat up, copy of Stephen King’s “The Stand”. You may recall that the first third of that book deals with the spread of a bio-engineered virus – a variant of the old favorite swine flu.

    Then, this morning, as I was sorting the socks and folding the laundry, I noticed this exact movie, and fired it up. Unfortunately, my husband returned from his morning run and there wasn’t much laundry, so it was turned off before I saw much at all.

    Perhaps I’ll record it for the next laundry day after I finish this book.

  2. megwood Says:

    I noticed that it was on television today — incidentally, the IMDb site has started keeping track of when the movies it indexes are playing on TV, so if you want to see when this one will come around again, bookmark its IMDb page and check it periodically. They even do this on the actor pages — so you can see what things are coming up in the next few days that feature that actor. I love this feature!

    Here’s the IMDb page for Pandemic:

    And it looks like the next airing is this Sunday night at 11pm on Hallmark.

  3. aaron Says:

    saw the first half but for some reason the second was not shown. you say the next showing is on sunday night but the directv guide does not show that. any ideas?

  4. megwood Says:

    Bummer, Aaron — I don’t see it on the Dish Network guide either. So much for the IMDb’s cool new feature, eh? Weird they only showed part one. That’s lame with a capital LAME.

    It is out on DVD, so you might be able to find it in your local video rental place. Maybe that’s worth a try if you got hooked during part one and want to know how it ends?

  5. TekWiz Says:

    Watched the movie, had a great time! The plot was a little extreme, but isn’t that what movies are all about? I and my mom were really entertained, in fact we liked it so much we watched it over like 3 or 4 days! (Didn’t wanna finish it too fast)… How did I find it? I was watching a $1 store DVD movie Casablanca Express, and the actor was Jason Connery, son of Sean Connery. So looking at his biography on IMDB, I noticed he directed a movie called Pandemic this year (2007) but while it says it’s completed there is no information on any release date or plot. So I searched for Pandemic on the web and found another movie on IMDB, this one! So I looked on to see if there is a torrent and found it to be a pretty popular item! No reason to tape it off tv!

  6. megwood Says:

    Uh, well, there’s ONE reason why you might want to tape it off TV instead: ethics. But heck, who cares about those now that we have the Internet?

    That said, I do recognize that if it weren’t for all you guys stealing movies and TV shows off the web, I wouldn’t be able to download TV off iTunes or stream it legally off the network web sites, both of which I do frequently myself. We have you guys to thank for finally getting the studios to start thinking about how to make the Internet work better for them (and us). So, thanks! And good luck with those lawsuits!

    Glad you liked the movie! But next time, pay the $3 to rent it at the video store instead, okay? That way the people who made the movie — including Jason Connery — actually get paid for entertaining you. I’m sure Jason, and everybody else involved in the movie, would really appreciate that!

  7. TekWiz Says:

    Well actually there is a rent machine at the supermarket that lets you rent movies for $1.50 but most likely that won’t be available. Going to the video store to rent is difficult, since you have to actually go there and return it. Netflix is an option too, but it’s like $15/mo but that’s another expense on top of everything else and we don’t watch that many movies. It kinda feels good to be able to download movies for free. Hey they are free on TV as you say, anyway. But it kinda feels good to get stuff for free… Lawsuits, well that’s a very unlikely scenario for most people. Hey once, there were only movie theaters and that was good enough for the movie studios and producers. Now they get a lot of money from all the other sources. And many people just don’t really have a lot of money. Heck, to go to a movie they charge like $10 a ticket these days, so a family of 4 would pay $40, and considering minimum wage in the U.S. some people need to work a whole day for that. And hey, the government is spending billions on a senseless war not to mention thousands of soldiers killed, tens of thousands maimed and wounded, not to mention hundreds of thousands of iraqis. And all this with U.S.A TAXPAYERS money. So we are worried about a few more extra pennies to the movie studios? Gimme a break… Sorry but I had to comment. This doesn’t look like the place for this type of discussion…

  8. TekWiz Says:

    Well to put it simply, I saw a movie and it’s very easy to check on a torrent tracker if it exists at all online, and if it’s popular then it’s so easy to download. Or even on the newsgroups which is totally private. Hey people pay an average of maybe $50/mo for internet access, there must be some free stuff available. Hey if the movie studios provided the same functionality of open content downloads for say, 50 cents to $1 a movie that would be a real hit!!! But they are too greedy.

  9. megwood Says:

    Your argument kind of boils down to this: “I don’t want to pay for it, thus, it should be free.” Or, perhaps to this: “Everything costs a lot these days, so I should be allowed to steal ‘little’ stuff to make myself feel better.” These are bad enough on their own, but you completely lost me when you hit the part on the Iraq War. Dude, seriously?

    You’re right that this isn’t the place to discuss this issue. But I couldn’t resist pointing out the incredible irony of your original comment — you rave about the director whose work you have really enjoyed. And then tell us you demonstrated your respect for his hard work by stealing from him. There’s no real way to justify that position, in my opinion, and I felt like if I didn’t actively disagree with you, someone might think my silence was tacit approval of your suggestion.

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