Contamination | Varied Celluloid

Contamination

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 22 - 2008

Originally written by Prof. Aglaophotis


Plot Outline: Our setting is near the edge of New York and the Atlantic Ocean; a ship is coming into the harbor, unauthorized and apparently unmanned. After the ship is docked, the police and medics take over, assuming that they might have an epidemic on the ship, seeing that the crew was not around. What they found however was something that could change the course of human society in a rather gratuitously violent manner: the police Lt. Tony Aris, Dr. Turner and their men find coffee boxes filled with green melon shaped eggs that, when under certain levels of heat, cause them to burst open. Unfortunately, those too close to receive the explosive gooey emissions of these exploding eggs almost immediately erupt from the inside out! This happens to all of the search party except for the wisely cautious Lieutenant. After being decontaminated for precautions, the Lieutenant is kept under the government’s local research facility and under the observation and assistance of Colonel Stella Holmes. Together, the two attempt to uncover the mystery behind the explosive eggs, as well as expand their duo with the only other person alive who encountered these eggs two years ago…during an expedition to Mars.


  

The Review: Impression, influence, inspiration and imagination: these are the four I’s that constitute movies that are made on the heels of box office hits. The four aforementioned I’s however are not such a bad thing for low budget cinema, seeing that when the four I’s are combined appropriately, a director can develop a film with enough originality, intelligence, perhaps even gore that will stick in the heads of viewers everywhere. With this being spat out of my mind, Contamination was crafted from impressions and influences with an imaginative twist of inspirations to be a rather entertaining film, regardless of some of the problems plaguing the full enjoy- ability. Some of this includes the rather ambivalent scientific themes and details involved as well as a bit of a plot thread that is sprouted up rather brightly for a few minutes and then immediately omitted thereafter, as well as a rather daunting pausing moment that makes the film take a long exhausting turn into sleeping action, suspense and buffoonery on the once serious-minded police Lieutenant’s behalf.

The cinematography certainly wasn’t bad as most objects and characters were presented in the best of lucidity, the picture was presented in a crisp manner and obscurity was minimal and the jump cuts initiated were leading to dialogue felt pretty effective in the movie. Acting for the most part was somewhat believable to a certain extent as some of the characters had different levels of pretentiousness to their characters which I’ll get to one under the plot thread omission, but these particularly sprang up during insipid moments of dialogue between the Colonel and Lieutenant. I felt pretty good knowing Ian Mucullouch did a good job of displaying his character with a more serious air. The soundtrack was pretty well composed by the synth-rock group Goblin (Woo-hoo!) as their tunes brought a subtle funky feeling as to what was all happening on screen that brought the feeling of national secrecy and some big wicked conspiracy going on. The audio certainly wasn’t too bad as the peaceful moans of the ripened eggs (they aren’t actually considered eggs, but seeing that I cannot come up with a more appropriate pseudonym for them, so they’ll just be called eggs in the review) became a symbol of danger and the bodily explosions sounded nice and juicy…almost ‘gut wrenching’. The special effects weren’t half bad as freshly dead corpses looked nice and juicy with bloody decimated flesh and chunks of entrails protruding from them and the majority of torso explosions looked nicely done in the sense that they weren’t too pretentious. It lessened my expectations as I expected complete bodily explosions including whole guts popping out of the bodies like oversized hernias and THEN exploding, but that wouldn’t have been realistic as they were in the movie. Now then, here’s where the denominator of this fraction comes up, creating a few rather impeding moments on the movie.

As mentioned earlier, the movie produces a unique plot idea: under immense levels of heat, the eggs ‘ripen’ so to speak, and explode (there’s even a part where the female doctor in the research facility says that they aren’t eggs, that they were an amassed culture of bacterial matter that undergo cell mutations under heat, but a sentence after her statement, she calls them eggs again…I guess she, such as myself, just couldn’t think of a better pseudonym at the time), but upon later discovery of the eggs, the Col. Orders her men to torch the eggs with flamethrowers to be rid of them…a WAREHOUSE full of them! Knowing that they burst under heavy levels of heat, torching an entire warehouse full of them doesn’t sound like a good idea on my behalf! Maybe if she ordered them to get doused with nitric acid, that would’ve sound a lot more reassuring than using an obvious disadvantage try to work for you. The real unfortunate part of this film however is its inevitable slow part to the advancing plot, in which we get closer to unraveling the mystery and we simultaneously are halted in what feels like (and I will concur with the director’s comments) a music-less James Bond film leading up to our gory/shoot-out climax. There was an earlier sense of suspense produced involving one character’s entrapment with a ripe egg, but between the sudden shift of the now comic relief police Lieutenant and the sudden lack of unique scientific ideas in the plot, the still hanging plot thread of eggie-weggs in heat, much less bodily explosions made the remainder of the film a little too rough to enjoy.

Regardless, Contamination is still a great example of the impression, influence, inspiration and imagination Luigi Cozzi produced in lieu of Alien. It shows how one can craft a unique film from an already superb movie in most levels of keeping most of the attention of the audience and creating some memorable visuals to the human eye. I am sure that between the two ups and downs one can find redeeming qualities in the film, aside from the joyous slow motion torso explosions. Though when your original male supporting character develops a weak development of character as an excuse as to why he suddenly turns into a blundering dork, they may not seem strong enough to enjoy as thoroughly as one would imagine. Still, Contamination is great to watch; regardless of where your expectations stand, I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of the content!

DVD Review: I think I’m falling in love with Blue Underground’s DVDs; they really know what to pack a great movie with on DVD format and Contamination is one of the films that compliment their hospitality. The features include contributions form Luigi Cozzi including conceptual art and forty-one minutes of commentary (split up into two interviews, one of which was recorded awhile back), which is surprisingly short, but highly informative as it is opinionated on occasion as to how Contamination (or Alien Comes to Earth or respectively, Alien Contamination) came to be and how Cozzi, producer Claudio Mancini and co-producer Ugo Valenti struggled together to make the film. It really informs the viewer a little of the Italian film industry as well as Cozzi’s in personal style of film adaptation and ideas.

Conclusion: Though I do wish there was a little more to it the features, it’s still a pretty good combination given the content so if you’ve the money, check it.



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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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