Virus Preview

As Jamie heads out of the apartment he almost bumps into a delivery man carrying a large wooden box. After he drops it off, Jamie waits a moment before asking the obvious question… “what’s that?” Patrick looks up confused. “Oh… you mean the box? I got a safe to keep the Obsidian Dongle in but now… you know… we don’t have it anymore.” Jamie nods. Makes sense. No need to investigate further or even think about that box. It’s obviously nothing that anybody needs to worry about. With that clearly unimportant event out of the way Jamie heads downtown whistling Starring Jason Derulo. It sure is catchy. As he approaches WARR, their local pirate radio station, he is shocked to find a “Closed” sign up in the window. Whaa-whaaa-whaaaaaa? Quickly snatching the transistor radio out of his pocket he tunes it to the station and hears only static. What the heck is going on? He walks down the street getting odd glances from everyone he sees. But really he should be giving them weird glances. Seems a bit warm to be wearing face masks. When he arrives at the second most popular local pirate radio station WGRG the owner is just locking up. “Oh thank god,” Jamie says relieved, “I have a hot new track that needs to drop fast for the latest FMV VR video game craze for the gucci crowd.” The owner understands all this perfectly but informs him that because of the virus he’ll have to send it via email. “Virus?” Jamie asks and the man snorts. “What have you been living under a rock?” Jamie, insulted, is about to inform him that no, he just happened to be saving the world for the last year (thank you very much) when everything clicks into place. A pandemic! That’s right! We’re appropriately watching Virus starring Jamie Lee Curtis. She considers it the worst film she’s made and so I’ve been pretty excited to catch it one of these days. It also had what is widely considered a terrible video game associated with that, so Patrick can have fun with that. Let’s go!

Virus (1999) – BMeTric: 60.1; Notability: 44

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.4%; Notability: top 31.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 5.4% Higher BMeT: Baby Geniuses, Inspector Gadget, Universal Soldier: The Return, Wild Wild West, Wing Commander, The Haunting, Dudley Do-Right, Bats, The Rage: Carrie 2; Higher Notability: Wild Wild West, Inspector Gadget, The 13th Warrior, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Haunting, Idle Hands, End of Days, Joan of Arc, My Favorite Martian, The Out-of-Towners, Random Hearts, Crazy in Alabama, Double Jeopardy, Instinct, Stigmata, The Bone Collector, In Too Deep, Entrapment, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, The General’s Daughter, and 4 more; Lower RT: Baby Geniuses, The Mod Squad, Universal Soldier: The Return, The Omega Code, The Bachelor, Eye of the Beholder, Wing Commander, Chill Factor, Body Shots, End of Days, My Favorite Martian; Notes: Really solid, the IMDb rating is absurdly low. We’ve almost seen all of those Higher BMeT films. Inspector Gadget and The Rage: Carrie 2 are the only non-BMT … which is incredible.

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – The last half hour of the movie is almost unseeable. In dark dimness, various human and other figures race around in a lot of water and flashlight beams, and there is much screaming. Occasionally an eye, a limb, or a bloody face emerges from the gloom. Many instructions are shouted. If you can explain to me the exact function of that rocket tube that turns up at the end, I will be sincerely grateful. If you can explain how anyone could survive that function, I will be amazed. The last shot is an homage to “The African Queen,” a movie I earnestly recommend instead of this one.

(I might just have to go ahead and watch The African Queen. Although I’ll watch both … I don’t need to make a choice or anything. I don’t look forward to watching this film in broad daylight on my old dim television and being like “THIS DIRECTOR IS AN IDIOT!” when it is actually mostly me watching it like an insane person.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEFf78HegJg/

(Oh shit is that a ghost ship with the most ship? Blast from the past with Mir as well, which fell back to Earth in 2001 (a mere two years later). Really went for the “return of the scream queen” ending there with a clear jump scare a la Alien as well.)

Directors – John Bruno – (Known For: Heavy Metal; BMT: Virus; Notes: Nominated for 6 Academy Awards for special effects (and won for The Abyss). Notable for working closely with James Cameron, this was his only live action full length directorial effort.)

Writers – Chuck Pfarrer (creator: Dark Horse Comic Book series: “Virus” & screenplay) – (Known For: Darkman; Hard Target; Future BMT: Red Planet; Navy Seals; The Jackal; BMT: Barb Wire; Virus; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Barb Wire in 1997; Notes: He was a Navy SEAL, the details of which are written in his autobiography Warrior Soul.)

Dennis Feldman (screenplay) – (Known For: Just One of the Guys; Real Men; BMT: Species II; Virus; Species; The Golden Child; Notes: Brother of Randy Feldman who wrote Tango & Cash, and son of the producer Phil Feldman. Went to both Harvard and Yale.)

Actors – Jamie Lee Curtis – (Known For: Knives Out; Trading Places; True Lies; Halloween; Halloween; Escape from New York; My Girl; Freaky Friday; A Fish Called Wanda; The Fog; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; Terror Train; Forever Young; Veronica Mars; From Up on Poppy Hill; Prom Night; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Blue Steel; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; My Girl 2; You Again; Drowning Mona; House Arrest; Halloween II; BMT: Virus; Christmas with the Kranks; Perfect; Notes: The original Scream Queen. The daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, she is also married to Christopher Guest. She’s been nominated for a Primetime Emmy (Nicholas’ Gift) and won two Golden Globes (True Lies and Anything but Love).)

Donald Sutherland – (Known For: The Hunger Games; Pride & Prejudice; National Lampoon’s Animal House; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; A Time to Kill; Ad Astra; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2; Horrible Bosses; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1; M.A.S.H.; The Italian Job; Cold Mountain; JFK; Klute; Lord of War; Fallen; Backdraft; Outbreak; Deception; Ordinary People; Future BMT: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; The Art of War; Shadow Conspiracy; The Eagle; The Puppet Masters; Instinct; Catholic Boys; BMT: Virus; An American Haunting; Fool’s Gold; Lock Up; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Lock Up in 1990; Notes: Father of Kiefer Sutherland. Won an Emmy (Citizen X) and two Golden Globes (Citizen X and Path to War). Was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2018. Is set to feature in Roland Emmerich’s action film Moonfall.)

William Baldwin – (Known For: Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Backdraft; Born on the Fourth of July; Internal Affairs; The Squid and the Whale; Flatliners; Bulworth; Aftermath; Curdled; Maximum Impact; Three of Hearts; You Stupid Man; Adrift in Manhattan; The Broken Key; Noise; Park; Relative Values; Jock; Say Nothing; Dino Time; BMT: Virus; Sliver; Fair Game; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Sliver in 1994; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Fair Game in 1996; Notes: Incredible flex by us clearing out Billy’s qualifying films within a few weeks of each other. Both him and Stephen Baldwin were Calvin Klein models prior to pursuing acting.)

Budget/Gross – $75,000,000 / Domestic: $14,036,005 (Worldwide: $30,657,854)

(Disaster, but I don’t know what they would have thought it would be otherwise? It is based on an obscure Dark Horse comic … but they were expecting what? $150 million. Insane.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (6/49): Despite its great special effects, this movie’s predictability greatly undermines its intensity.

(Oooo, I’m excited for some “good” effects from the late 90s. Reviewer Highlight: A derivative sci-fi shocker that isn’t likely to spark much interest beyond its target audience of undemanding genre fans. – Joe Leydon, Variety)

Poster – Alien Shock Wave v2.0

(I like the colors, the framing and really all the visuals. If I was walking in a theater the only thing that would stop me from being pretty excited for some dumb fun it Billy Baldwin’s face. Replace him with Gerard Butler and we’d be cooking with gas. It’s also pretty amazing that they put the giant robot face up there as if it’s a star of the film. B)

Tagline(s) – Life on earth is in for a shock. (B)

(I can’t tell if I love this or hate this. The fact that I laughed out loud when I read it is probably not a great sign for the actual quality of the tagline though. “In for a shock” seems a bit mild for how life on earth would react to an electricity-borne virus that creates killer robots. Beyond how funny it is it certainly is short, clever, and hints at the plot. So still gets an OK score. The tagline combined with the giant robot head makes for one of the more unintentionally funny posters I can remember..)

Keyword – virus

Top 10: The Matrix (1999), American Psycho (2000), Iron Man Three (2013), Logan (2017), The Maze Runner (2014), Dawn of the Dead (2004), I Am Legend (2007), Contagion (2011), Alien: Covenant (2017), Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Future BMT: 65.6 Pulse (2006), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.1 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 40.8 Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), 39.4 The Forsaken (2001), 39.0 Jigsaw (2017), 36.1 The Invasion (2007), 35.0 The Relic (1997), 27.6 Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), 27.5 Inferno (2016);

BMT: The 5th Wave (2016), The Happening (2008), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Paycheck (2003), Dreamcatcher (2003), The Darkest Minds (2018), Species II (1998), Virus (1999)

(Huh … I guess you would argue ‘puters really went mainstream in ‘95 then. Kind of amazing just how much of an inflection that is. It was pretty much immediately from 0 to HACK THE PLANET! on that graph. Can’t wait to just smash all six of the Resident Evil films at some point.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jamie Lee Curtis is No. 1 billed in Virus and No. 2 billed in Christmas with the Kranks, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Because of the ship being mothballed in the James River Reserve Fleet, on the border of Isle of Wight County and city of Newport News, the ship was covered in rust and disrepair when the filming started. For the movie, one side of the ship was painted and dressed up, leaving the other half in poor condition. Hence, only one side of the ship was ever filmed on camera for the movie.

The “Goliath” robot was approximately 9 ft tall and weighed an estimated 4000 lbs. The special effects company hired to create Goliath had only three-and-a-half months to produce the robot from the initial drawings to the finished product.

In an IGN.com interview, Jamie Lee Curtis said the following about Virus (1999): “Rob Reiner, for his 40th birthday, had a bad show business party where everybody brought show business clips. Rob’s was playing a hippie on Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964) singing ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’. Virus (1999) is so bad that it’s shocking. That would be the all time piece of shit. It’s just dreadful. That’s the only good reason to be in bad movies. Then when your friends have [bad] movies you can say ‘Ahhhh, I’ve got the best one. I’m bringing Virus (1999).'” (Incredible, but I highly doubt Virus is going to blow my mind in how bad it is)

Jamie Lee Curtis has admitted to hating this film, calling it “the worst movie ever made”. She added that she lobbied hard to have the director fired and replaced by Steve Miner, who she had made Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) with. However, he wasn’t available, as he was working on Dawson’s Creek (1998)).

The lyrics of the Russian march heard during the end credits are actually the names of various cast and crew members pronounced backward.

John Bruno was about to start work on the visual effects for Titanic (1997) when the offer came through to direct his first feature.

In 1999, prolific French video game developer Cryo (also known as Cryo Interactive Entertainment) released on PlayStation “Virus: It is Aware”, their action/horror third person shooter tie-in video game that was very loosely based on this movie. The game immediately fell into obscurity. (Oh did it, because I think I’m playing it this weekend …)

Originally set for a Summer 1998 release, the film’s release was eventually pushed to January of 1999.

Chuck Pfarrer explained in an interview that the comic book was based on the script that he wrote in the early-’90s. Because of the special effects that the script called for, it was impossible to make the script into a movie at that time, and he handed it to Dark Horse Comics who published it in 1995. Several years later, when special effects technology had caught up, Pfarrer revised the original script. (Oh interesting, I wonder if I can get my hands on a copy of the comic)

In the beginning when the Captain (Donald Sutherland) is aiming a pistol at Baldwin he is holding a British Webley .455 caliber. It was the standard sidearm of the British army from 1897-1963.

Director John Bruno is a visual effects artist known for his frequent collaborations with director James Cameron.

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