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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2011), PG-13 [PG(13)*] (1hr 40.3min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
September 15, 2011
September 23, 2011

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2011), PG-13 [PG(13)*] ... two points into the range of scores earned by movies rated PG

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Warner Bros. Pictures, Participant Media, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, Double Feature Films, Regency Enterprises
Distribution (US): Warner Brothers Entertainment
Director(s): Steven Soderbergh
Producer(s): Zakaria Alaoui, Chen On Chu, Gregory Jacobs, Jonathan King, Michael Polaire, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher
Written by: Scott Z. Burns
Cinematography/Camera: Steven Soderbergh
Music: Cliff Martinez
Film Editing: Stephen Mirrione
Casting: Carmen Cuba
Production Design: Howard Cummings
Art Direction: Abdellah Baadil, Simon Dobbin, David Lazan
Viewed at Showbiz Cinema 6, Granbury TX

Unless it is because of the single use of the most foul of the foul words (which was, as usual, totally unnecessary), I do not know why the MPAA rated this film PG-13. It earned a CAP final score of 70 which places in two points into the range of scores earned by movies rated PG (86 to 68 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. However, though the magnitude of the content of this film is a hardcore PG I would not let my kids watch it without a curse-free filter, not only because of the single use of the most foul of the foul words but because of the nine additional uses of profanity and the three uses of God's name in vain. Both the violence and language investigation areas found the content to equivalent to most R-rated films but the other four investigation areas found content to each be G-equivalent. Looking at it this way, this film is 33% R and 67% G. Too bad the human mind cannot exclude the R stuff while watching the film.

Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) has a cough. Likewise does a young man in Hong Kong, and a model in London, and a travelling businessman and more. A lot of people are coughing ... and dying. No one knows why except that the problem is a new virus. Researchers speculate the biology of a pig and a bat somehow combined and generated a new virus to which no one has any resistance. Homeland Security believes the virus to be a terrorist attack. Medical experts believe the virus is potentially a profiting scheme by drug companies. The list goes on. (I could believe a profiteering scheme - if the film were real.)

In just days millions of the world's population are sick or are dead because of the virus. The Center for Disease Control and the US Government are at odds on what to do to save the world.

The filmmakers use a clever technique of expanding the story as the virus progresses along its worldwide course by presenting things in day increments: Day 2, Day 3, etc. all the way to Day 135. One of the properties of this film is that it portrays that which is feasible. Contagion is not just another Armageddon film.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual CAP investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 4 out of 100
Violence is for the most part in the form of dead bodies and dying. Civil unrest, armed robbery, looting and rioting are present as are assault and kidnapping. While one might expect such matters with a pandemic disease, the matter of looting and civil unrest are not necessarily true. I did a white paper for a commercial nuclear power station regarding large scale evacuations and found that from our history of evacuations there is more camaraderie, volunteerism and self-sacrifice than Hollywood-style violence. If there is violence during or following a large evacuation is it more likely because Hollywood sensationalism has taught us to expect it.

Entertainment violence reaches far and deep into the life of anyone who can navigate a box of popcorn. This fact is evidenced by four professional public health agencies jointly publishing their findings that reveal, among other counterproductive behavioral mechanics, viewing violence in and as entertainment, especially by youth, can lead to real life violence and can lead the viewer to believe that violence is an acceptable and effective way to settle conflict.

Not only has man grown mature enough to understand the "catching" properties of violence, God warned us of it 2000 years ago in Proverb 16:29.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 40 out of 100
Nine times someone spews some form of profanity. Once someone spews the most foul of the foul words. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 5:4] There is teen defiance of obvious dangers in the name of "love", teen disrespect for his father [Exod. 20:12] and other matters of impudence and/or hatred which are listed in the Findings section.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 93 out of 100
The only assaults on morality and decency that apply to this investigation area are talk of immoral sex and a vulgar anatomical reference.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 93 out of 100
There is only one instance of drinking noted in the entire 100.3 minutes of the show.

Offense to God (O) - 90 out of 100
God's name is used in vain three times but each time is without the four letter expletive, not that the consequences of using His name in vain without the four letter expletive is any better than with it. [Deut. 5:11]

Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
There are no murders or suicides portrayed in this film.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "fantasy" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for the American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Their findings include:
    --> Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume the acts of violence are acceptable behavior.
    --> Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.
    --> Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behavior and a mistrust of others.
    --> Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.
    Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Contagion (2011) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 4 out of 100
  • dead body, repeatedly
  • butchering gore
  • vehicle versus pedestrian collision
  • illness victim, repeatedly
  • loss of wife to illness
  • child death, graphic
  • medical procedure gore
  • kidnapping
  • mass grave
  • civil unrest, repeatedly
  • violent rioting with looting
  • armed robbery with gunfire
  • additional robbery
  • firearm threat

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 40 out of 100
  • nine uses of profanity
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • defiance of protocol resulting in world harm
  • teen disrespect of father
  • extortion with human life as leverage
  • lie

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 93 out of 100
  • talk of immoral sex
  • vulgar anatomical reference

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 93 out of 100
  • drinking

    Offense to God (O) - 90 out of 100
  • three uses of God's name in vain

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Interested parties, send us your proposal. Your link will appear on each new analysis report prepared during the desired period and, once placed on a page, will not be removed.

    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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