Covid-19, then. No marketing. No preamble. No warning. It came from nowhere, and blasted its way into every single home on the planet. But how good is it? Has this virus got the goods to justify the aggressive viral campaign it loosed upon planet Earth? Well, you can see the star rating already so you know it hasn't. But, let me explain it a bit, so I can justify my own existence.
It's a bit of a shitter, really. In terms of viral reach, though, Covid-19 is unparalleled. Grab your notebooks, PR people: Covid has a few lessons for you. First of all, hit China. The population is massive and the government doesn't want to admit failings. So if you can reach enough people quickly enough, you'll fly under the radar with your subversive movie or computer game. By the time they realise what's going on... well, it'll be too late. And, thanks to that, it'll be too late for the rest of the world. The CCP isn't good for much, but it's good for getting it wrong.
The issue comes from what's being sold, here: a product that forces everyone to stay indoors for an undisclosed period of time. That, in itself, is boredom incarnate. And, half the time, the virus doesn't even come up with the goods: sure, it'll whack every oldie it ever comes across - get ready, care homes - but for most people they'll have a minor cough or fever and be done with it in a few weeks. Kinda makes the lockdown MORE painful, knowing that you're staying inside to stall the viral marketing campaign the virus is running, rather than to protect yourself.
But then - that's where the fear comes in. Covid-19 targets (brutally) people our parents' and grandparents' ages. So while it doesn't come after the usual demographic for movies and video games, it certainly blasts its most virulent form into the bodies of those we care about. Talk about aggressive fear-based marketing. There's a lot to question here - the basic morality of Mother Nature, for instance. Forcing us to behave in a certain way - forcing us to pay attention to something that doesn't offer any material benefit, at all.
It's a kind of shitty virus. For all of the marketing and the total saturation, it relies on secondary effects to truly impact the world. The economy - social lives - all of that. It doesn't put its money where its mouth is (if it even has a mouth). No, Covid-19 doesn't want to Shock and Awe us with some kind of Umbrella-esque virus, a la the Resident Evil series. We're all forced to suffer the world-shutting-down-and-life-is-stalled-and-you-can't-see-anyone stuff without getting to live out our zombie shooting fantasies. Talk about falling flat.
I suppose I always imagined The Next Great Pandemic would cause some kind of horrendous, zombie infested nightmare. Rather, Covid-19 relies on the psychological tricks: how long can you go without seeing anyone? How long can you resist going out into the fleeting Scottish sunshine? It feels cheap. It feels like a gimmick.
In terms of plot, it sucks too. And I hate using the word sucks - but I will. Because it does. Where did it really start? Some kind of wonderful conspiracy, like being loosed from a lab on purpose by the Chinese communist party? No - it was an accident. Someone bought some crappy bat meat from an unsanitary market in Wuhan, China, and caught the thing. Boring. Just like the film Contagion, which wasn't the most interesting thing in the world either.
To top it off, there's no sign of an ending either. Vaccines are a way off. People who've had it don't seem to be gaining immunity. It stinks of lazy writing and a lack of forward thinking. Whoever put this thing together wasn't thinking clearly - anyone with any capability to think objectively would realise that a truly masterful virus either crushes you with horror or lies low long enough to allow mutations to be - in the vein of Pokémon - super effective.
Therefore, for all the boredom, the lack of a coherent plot, the utter lack of motive and payoff and general lack of any objective thinking - I can't do anything else but 'award' Covid-19 one single star - and even then, it was through gritted teeth.