My plan was to watch Contagion as though it was a direct sequel to Rise of the Planet of the APES, since the idea of a pandemic is only suggested in the end title sequence. The biggest problems with this approach are that a) the virus in Contagion doesn’t turn anyone into an APE, and b) that doesn’t happen in the ape movie either.
Instead, we get a fairly “realistic”1 portrayal of what happens to us in an outbreak. And the problem with that is that it’s a little bit boring. Although humanity is decimated, it still feels like nothing much happens. There’s no main character, or anyone whose life, death, or infection status seemed to matter. I didn’t really care about any of the humans in this movie, so on that score, it’s right there with APES, except that unlike that movie, Contagion hasn’t got any apes.