Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"The Andromeda Strain" review

Oh, I had such high hopes!

After Part One last night, I was thinking the remake of "The Andromeda Strain" was pretty cool, staying fairly close to the original. My hopes were dashed--dashed, I tell you!--tonight by Part Two.

Well, it wasn't horrible. I liked a lot of it, but I suppose it was inevitable that I would compare it to the original.

Some thoughts:

I was disappointed that they shortened the decontamination sequence when going into the Wildfire complex. I loved the scene in the original when they had to don a metal head shield and all their body hair and the top layer of skin was burned off.

Eric McCormack was the investigative reporter, a new addition to the story. Eric did a good job, but I really didn't see the point of adding this drug-addicted, sensationalist character.

One of Andromeda's effects was irrational and psychotic behavior. This was illustrated nicely in the new version when a guy chopped off his own head with a chainsaw. Nice touch!

The new version got a little too "preachy" with politics and the environment. It also posited that Andromeda was sent from the future as a warning to stop destroying our habitat. As much as I love our habitat, again...preachy. I think this also lessened the story by removing the "random." In the original, it was just a random virus that was alien to Earth and hitched a ride on a satellite, and our scientists were pitted against a seemingly invincible organism.

I was also disappointed in the final sequence, when Stone has to climb the inner core to stop Wildfire's self-destruct sequence. What was up with all the falling debris?! Ken said, "Is that supposed to indicate 'self-destruct'?" The self-destruct device was a nuclear weapon, so I don't think there would be a bunch of trembling structure and raining debris. It would just vaporize the place. Lame.

All in all, while I didn't hate it, it made me resolve to buy the original. Four hours was too much for this--the original's elegance and drama was in its simplicity, and sense of urgency. With four hours, there was just way too much time to muddle the story. The additional story lines and extra time merely clouded what was so cool about the original, and what I still love about it: the SCIENCE. A team of scientists facing an organism that could spell the destruction of the entire planet, and they've got just a few hours to figure out the solution. That's some good stuff, and this was just way too sensationalistic.

One very important thing, though, was that this story is still very pertinent, perhaps more so than ever. While I'm not sure what threat exists from outer space, the threat right here on our own planet is serious enough. I'm not talking about "avian flu," because as of now, that's exactly what it is: avian. If you think that "pandemic flu" is the equivalent of "avian flu," you are mistaken. Avian flu has the potential to become a serious problem--and the potential to become pandemic--but at the moment, transmission is limited to those who are in close contact with infected birds. The "pandemic flu" that you read about is the usual human influenza virus that makes an antigenic shift and becomes something that none of us have been exposed to or have any immunity to. The flu shot will probably not keep you from getting it, but if it's a killer strain, it may provide enough protection to prevent you from succumbing to it. Not to mention that you might prevent those who are more susceptible or have weakened immune systems (i.e., the elderly, children, or those with respiratory problems) from catching something that could possibly be fatal.

After watching the entire remake, I'll still take the original "The Andromeda Strain," with its focus on science and on solving a planet-threatening problem.

An off-topic comment:

I had an email from Shane, which included a clarification about his Mustang:

"by the way, it's '66, not a '67. that's where the 66 in [my email address] comes from. it comes from route 66 too! remember, they are both the same! and dad was 66 years old when we drove the '66 mustang on route 66 for 666 miles! (you've probably never heard him tell that story!) mom's pink mustang was a '67.

I can't remember if I've ever put up a picture of Aunt Bert's pink Mustang. It was completely and utterly cool. Oh hey! Look what I have on this computer! I thought it was only on the basement computer...and it's not just the Mustang that's cool. Aunt Bert was such a BABE!



krmprm said...

I always liked Mustangs.
Like the horses for which
they're named.  There's
something wild and free-
spirted about the Tangs.
And beautiful specimens.
Keepers.     Pat

lunarmongoose said...

The falling debris and weakened pipe in the shaft at the end were a result of the non-lethal, rubber-and-plastic-eating andromeda variant that had dissolved the black woman's protective suit slightly earlier and then gotten out into the whole facility.

I was okay with the preaching, I just hated the time paradox they went with. The sample preserved in the space station obviously gets out in the future somehow so they have to send it back again and it loops forever. Sigh.

specialadyfink said...

Theres a pink tang in our lil town.And some lady has a light tourquoise one.
It is always exciting to see them.I guess cause I'm a baby boomer and that was our cars back then.

shrbrisc said...

Those were the days lol I wish we could go back with the knowledge we have now ..

luvrte66 said...

Lunarmongoose wrote, "The falling debris and weakened pipe in the shaft at the end were a result of the non-lethal, rubber-and-plastic-eating andromeda variant that had dissolved the black woman's protective suit slightly earlier and then gotten out into the whole facility."

Oh, okay! That makes sense. Thanks for the clarification!


jimsulliv3 said...

I, too, was disappointed. Aside from obviously comparing it with the original (which was better), Part II was way to busy, way to much action and devoid of thought. Unfortunately, that's what it takes to keep the sheep happy. I am a sheep herder and thinking is a prerequisite.


markonit said...

... glad you did a 'review' ... I wasn't disappointed, as the update fit the times quite nicely and was just as believable ... some of the plot was a little flaky, but I think that the material was stretched thinly ... tried to cover too much and sacrficed the plot ...

... the only difference between some of the AIDS conspiracies and this, is the intergalatic portions of it ... but that the government would try to harness and weaponize something like this is quite real ...

... a three star show out of five ...

queeniemart said...

Aunt Bert was stylin' in her cool car! Sorry to hear you didn't like the 2nd half as much as the first.

rdautumnsage said...

I watched the entire 4 hours and...eh I'll have to try the original as this one seemed a little off base. I have to agree the reporter wasn't needed in the script, nor the whole wormhole time sequence. I was able to follow it perhaps a little more closely with closed captioning than some people would of. I couldn't help wondering how people were able to follow with some of the clinical explanations without having the words themselves in front of you...Then again I was a little distracted with Doc having food poisoning...Somehow the words from my lips, "I wouldn't eat raw clams from around this area" missed his ears entirely. Thankfully he seems to be recovering nicely now...(Hugs) Indigo

jmoqueen said...

Awww it's a shame you didn't enjoy it :(