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21 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Enough to put you in a coma

Author: blanche-2 from United States
19 September 2012

Well, talk about disappointing.

"Coma" is a two-part miniseries from A&E directed by Ridley Scott and starring Lauren Ambrose, Steven Pasquale, Richard Dreyfuss, James Woods, Joe Morton, Geena Davis, and Ellen Burstyn. Great cast, great director, bad script.

The original coma in 1978 starring Michael Douglas and Genevieve Bujold was more compelling. The story concerns a medical student (Ambrose) who discovers an inordinate number of people at her hospital are going into comas after surgery. Her investigation leads her to the Jefferson Institute, where all the comatose patients live out their lives. Her investigation puts her in a great deal of danger.

In this version, the action in the finale is moved to the Jefferson Institute and takes on horror movie aspects.

Lauren Ambrose has a real workhorse role and does it well as the curious and ultimately terrified Susan Wheeler. In this version, Wheeler comes from a prominent family in medicine, so even though she makes more trouble than Dracula loose in a blood bank, she isn't thrown out, though she manages to get her roommate expelled, someone else fired, and the senior resident set up on a drug charge.

Where Susan in the original was seen as unstable, this Susan is seen as a royal troublemaker. Also, in the original, there was an excellent reason why Susan looks into the comas - her best friend goes into a coma after a D&C. Here, it's someone she used to see at the pool. Frankly, I would have been upset but I don't know if I then would have been borrowing people's IDs so I could violate HIPAA regulations and search patient charts.

What this Coma does give us is a realistic look at the way people are treated in hospitals, including ignoring dying people in the emergency room, neglecting the elderly, and being disrespectful to the dead. These things do go on, which is why it is important to have a family member or friend looking out for you when you are hospitalized.

Coma dragged on and because we never got to know these characters, did not hold interest despite this stellar group of actors, many of whom had very little to do. Steven Pasquale is no Michael Douglas, and his added May-December romance with the psychiatrist played by Geena Davis seemed unnecessary.

As it turned out, watching it was unnecessary too. See the original, which gives us a love story, characters we can relate to, and some good suspense.

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19 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Great Scott Not

Author: Minerva Breanne Meybridge (minerva@thursdayschild.org) from Santa Monica
6 September 2012

One would have thought that something produced by Ridley Scott, who directed Alien and Blade Runner, would have been tightly knit. It wasn't. The movie totally drags during the first half and the first hour of the second half. This, like the original, should have been a two-hour film. I was bothered from the start when during the first commercial break, there were cast interviews revealing what was going to happen. The only thing really interesting were the special effects towards the end. Fortunately, I recorded it and was able to use fast forward or I, too, might have lapsed into a coma from having to sit through all of the initial tedium.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It's a bit out there, but overall a solid remake

8/10
Author: marais-alexander from United States
23 September 2013

The original is more disturbing both visually and psychologically, despite being made in 1978. But this film, complete with high-tech horror effects and a psychotic performance from Ellen Burstyn, is a keeper. I watched both parts and found it a bit strange why they didn't just release it as a single film. I had the same technical confusion with Bag of Bones with Pierce Brosnan. You do have to seriously suspend some disbelief. While the original has its moments of cheese, and dated 70s gimmicks, it is far more believable than this one. Characters are relentlessly picked off in the most public of places and no one notices. An entire unit of gore and horror lurks in the bottom of a shady medical center and yet, despite a video clip of such horrors being on Youtube, no one issues a warrant to search the place. The victims of the conspiracy in the original were more elaborated upon (including an empathetic and very young Tom Selleck who meets his end in OR 8). Here, the victims are seen after surgery in their comatose states, so we have no connection to the human being who once was conscious and lived. The film underuses a very talented case, which includes James Woods, Geena Davis, and Lauren Ambrose. Their characters needed to be seriously elaborated on. Someone was having too much fun with the FX and not with the emotional meat which was desperately needed. It's more outrageously inventive than the original, but far less plausible or thought out. It's a fun, frightful romp that definitely is a grisly charmer and one to keep though.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Original better but dated, this version fails

4/10
Author: Marc Marchioli from United States
27 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I unlike the other reviewer found the original story quite intriguing as the medical aspects were very accurate and the setting plausible. However, this rework of the story starts interesting but there are way too many distractions that add nothing to the details or complexity of the story. Yes, the large corporate conspiracy is a decent throw-in for Hollywood but others were too much and add little to the quality of the story such as the psycho killer, the floppy haired lead (and by the way in a medical setting floppy hair would not be allowed even by a medical student! It would be required to be cut or kept out of the face/eyes at all times due to health concerns), the crooked police, and quarreling cut-throat medical students (which should be residents to be more accurate).

I think taking the original story and updating the technology and possible corporate profit areas would have been plenty (this part was done nicely with the genetic component which was only addressed in the original by the tissue typing for the needed organ).

So, take a good story and inject Hollywood and you get what the "Mavericks of Silicon Valley" call the poison pill. It's a good reason why viewers are turning to the subscription channels for high quality programming.

Bottom line, nice try but better luck on the next one.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Less atmosphere, more thrills

7/10
Author: SnoopyStyle
1 September 2013

A&E remade the 1978 movie based on the 1977 novel into a 4 hour TV mini-series.

It's important to note that the paranoia of the era worked great to infuse the original with atmosphere. However this one is much more of a thriller.

The biggest logic problem in this one is that it's no longer the '70s. It just seems that somebody would just sue in today's world. But if you're willing to accept that, there is some good thrills to be had here.

Lauren Ambrose, Steven Pasquale, Geena Davis all do good work here. It's definitely a good watch.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Good actors going to waste and almost nothing new

Author: Rich La Bonte (flatrich) from Hollywood CA
7 September 2012

Sometimes it is wise just to let a dead dog lay. As I remember, the first version of Coma wasn't very good. This one is about the same. Overblown to distraction by the Scott Brothers, the TV "mini-series" version features good actors going to waste and almost nothing new.

Yeah, there is a big super tech conspiracy tacked on to the original plot, but even that was tame next to 21st century TV series like Dr. Who or Fringe. Lauren Ambrose was excellent in the lead, but deserves better, and it was a joy to see Ellen Burstyn working, even in a sort of Boris Karloff role. James Woods was good. Geena Davis, Joe Morton and Richard Dreyfuss - what were you thinking?

I watched it On Demand and, like another reviewer here, was grateful that Fast Forward was not disabled.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The problem with COMA

6/10
Author: Robert Thorpe from United States
13 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK,

So the I finally sat down to watch this 3 hour epic on DVD. Saw the billboards and stuff all around town and I love me some Tony and Ridley Scott. I also like medical thrillers, like Anatomy, Antiviral, Nightwatch and more.

To Coma - What I liked - I loved the cinematography, the performances were great, the suspense was well built and the FEW twists within it were well done. All the technical aspects of this show ere top notch, I would expect nothing less from the Scott brothers. (Tony - RIP)

A HUGE problem with the film, the pace and knowledge of the main character - Speaking from EXP as I spent 14 years in the military in the medical field, the pace of how this STUDENT uncovered the issue at hand is astounding and really, NOT STUDENT LIKE. So logistically there are TONS of problems with the film. All the evidence she found was so easy and yet they could not contain or remove her before it got out of hand yet they can put JAMES WOODS in an elaborate car accident? James Woods, who was apart of the whole thing (or was he, this is never revealed) Just because the main girls father was a doctor and supposed starter of this project does not mean the granddaughter will suddenly be smarter than all the other students and catch on. Geena Davis who looks like BOTOX on steroids in this film has a mental, killer patient who kinda makes no sense and his character is never truly explained. So he killed a young girl, so he is on meds now and does her bidding. Yet can't kill a female medical student? uhhh OK! I could go on with a lot of the logistics of the show.

Now - to the overall story. I get that they are putting specific people in Comas. I get that there are experiments on those in the coma. trying to cure disease or find better ways to treat them. I get it. What I don't get is why take NORMAL HEALTHY FOLKS coming in for cyst removals and have them suddenly go into a coma? That only draws attention which with the amount mentioned in the film in such a short span not even the facilitates ethics committee could hide from HIPPA and the federal government which requires you to report such anomalies. You could not keep this contained to the hospital alone. Richard Dryfeuss character is never fully realized. What exactly they were doing in the facility was never fully explained. Kind of a round about answer. and FINALLY

What was with the pregnancies that the old lady was doing. How the heck was she getting female coma patients pregnant and WHY?

In the end - A good looking medical thriller that had wonderful performances but lacked any explanation as to WHY its all happening. Not to mention she had friends at the beginning of the show that mysteriously didn't materialize during the last hour. Odd.

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Coma - A Sleepy So-So Success

5/10
Author: (ikeybabe) from United States
12 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I loved the cast. There were some really stellar actors in this TV mini series. I remember the original Coma and that was spooky to me, being a kid at the time. This version was all right. I was moderately entertained. I did keep guessing as to who the bad guys were, because there were a bunch of possibilities. There was plenty of creepiness here and the modern upgrade with the technology and the look of the comatose victims was pretty cool. Overall, I'm glad I watched this. It was worth the time and it was nice seeing Lauren Ambrose, who was in one of my very favorite series (HBO's Six Feet Under). It was nice seeing the dude from FX's Rescue Me too. The chemistry between the two wasn't so real, however, but it was palatable.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

well worth the watching

7/10
Author: tonyhouston2 from glasgow
9 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

coma wow just thinking about the old Richard Widmark ,Douglas and Bejould classic still sends shivers down my spine but tuned in and really enjoyed this new updated version with the lead actress in particular in great form also the old stalwarts of woods and Dreyfus just go to prove that you never loose your touch but cant help getting the feeling that the the old hospital and in particular the way they shot the Jefferson institute scenes gives us much more off an uneasy feeling plus the way the ending was left open could lead us to think that another sequel could be on the way makes you wonder just exactly what mr Crichton would have thought of the whole thing but definitely worth the watching but just remember one thing Don't LET THEM PUT YOU UNDER .

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

I liked it better the first time

5/10
Author: anglesmith719 from United States
31 October 2012

As soon as I heard Coma was out on video I had to put it in my Blockbuster at Home queue. After watching it I think it was way below par for Ridley Scott. I know some people have called it a 'mini series' but at almost 3 hours of pointless characters it is anything but mini. I definitely liked the original version better and after talking to a few guys in my office at DISH I know I am not the only person that holds that sentiment. About half way through Coma I took it to the to the Blockbuster store down the street for a free exchange. I paid to watch a movie that night and I am happy I didn't have to do it twice at least.

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