The Andromeda Strain (TV Mini-Series 2008) Poster

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4/10
Terribly Overwrought and Clichéd, with horrible "Action"
mjohnston15 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This miniseries was mostly a 7.5 or so for me, until the last half of the final part where they proceeded to:

  • Basically ignore (they threw in a casual explanation) the two survivors of Piedmont sub-plot


  • Ignore the sub-plot (even if it was a horribly clichéd one) of the estranged wife of Dr Stone, and rebellious son


  • Ignore the fact that there were airborne rubber eating Andromedas above Piedmont when the helicopters flew over


  • Turn the Andromeda strain into a visible on-screen entity


  • Provide no clear reason for why Dae Kims character died upon throwing a thumb


  • Flub the ending of the reporter sub-plot, so it became a total "Who Cares?"


  • Give Andromeda an actual (and completely dumb) origin, rather than leave it mysterious like the novel


  • Bore us all to death with environmentalist clichéd 1960s Star Trek-esquire moralising


  • Bore us past death to "government conspiracy" plot line that's so horribly overdone


  • Provide no reason as to why there was lots of rubble falling down the central shaft


But perhaps the most burning of the flaws with this miniseries was the action that occurred when the nuclear fail-safe was activated. Besides being motivated by a plot contrivance rather than logically occurring as it did in the novel, it was also horribly dragged out.

I recorded this and watched it back via Sky+ (Tivo-esque machine for those of you not in the UK) and I must have fast forwarded through most of that climbing and crawling sequence. It actually seemed to me like because they had a few ex-24 stars, they felt like the thing needed to happen in real time.

Do film-makers really think we need to see every excruciating detail of climbing up ladders, climbing down ladders, throwing thumbs, climbing into vents, climbing out of vents, crawling across a floor, crawling up a wall, struggling to remove a key-card, struggling to remove a thumb.

Just get to the point, we don't want to see 10 minutes of padding in a 15 minute "action" sequence!
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6/10
This is the MTV version
siderite4 June 2008
During the late sixties, Michael Crichton wrote a novel about contamination with an alien microorganism. At that time, science was hailed as the pinnacle of human achievement and it was thought that anything is possible. Therefore it is normal for the book and the subsequent film from 1971 to focus on the science, on the formalism, on the way people think their way out of a situation.

Fast forward to 2008. People are dumber, science is a joke, people need to look good and the design must be perfect. Some horrible deaths and some fear of government conspiracy or terrorism is the only way tension can be achieved.

The problem is that I have anticipated this. My own theory says that if you expect it to happen, there won't be a negative response, yet I am terribly angry at this mini series BECAUSE it was exactly what I expected. Things have been added to the original story that make no sense and make no sense to add: government black ops, wormholes, message from the future, ecological controversy over ocean vent mining, etc, etc. As expected the effects were really good, the people looked good, the computer interface design was flawless. And it all fell completely empty.

If you are familiar to The Andromeda Strain book or 1971 movie, you might find it interesting to see how it can go horribly wrong. Otherwise, just watch the 1971 version. It is slow paced, faithful to the book and a lot more interesting.
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2/10
Poor Remake - Deus Ex Machinas Unite!
ozbear29 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
While lifting various plot elements from the original (nasty virus, Wildfire containment facility, odd-man-out auto-destruct canceler, etc) we get a whole pile of additional elements thrown in, and for no apparent good reason.

Ben Bratt's character has a substance abusing wife and an estranged son...this goes no where.

The Wildfire team is now composed of a more politically correct team including a black, an Asian, and a homosexual.

Wormhole? Virus sent from the future so we can save ourselves? Somebody's been watching too many Star Trek reruns.

The let's-crawl-up-the-central-Wildfire-tube-core sequence in the original was terrific and tension filled. In this remake it is labored and boring. It might have gained another score point if the wrong thumb had been cut off.

And then there's Jack Nash running around looking for Grace (oops, wrong series).

And then we have all the secret bad government daring-do, a predictable addition in these times.

As someone else once said "They should only remake bad movies".

You've been warned.
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2/10
Danger Will Robinson!! Does not compute!!
jread-528 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Let's see: Some guys in the future have some kind of death organism that they discover can only be controlled by the bacteria that live near mineral-rich undersea vents. So they send a sample of the deadly stuff back in time to us, encased in a bucky-ball package that has instructions written on it in ASCII (not EBCDIC!) about how we shouldn't mine the vents and destroy the anti-virus bacteria. But some military types have a satellite hanging around the worm hole to the future hoping to snag some kind of schrecklichkeit from space they can use for germ warfare. Unfortunately, they snag the bucky-ball and break it open, destroying all the instructions except the name of the stuff and a serial number. The satellite crashes, loosing the virus. Meanwhile, evil big businessmen are preparing to mine the vents. So there are two simultaneous conspiracies, one to use the virus for warfare, the other to make sure the vents get mined. In the end: (1) scientists figure out how to use the vent-bacteria to kill the virus, thus saving the world for the moment; (2) the military conspirators kill each other because some of them have a change of heart; (3) the President decides to go ahead with the vent-mining anyway (4) a cigarette-smoking man saves a sample of the virus in the International Space Station so it will be available for the future.

So...

(1) Where did the virus come from in the first place? Did the Future get it from us, the Past? But in the Past (our Present) the vents get mined and there would be no bacteria for the Future to use to suppress the virus. So the Future could not be telling us how to combat the virus.

(2) Or, we are living in alternative past created when the Future sent the sample back to our universe. In the alternative Future created by our alternative Past, the Future will receive the sample from us, but they won't be able to control it and Time will end. But the real Future doesn't care, because they created an alternative Future (not theirs) that took the fall.

(3) But wait....

(4) And what about those highly favorable reviews posted here that were posted days and sometimes weeks BEFORE the date the show was aired? Are we living in an alternative universe in which the show is a turkey caused by the messages posted by people in the Past sending messages to the Present? If that singularity had not happened, would the show have been as great as they said it was?
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1/10
Plan nine from outer-space was more credible than this!
denieuwehoorspelers21 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
36 years later, better CGI etc. so I had high hopes that this miniseries would be even better than the film from 1971. Unfortunately, it proved to be a big disappointment. The acting is bad, the CGI is worse and the story ...... Well, i guess a new word has to be invented to describe it properly. The original story, which had a big mysterious ring to it, has been altered for the worse. The story has been poisoned with paranoid idea's on the future, politics, governmental conspiracy's, conservation of the planet etc. etc. etc.. Flavoured with a little wormhole and spiced with a time paradox. And there you have it! A castrated remake of a superb film! This miniseries is worse than Plan nine from outer-space by far! I'm utterly disgusted with myself for having watched this ...... (truck-)load of horse excrement. Avoid this film, if you liked the '71 version!
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2/10
Skip it, see the original
NavyOrion28 May 2008
Save yourself a few tedious hours, skip this crap and see the 1971 original. This is another example of a movie that has nothing going for it but the good feelings a viewer might have about the original. (How appropriate that I first saw a commercial for it while waiting for the lousy "Indiana Jones 4" to begin.)

So, so, so much padding! (And even so, A&E managed to stuff in almost 80 minutes of commercials in the two night run.) Ridiculous plot lines that go nowhere (the Geraldo-style reporter, "vent-mining"), unnecessary time-waster shots of animals eating each other (all just to establish the infection vector of a rat dropped onto a group of National Guardsmen) family squabbles that go nowhere... all of these had the unmistakable feel of an effort to reach a predetermined running time. The problem is, when length is more important a goal than quality, nothing can be left on the cutting-room floor. Trimmed to two hours, this just might have been a watchable movie.

Even if decently edited to tighten up the pacing, there's then the problem of reeediculous plot devices that were added to this adaptation. For example:

  • Telepathic germs (you gotta be freaking kidding)


  • Messages from the future (I wish I was freaking kidding) --- Note to you guys in the future: instead of the cryptic "739528", maybe "hey, look on the space station!" would get your point across a little better


  • Orbiting wormholes (still not kidding)


  • Blackbird attacks that kill soldiers in helmets and full combat gear (shades of Alfred Hitchcock)


  • Endless blather about "vent mining", and even a terrorist attack on a vent mining platform. ----- (Oops! did we forget to explain what that had to do with the story?)


  • "Pass the thumb"


  • Andromeda racing across the countryside turning everything yellow.


  • Dime-store CGI (we're talking "Sci-Fi Channel Original" quality) used even in scenes where the real thing would have been easier and more effective: flame throwers, dried blood sifting from a cut, the inexplicable falling debris in the core.


  • Is the action dragging? Time for some Guardsmen to buy the farm!


  • Hollywood leftist paranoia: the evil team of General Mancheck and Colonel Farris, military hit men, NSA stashing a final vial of the pathogen, and (my personal favorite) the company Enburton (Enron + Halliburton?) running the vent mining operation.


Michael Crichton wrote the original novel of "The Andromeda Strain", and the 1971 movie remembered so fondly by many was a quite faithful adaptation. You've heard of Michael Crichton because he has written lots of exciting and interesting science fiction, much of which has been turned into movies (of varying quality.)

This adaptation was written by Robert Schenkkan. You likely haven't heard of him, because he's been asked to write almost nothing else for the screen. Judging from this production, there would seem to be a reason for that. He has written a number of well-received plays, but apparently that talent does not translate well to television; what I recall of his 2004 "Spartacus" miniseries was on the level of "Andromeda". (Trekkie alert: as a C-list actor, Schenkkan is best remembered for eating an alien cockroach and then getting his head blown up, when he played Commander Remmick in the ST:TNG first-season episode "Conspiracy".)

If this is the best A&E can do, I hope that in the future they'll just stay out of the science fiction genre. At the very least they should produce original stories, instead of mucking up remakes of perfectly good predecessors.

I'll never get those four hours back, but you still have a chance to miss this movie. Consider yourself warned.
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3/10
Pretty disappointing
Kevin27 April 2008
The original is a classic and one of my 50 favourite movies.

This 2008 remake... I just watched it tonight... it was up there with being a BAD movie... It is very disappointing... come on... its 2008.... SURELY they could have remade it better than the 1970 (ish) version ? The answer: NO

Its far fetched... has bad acting... bad special effects (the wave of virus washing across the land) and worse plot.

Its rubbish compared to the original, which gave you a little tingle down your spine as you watched it... this version makes you feel embarrassed to admit you watched it.

What made the original work is that it was 'confined'... the majority of the movie took place down in that closed off lab... you were trapped in there with the 'Andromeda strain' and the scientists. THATS what gave it its realism... All of the attempt at action... just shook the original plot all to pieces.

Thumbs down on many levels...
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1/10
Absolute drivel
jjoseph20226 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
If you've seen the "updated remakes" of Rollerball, The Time Machine, Planet of the Apes, The Invaders, War of the Worlds, The Haunting, Lost in Space, and Battlestar Galactica and liked them, if you like the contrived derivative science-fictiony mini-series "Taken", then you'll like this.

The novel "Andromeda Strain" by Michael Chrichton could have been updated to 2008 U.S.A. without doing the overboard nonsense as clearly demonstrated in the above-mentioned awful remakes.

I'm sorry Michael Crichton is still alive to see this hack job of his masterpiece.

For example, in the remake of "The Haunting", there had to be lesbians. For what reason, who knows? But, in this remake, guess what? Unnecessary homosexuals! Even though it was obvious in the original film that the female scientist could have been a lesbian IT WAS IMMATERIAL TO THE PLOT, so wasn't explored! There was child abuse in the new "The Haunting", too. Why? I dunno. Someone wanted to make a point, I suppose, but failed utterly in doing so.

In the "Lost in Space" remake, the relationship between Will Smith and his father is dysfunctional as all get out. And UNNECESSARILY SO. Well, in this remake, the various characters (and there's too many of them) all have some sort of dysfunctional relationship with each other, with baggage left over from previous run-ins, affairs, and incidents.

The "Planet of the Apes" remake and "Time Machine" remake both did something stupid and unnecessary with time-space travel. So does this.

Wanna not trust the government? Well, "The Taken" used that so much it wore a hole in it. And it's done to death in this remake, even though, in the original Andromeda Strain, it was done just right. Why? Because in the original the government was running a con on the bio-scientists who didn't figure it out until five minutes from the end. That was enough government conspiracy stuff for me. I don't need anti-government paranoia thrown in my face, overdosing me, from the first minute of the film! And don't get me started on the moronic, pandering introduction of a sensation-seeking "journalist" (who wasn't in the original novel or film) that just mucks up the whole works. The producers apparently wanted to base him on an Anderson Cooper-Geraldo Rivera hybrid. Like that's a good model for a fabricated journalist.

If you wanted to update the Andromeda Strain, why not do it by updating the computer tech, the genetics, the medical diagnosis tech, the biochemistry knowledge/tech and the biowarfare tech? Those were all in the original film, but could use updating to 2008 tech or even envisioning a bit beyond 2008 tech. It could have been done just like the original Andromeda Strain, which put tech there that was recognizable and believable and understandable for a 1970 audience, but, where necessary, took it a step or two into the future.

And why do we have to have a mix-and-match one-from-column-A-and-one-from-column-B gender/race/sexual preference scientific team? Because it's politically correct? Guess what? I just watched the Phoenix Mars Lander team get interviewed and there was no such politically-motivated race/gender/sexual preference nonsense on that team. That's because the Phoenix team was chosen on the basis of knowledge, expertise, and ability, just like the the original Andromeda Strain scientific team.

Sorry, Benjamin Bratt, Christa Miller, Eric McCormack, and Rick Shroder, I loved you in other stuff, but you sure got suckered into this.

I really hate "remakes" that are over-emo, angst-filled, self-involved, personality conflict bore-fests. Can you tell? Anyway, after watching this wretched thing, I put in my DVD of Andromeda Strain and actually enjoyed "The Andromeda Strain".
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3/10
Everything to make a good story...........except for a brain behind it
rodrmar7027 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Let's review the original 70's movie (since i haven't read the book, which i'm gonna read after this): An infectious but nouvelle agent menacing mankind, a special team with the ultimate technology gathered to solve the problem, the US government eager to finish it the fast (and not always)the smart way. All with the methodic and reasoned approach that a group of scientist will do in the real life. The team of scientist with absolutely nothing in common except for their knowledge, and the boring-not ''pretty people'' looks of all of them (the female character looks like my oldest aunt). That and a believable story behind it...............

All it's gone in the miniseries.......A few points on the plus side: beautiful scenery, the laboratory amazing and realistic, the same for the computer graphics, viral-bacterial culture devices and the electron microscope.

But the story has so many loose ends :the wife and son of the lead scientist has absolutely no purpose at all, not even to influence the actions of Ben's Bratt character; no clear progression around all the Andromeda discoveries; the continuous mutations of the agent ''explaining'' everything (with no sense at all); and the environmental message some screenwriter (a drunken one i'm sure) put with forceps into the story.

And: 'la creme de la creme': a wormhole!!!!!!!!!!!! and a coded information from the future (insert here dramatic music).

It's amazing for me to see how a number of good pictures, series, miniseries are continuously destroyed year after year during the past decade. This one is another example of the trend.

Do yourself a huge favor: if you are capable of being entertained by the Sci-fi genre, only watch the original movie, and you will be safe..........until Hollywood looks up again in the movie database.
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2/10
Embarrassingly awful
p b wiener27 May 2008
Hard to believe such a great book and movie could be ruined by infantile, cheap, melodramatic, two-dimensional writing, directing and camera-work, but this is a great example of how it can be done. Unwatchable. Pointless love story. Robotic characters. TV-style, quick-take, short-attention-spanning, wannabe thriller movie-making. One hopes the director and writer never get another TV credit again. Crichton should sue. I could tell from the first 30 seconds of the film that it was going to disappoint and be as predictable and unimaginative as it was. Not even HBO for pre-schoolers. See the original ASAP! IT can be watched ten times and not be as boring as this remake.
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1/10
A Strain on the imagination
Lady Heather28 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I cannot believe anybody but dull-witted Hanna Montana fans might like this stupidity. I actually thought the commercial for this movie was better than the movie.

1. How does a guy who is afraid of heights catch a freshly-cut-off flying thumb thrown from a dying homosexual from 30 feet below? I was expecting the token gay lisper to say "Nice catch!" before slipping into the liquid....

2. How many times have YOU been been bit on the butt by a wild rat while crapping in the desert?

3. At least the talking computer didn't say, "Dave, I feel it!"

4. Do eagles frequently drop bloody rats on groups of soldiers?

5. Was the dark-haired female scientist a sapling from the tree of Algore? Because she was about as wooden.

Why is it that Hollywood chooses to remake perfectly good movies and then make them worse when they do? I think they are smart enough to stay away from certain sacrosanct material, such as Casablanca (can you imagine the all-black soul version starring Eddie Murphy as Sam, Ilsa, Rick, and Laslo?), Gone With The Wind (although that stupid sequel Scarlett was bad enough to try), etc. But why even do these idiotic remakes? Have these writers really run out of ideas? Did someone put alcohol in their blood surrogate?

How many unnecessary "luv" sequences are there in this movie? " To boldly go where no man has gone before" oral sex preview; wooden actress and lead scientist; reporter dude and pothead desert chick; even the "don't ask, don't tell" gay reference about not having a date.... come ON! Can you possibly make a movie without gratuitous sexual ANYTHING in it, unless it is the weather report? AND did you notice that the two heroes who die-- the gay guy and the Chinese guy-- are our E-N-E-M-I-E-S? One for the homophobes, one for the xenophobes!!!! The only redeeming feature of this movie were the very cool forward-looking computers.
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2/10
It left me astonishingly depressed
David Pieri1 June 2008
I never cease to be amazed at how (a) multiple screenwriters can leave plot holes big enough to drive a truck (hell, a 747) through, and (b) a film company can spend $15M on a TV production and yet not spend a few thousand dollars on some bona-fide (not pseudo) scientific consulting to at least make the sci-fi plausible. Throwing together a haphazard technobabble bouillabaisse referencing every speculative idea that has appeared in Discovery Magazine or Scientific American in the last couple of years is no substitute for working out a solid plausible sci-fi extension of reality as a basis for the plot points. In the original novel, Crichton did it on spec as a grad student in medical school, for God's sake!! A weak effort at best, falling far short of the original movie.

What an utter waste of money and an embarrassment for the Scotts. If I were Michael, I would be furious, if I cared. I completely agree with the previous negative comments and remain depressed at how poorly this remake was executed. What a damned shame because an excellent opportunity was completely blown.
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1/10
Bitterly Disappointing!
Terry Bonner28 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Like so many commentators here, I am a great fan of the classic 1971 movie starring the late, great Arthur Hill. Likewise I remember fondly my reading of the taunt, engaging Michael Crichton novel when it was published in 1969. Both of these masterpieces captured my imagination as a young man, and they were formative in my future professional choice to pursue a career in medicine.

Thank God I was spared the disappointment of this shallow, vapid and disastrous waste of electrons currently being hyped by A&E.

One would think that Ridley Scott's involvement in the project, if for no other reason than the preservation of his artistic reputation and the lucrative franchise derived from that reputation, alone would have insured higher production values and a better screenplay more true to the spirit of Crichton's original plot. The 1971 Nelson Gidding screenplay took great pains to reproduce Crichton's tense chronology, thereby creating an escalating sense of urgency and a pinpoint focus on the unfolding narrative of investigation leading inevitably to discovery. The minimalist characters were secondary to the narrative, so that the real protagonist of the drama became scientific method itself.

The Robert Schenkkan screenplay, by contrast, is simply another predictable Hollywood soap opera, where the portrayal of character is paramount to all narrative substance and the gimmickry of special effects is substituted for continuity.

As inadequate as the screenplay proves to be, the casting is far worse. The late, great Arthur Hill's gravitas and dignity makes the character of Jeremy Stone credible. He is a man of reason and science whose sole concern is the Wildfire mission. There is no need for cheesy love interests or superfluous vignettes from his personal life. And it is neither in his nature nor is it integral to his mission to comport himself like some second-rate action hero.

The same does not obtain for Benjamin Bratt. One gets the distinct impression that Bratt serves the same purpose as a porcelain reproduction of Michelangelo's David. He is there merely to approximate the beauty and grace of some original masterpiece, but it is quite obvious he is only a fragile, scaled-back and ultimately disposable rendition of something, somewhere, which is real and substantial.

I won't even mention Ricky Schroder, who manages to completely eviscerate and dishonor the original James Olson role. Schroder is no actor, as even the most die-hard fans of NYPD BLUE will admit, but in this role he is particularly embarrassing. Whereas Olson's character is an irreverent and slightly impetuous intellectual, Schroder's character is simply an inarticulate smart ass who seems completely unsuited for either the medical profession or the military service.

The contrast between the great character actor Ramon Bieri and the comparably great character actor Andre Braugher is equally unsatisfactory. Braugher's lines are simplistic and his role one-dimensional, so that no amount of the talent and energy he brings to the part is able to compensate for the screenplay's deficiencies.

I suppose that times change. In 1971 the public still adored its scientific establishment. We believed in the NASA "can-do attitude" which got us to the moon and promised an eventual answer to most of the most pressing human problems through the application of scientific method.

The public malaise and paranoia brought on by Watergate and the CIA scandals of the 70s were still ahead of us then.

But, in watching this dismal remake of ANDROMEDA last night with my twenty-four year old son, I was struck by the depths to which public confidence in our institutions and in science itself has sunk. The Robert Schenkkan view of the world is bleak and cynical and pessimistic. He neither respects science nor makes any effort to ground his narrative in scientific knowledge. Rather, he substitutes simplistic myth-making for scientific method, which was one of my most vehement criticisms of the screenplays he wrote for STAR TREK: TNG.

I will not go into the non sequiturs emanating from the plot of ANDROMEDA 2008. There is no reasonable explanation for the digressions into black holes, vent mining, nanotechnology or any of the numerous red herrings erupting from the scatterbrained script. And the fact that Crichton's original premise -- that Wildfire was ultimately unsuccessful in its primary task of managing the epidemic -- was completely ignored by the remake is particularly disturbing. Instead we are presented with the Deus Ex Machina of a last-minute human solution which is about as plausible (and as morally edifying) as Tesla death-rays.

The central premise of the THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN is that mankind's commission is to understand Nature, not manipulate it. This is completely lost in the remake, rendering it soulless and morally void.

This is what we have become in 2008, a nation of arrested adolescents who seem to believe that the answers to the most vexing problems facing us will come through bullying bluster and shoot-em-up "whoopass", much as in a video game.

Crichton and Gidding celebrated the dogged, cerebral and plodding effort to understand how the Universe works. Robert Schenkkan refocused this noble effort and devolved it into yet another arrogant tale of human hubris and adolescent wish fulfillment, framed by the unbearable oppression of institutional authority.

And the great Ridley Scott prostituted his good name to put his imprimatur on the effort.

Everyone involved in this Hollywood offal deserves censure.
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6/10
Did they miss any Sci Fi clichés?
ikanboy28 May 2008
This starts off well, and if you're hoping for Crichton's complex/tense gem of a novel you'll soon be disappointed. They throw every sci fi cliché into this one. The evil govt. conspiracy (to get the master weapon); the plucky reporter; a nuke; a master monster; plenty of sci fi babble; and in the end a 10-9-8 countdown-will our hero be able to save himself and his team-followed by a "it's not over yet" fade out. Just when you think they've run out of clichés they pull another one out and throw it at you.

Ridley Scott you should be ashamed of yourself!This blots your copy book big time! LUDICROUS!!!! For teens only; they'll think it's cool!
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1/10
Who hired the marketing team to write 9-star reviews?
scott-165527 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It's fantastic that the network hired some "social media marketing" team to come in and write 9- and 10-star reviews for this piece of crap. Notice how the first 4-5 reviews are all stellar, and yet the people who actually just finished watching it on the first run of the broadcast schedule are hard pressed to give it even 2 stars.

Bad movie. Some good acting, which was impressive considering the script they had to work with. The other reviews have pointed out the endless inconsistencies and mistakes. The only thing I could add was the painful monologue at the end about how "we misuse technology." Um, no, idiot, Andromeda was from the FUTURE, therefore our technology saved us, it had nothing to do with causing the accident.
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3/10
An absolute disgrace to both the book & the film.
TheEmulator2327 May 2008
I can't begin to say all that is bad about this extremely long terribly boring mini-series. First off the script is terrible. Here is one of the worst things that is said & mind you these are supposed to be some of the smartest minds of all. "Oh the power is out so there is no way to get up to the other floors, so well why don't we just climb up manually? Wow that's a brilliant idea." I'm not kidding this is actually said. Besides the script even the effects and the acting is wooden. This wouldn't be as bad if it weren't for the fact that you have to endure this for 4 HOURS!!! Well not counting commercials it is probably ONLY 3 hours but even still it is just not watching. Considering the fact this was done better (although outdated) in 1971 makes this version even worse. Please don't waste your time with this snore-worthy mini-series drivel.
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1/10
Silly
fasc26 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Curious...

1) Why would a highly-classified government agency, under military purview and overseen by a four star general, give this degree of access to what are clearly anti-government civilians--including one with a known tie to a conspiracy nut in the media--AND give them unrestricted communication to the outside world?

2) Especially since the government is willing to covertly murder civilians to protect the project.

3) How can a helicopter fly as fast an an F-16?

4) How do you get a team composed of EXACTLY one Asian, one Latino, one African-American, one white woman and one homosexual?

...and that's just the first hour. It just doesn't pass the common sense test.
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1/10
A wonderful example of business school grad morons at work
Chung Mo1 June 2008
Everything about this is so truly awful that I actually watched the whole thing. The original movie was unique in that we actually got to see scientific research in action. Here we get to see Hollywood management in action. Add pieces from Alien, Day after Tomorrow, X-Files, recent gore films, even Prince of Darkness plus a reporter on drugs sub-plot, and many other things that have no place in the story. If you cut all that out you will find that the remains last less time than the original film. The final battle against the microbes is sub-SciFi channel. The production looks good but who cares? The acting from the main stars is unbelievably indifferent (give me my paycheck, I'm outta here). Bad bad bad.
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1/10
Stupid, Idiotic, normal for a mini movie
mark-440126 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Waste of time!

IF the movie was made by a High School Drama Team... then OK... good work. Otherwise, this stinks

Just like all the other "Mini Movies"... which are put together in haste...

Token Asian "brain" guy Token female "hero" chick Token White "bad" guy Token military "evil" guy Token politician "cover-up" guy Token teenage "couple in love" pair

Typical small town Typical... "this is going to end it all for the world" theme

Bad acting, bad casting, and VERY BAD research...

The USAF logo... is a RECRUITING logo for the USAF

There are NO 4-Star Generals except in time of war!

Why have a camouflaged business jet for the "General"? Is he going to land that thing in Iraq?

Where did that response team come from so fast? No-town Utah is suppose to be in the middle of nowhere! Oh... that's right, they were dropped out of the government sponsored UFO!

Since when has ANY "First Lady" looked that good?

And from the very start I just knew that someone would suggest "nuking" the town... which they did suggest. That is how predictable this waste of time is!

Again... if it was done by a bunch of High School drama students... then great! You have some imagination. But if I paid to have a ad during the movie... I would demand a refund!

Speaking of ads.... Ford actually did an ad during the movie based on the movie... I will never buy a Ford!
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1/10
Possibly the dumbest TV miniseries ever
Captain Ed10 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
When I first heard that A&E remade the sci-fi classic The Andromeda Strain as a four-hour miniseries, I immediately made it a high priority for this week's viewing. I read the book repeatedly as a boy, so much so that my father still jokes about it. The original movie followed the book rather closely, but it dragged; except for the first 20 minutes and the last 30, the pace could cure insomnia.

After seeing part 1, I can say that the producers have cured that problem, but at the expense of making the story almost unrecognizable. As in the original, the plot involves a covert effort by the American government to find biological material in space that could be used as a weapon on earth, but unlike the original, we know that immediately. In attempting to cover that up, some members of the government try blaming the North Koreans for infecting the damaged satellite, even though as one character finally points out, why would Pyongyang spend all the money to send a biological weapon into space hoping an American satellite would come close enough to it to hit it and trust that said satellite would hit the US? The character who says that points out that Homeland Security can't be bothered to inspect most shipping, leaving that method wide open.

And that brings us to some of the other updates. Everyone has personal problems in this remake; the Head Scientist has a bipolar wife, the Nosy Reporter has a cocaine addiction, three of the main characters have unresolved personal conflicts from the war. It's all very Lifetime Channel in that sense. Worse, though, are the little zingers that the writers of the remake put into the script about the current war and administration. When the Utah National Guard gets mobilized to quarantine the area, the Nosy Reporter tells his television audience that the UNG expects the call-up to be brief and says with a smirk, "Where have we heard that before?" One character postulates that the US supplied Saddam with all of his biological weapons, and so on. These pop up on a regular basis about every 20 minutes during the first installment.

At the end of the first episode, the political correctness had pretty much run amuck, or so we thought. In the finale, we got even more than I thought could be crammed into a four-hour show. A crisis over "vent mining" on the ocean floor turns into a terrorist crisis, but that's not the end of that subplot. Two of the doctors fall in love when they're supposed to be saving the world. The one military doctor turns out to be gay, and since he's the key man, it gives him an opportunity to say, "It's ironic. The one person the military most fears turns out to be the one they trust to save the day." Even those of us who think don't-ask-don't-tell is hypocritical rolled their eyes at that development, which had nothing to do with anything else in the movie.

But that's just the beginning of the stupidity. It turns out that Andromeda is a messenger from the nearby wormhole. The message? "Don't mess with vent mining". The entire infection comes from our future, where vent mining apparently turned out worse than what the hysterics fantasize about pumping oil out of ANWR. Humanity send Andromeda and its packing material back to the past as a message, based in binary code hidden deep within the molecular structure, to tell us to leave Mother Earth alone.

Of course, no one bothers to ask why Future Earth does this in a way that would kill every living organism on Past Earth. No one in the script conference that created this bothered to ask why Future Earth wouldn't just send a metal plate through the wormhole that said, "HEY! STOP VENT MINING! LOVE, YOUR GRANDCHILDREN". Wouldn't that have been more effective and a lot less likely to, say, kill all of Future Earth's ancestors? Maybe we could send a message back that said, "HEY! WE'LL STOP VENT MINING WHEN YOU QUIT PLAYING WITH KILLER ORGANISMS! LOVE, GRANDMA AND GRANDPA". We can send that with some influenza as payback.

The ending provides the biggest unintentional laughs. The military doctor has been designated the key man, the one who has to stop the self-destruct sequence of the laboratory that will provide unimaginable power to Andromeda for mutations. Unlike in the novel, he dies when he falls in the tunnel into a pool of water used by the nuclear reactor, just as he hands off the key that will stop the sequence to the project leader. Unfortunately, the key sequence requires the military doctor's thumb for identification, which leads another doctor to do a Mr. Spock (Wrath of Khan) and go into the water to cut off the thumb. He then throws the thumb straight up for two stories to the project leader who's hanging on the side of the wall, complete with a close-up, slo-mo sequence of the thumb tumbling towards the hero as the self-sacrificing doctor dies in a pool of water that wouldn't be radioactive anyway.

It provides a perfect analogy to the entire movie. The only way this mess should get a thumbs-up is if a reviewer cut one off in protest and threw it in the air. The rest of the ending is fairly anticlimactic, with a few assorted assassinations as everyone starts covering up the government's role in the affair. Everyone's loved ones suddenly finds themselves free of the personal problems that plagued them. The President declares that he'll continue vent mining despite the strongly-worded memo from the future, which makes sense; I'd try to kill Future Earth too, after a stunt like Andromeda.

What a shame. It could have been interesting; instead, it gives a peek into the mind of the politically-correct paranoids who produced this dreck.
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1/10
Awful
Marty Houser27 May 2008
Simply horrible: overblown made-for-TV-movie melodrama, poor acting, silly makeup effects and production design, bad direction. And a script that foolishly adds multiple, painfully obvious plot lines to the original story so that the taut and gripping plot of the novel is almost completely obscured. Despite having more running time than the 1971 movie, this soggy mini-series seems rushed to cram in all the stupidity it can.

Watch it at your peril, if you want a satisfying, chilling, and intelligent movie, rent the well-crafted Robert Wise version; it is one of the great SF movies of the 1970s. It is one of the rare movies that really shows science at work, and the scenes of death at Piedmont will always stick with you.
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2/10
shameful 'remake' of a classic
Charles McGrew31 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It's Michael Crichton I feel sorry for. He wrote a cracking good story, which was turned into a tense, tight technological drama by a master filmmaker back in 1971. But this here retelling (for that's what it is sold as, even though it is not) is what his story will be remembered for. Did he really need the money that bad? Or did this one just get away from him, handed to a hack writer and hack director, and he was helpless to stop it? Is it possible that his agent has been fired and imprisoned for besmirching a good writer's name? God, I hope so.

Where the original had serious characters doing serious work, this one has lightweights acting like lightweights. You can't take them seriously, so you can't take the threat they face seriously. Those that aren't lightweights are brainless, doing things they cannot explain, and make no sense. Bad writing requires unrealistic, unexplained, and rock-stupid behavior from minor characters to move things along, since the writer can't figure things out himself. He's written himself into a dead end (as happens repeatedly here), and so the bad-writing bible is consulted (which reads, "when in doubt, explosions"), the necessary explosion occurs, and we move on.

If Michael Crichton liked this telling of his story, he has seriously slipped as a story teller. This one is full of Hollywood's version of reality. Stupid (but pretty) figures act in ways that make no sense, saying things that are the same, while shadowy governmental (but pretty) figures who act with no rhyme or reason, have trouble at home, and obsess about polls, and all all characters generally have various lightweight obsessions that swamps any larger issues, until you can't see the larger issues except as explosions before commercials. Replacing serious, competent scientists wrestling with a terrifyingly opaque threat, this version has a bunch of doofuses standing around (in what looks like the old sets from "Level 9") talking about pretty much anything but what they should be, until the explosion express arrives to move things along.

Frivolous plot details (like all the endless 'backstory' stuff about Stone, his loser wife, his loser kid and his ex-girlfriend, the entirety of the reporter story, and the whole vent-mining thing, with a message-from-the-future in large part stolen from "Sphere") are brought in at the expense of important original plot details, which are handled by lengthy, voice-of-god exposition, since there isn't time to actually play them out like they should. (How many times did somebody announce that they were not an expert at something, give a ridiculous opinion, which was then taken as fact by all the other characters, and acted upon? I lost count.) This, apparently, passes for 'good' in Hollywood these days (or at least 'normal', because every miniseries I've seen of late looks and sounds exactly like this.) In the land of bad writing - that is, Hollywood - every story needs a bad guy, and to the unimaginative (like here), this requires literally a bad guy; some evil male doing evil things, who must be overcome and who must then die for his pains. In the land of good, imaginative writing, the thing to be overcome can be other things - for instance, the mystery of Andromeda, and that alone. Believe it or not, hollywoodfolk, such a simple, direct story can hold an audience.

The thing I can't figure out is that lots of people saw this script before it was made; they saw what was intended. The people at A and E (who originally broadcast it), at the least. They must have known what a load of drivel it was. They convinced themselves, somehow, despite evidence to the contrary, that this was good stuff - something suitable to be either "arts" or "entertainment". Alas, this is neither.

I am sure some dweeb at 'Scott Free Productions' actually said the phrase "updating a 40 year old story for a new century" in a meeting, and the people around the table nodded sagely and ponied up the money. Are they proud of their labors? Did they think they were really doing justice to the original? God, I hope not. Because if so, then they are gonna ruin more television, and probably give themselves emmies too... Somebody once said that although everybody in Hollywood (and in this case, Vancouver) does their absolute best, sometimes what we get out of it defines how little talent they had to work with to begin with. Nowhere has this been demonstrated better (except, perhaps, by the body of work of Ed Wood), than in this.

Anyway, do yourself a favor - skip this, or you'll wind up like me, shouting at the television "for god's sake, shut up and get on with it" over and over. Better still, see the original. Better than that, read the original.
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3/10
What happened to the story?
Gerry Nelson22 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I have enjoyed watching the 1971 Move "The Andromeda Strain" Starting Arthur Hill, James Olsen, Kate Reid, Mark Jenkins. many times. I read the book years ago, and I have watched the movie every few years and, though I know the plot and a lot of the dialog, it is an interesting and engaging story which had been nominated for 2 Oscars. It was an interesting, thought provoking film with some fairly tense moments in it. I found the 'new' version yesterday, recorded it, and my wife and I watched it today. As the plot of the film is being developed, somewhat differently than in the original, it becomes clear that something is likely to happen to greatly influence the progress and outcome of this version. Just when the excitement and interest start to ramp up, the story switches gears, A related incident in a town near the affected area of the virus/bug/whatever we are fighting escalates the problem. An unwise decision to proceed with an nuclear weapon meant to 'wipe out the bug' is prematurely instigated. Then the attack appears to be stopped just in the nick of time and in a few seconds, the movie is over. It was just as if there were to be one or more sequels to finish or redirect the story to conclusion, but it just quits, leaving the viewer asking 'Did I fall asleep and miss the ending? I cannot think of a single movie ever that I saw where the movie quit rather than ended. I don't think this was an ending that was supposed to send you home discussing the outcome for days.....Perhaps there is/are sequels I do not know about. If there is no sequel or followups, there are a number of side issues developed that have no meaning at all now.
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Typical Bad Gen Y Small Attention Span Remake
cvoci-12 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The original novel and 1971 movie worked because it was character driven, taught story. Unfortunately the new remake takes so many liberties and turns the whole thing into something else, something way overdone.

For those not familiar with the 1971 move, I suggest you watch it.

Let's compare and contrast: Cast - The original cast was well selected; each character was well defined (quickly) and were believable as scientists. Of special note was Kate Reid, who played Dr. Levitt to the hilt as a sarcastic, "speak your mind" genius. Arthur Hill played Dr. Stone with just the right amount of politics and authority without being over the top.

The new cast was just unbelievable, too "soap opera perfect". Everyone was too beautiful to be believable. The only exception was Rick Shroeder who did well. The rest of the cast was just too overwrought. Also, some of the characters are inappropriately missing or recast to fit a more Hollywood PC beautifulness.

Story - The original story rarely strays outside of Wildfire as the main focus is on the four scientists trying to come to a solution to the problem. The only time we are not in the lab was in the beginning when Stone and Hall go to the town for an up close look and to retrieve Scoop. Other shots included momentary scents of a jet fighter taking pictures of the town, a few scenes in Vandenberg etc. just to move the story along. Because a lot of the threat is implied the viewer is allowed to imagine the degree of horror, doom and destruction in their own mind - which would truly out do any graphic depictions.

the new version is all over the place and the consequences of the spread are magnified - taking away the ability of the viewer to let their mind run wild about what is going on. As I said, this is an unimaginative "in your face" kind of affair.

Special Effects - The original is certainly dated from a technological standpoint as it was made in 1971. Mainframe computers and Electron microscopes the size of bazookas are long gone, but all of this was in vogue and cutting edge at the time it was made. Also though the special effects and technology were very prominent, they are still merely props the characters used to move the story along, not the center of attention.

In the new movie, it is an onslaught of special effects. Everything is again overdone and so in your face that the sense of impending doom is stripped away. The body count is raised for sure and the degree of spread is raised exponentially. Though technologically impressive, the effects seem to be as much of the story as the characters, not a compliment to them.

All in all this unimaginative presentation disappoints and it is certainly way too long. Unlike the compact and tense original, this is nothing more than an overdone "re-imagining" (??) of a timeless gem of science fiction. Don't waste time on this mess
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1/10
Part One vs Part 2
john_wightman27 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Part One was very exciting and well done. It seemed to go along with the book very well (I read the original book over thirty years ago) Tonight I was excited for part two...what a disappointment!...and that's an understatement!!! As previously mentioned by my fellow writers, this movie introduced and brought back some of the things the original movie built on...like epilepsy...PH levels...the baby and the old man...the lower level being incomplete and sealing them off. They did nothing with any of that. To make matters worse they add Dr Stones wife and kid troubles...a brief love encounter...a gay man...all this for no reason and could and should have been left out of the movie entirely.

Stick with the script...did Michael approve of this? Remakes should be better, not worse. Did we not learn anything from the remake of Rollerball?
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