The Andromeda Strain (A&E 2008 mini)

June 15, 2008 by  

I had heard about this a few weeks ago, and I liked the cast; am a big fan of Benjamin Bratt although I think he’s buried in a wall of melodrama. I liked that the Scott brothers were behind it, and it did look like it had some promise. After all, the 70’s adaptation was boring as far as I was concerned, compared to the novel which was riveting.

Well, this is a two part miniseries, and I guess I can’t make a total judgment until tonight’s concluding part but I can say this: it has a lot of work to do if I’m to give it at all a semblance of a glowing review.

This is a laughably bad adaptation. First of all, it takes itself way too seriously. In that, I mean, there’s no mocking the fact that just like every other modern day adaptation of a classic story, there’s PCification galore. Not that creating cultural diversity is a bad thing, but when it’s so predictably done for race-baiting purposes or some other lame attempt at showing how “far we’ve come”, it’s at best distracting and at worst overbearingly annoying.

Nearly all of this story is unrecognizable to the original novel, with new and uninteresting plot lines created; 24th century technology is used extensively throughout–and when I say that I mean that these “scientists” basically utilize a computer that they must have borrowed from the Star Ship Enterprise in order to “read” what the Andromeda virus is doing.

For those who don’t know the story, “The Andromeda Strain” is basically about an alien virus that has crash landed on earth in a little town in southern Utah, and it’s the story of the scientists who must contain it.

But in this bombastic, maximum overdrive adaptation, the producers and writers must have felt that that sort of angle is not interesting enough to sustain a 2 part miniseries (which it didn’t need to be). So they created a bunch of useless scenes of people going nuts and killing each other or themselves, and showing how damaging this virus is.

I don’t know why people keep getting Crichton wrong but I have yet to see an adaptation of something he’s done that is remotely close to being as entertaining and thought provoking as his original work. “Jurassic Park” was fun and visually impressive but still lacking most of the elements that made the book so great; “The 13th Warrior” and “Congo” were embarrassments. Perhaps like Lovecraft, his work is just unfilmable. Or at least, maybe you just can’t ever get the potency of his work translated to film.

In any event, while the miniseries is watchable, and I’ll most likely go ahead and watch the conclusion–it’s certainly not anything to go out of your way to see. A&E is doing their best to promote the living shit out of it with already offering the DVD and web sites that show “more of what the virus does”. But they really spent way too much time and effort on something that is very simplistic and dull, and cheap.

I just hope it’s not contagious.

:smile::smile::???::roll: out of :grin::grin::grin::grin:

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