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Our First Review of A&E’s

I am – Hercules!!

The “Andromeda Strain” miniseries doesn’t hit A&E until May 26 (or DVD until June 3), but it’s just been transmitted to audiences in the United Kingdom via the Sky satellite. Our reviewer says, “Even alcohol didn’t help relieve the pain as I sat through it. In the end I wish I hadn’t bothered watching this fiasco. To be honest I wish they hadn’t even made it. Heck, there’s three hours of my life I’m never going to get back again.” Here’s “Troyminator”:
The Andromeda Strain, based on the Michael Crichton novel aired this weekend on Sky TV in the UK. I had high hopes for this mini series. I love the novel and I’ve always enjoyed watching the original movie. The story A satellite crashes to Earth and releases a virus that wipes out an entire town in a matter of minutes. There are only two survivors; an alcoholic old man and a young baby. A team of scientists in a high-tech underground laboratory try to find a way to stop the rapidly mutating virus and unravel the puzzle of why the drunk and the baby survived. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, a containment breach in the lab activates the countdown on a nuclear bomb and a race against time to save themselves (and the world) ensues. There are spoilers ahead! Originally committed to film by Robert (Star Trek) Wise in 1971 the Andromeda Strain is typical Michael Crichton fare. There’s a group of people in a high tech environment and something goes wrong (hey it worked in Westworld, Jurassic Park and Prey so why change a winning formula?). With Tony and Ridley Scott attached as exec Producers the new two part mini series looks like it has a decent pedigree in Sci-Fi and action behind the scenes. In the original movie the technology was cutting edge for the late sixties and the basic premise of the story and the technology have been updated for a modern audience. It DOES get techno-jargon heavy at times but that’s not the biggest problem with this big budget fiasco. I settled down to watch it Monday evening and twenty minutes into the proceeding I realised that I was bored. This is meant to be a tense, dramatic techno thriller but instead it just dragged on and on. From the onset things looked dire as two kids watched a satellite fall out of the sky and then against all reason loaded it into the back of their pickup and headed home with it. The military recovery team follow the satellites signal into town and find the place littered with bodies. The soldiers die horribly and suddenly as the virus gets to work and the military activates the “Wildfire” team, a group of scientists formed to combat viral threats. Benjamin Bratt as Dr Stone, a molecular biologist leads the team and nearly sent me to sleep with his one note performance. Damn the guy was boring. I struggled to believe that anyone this dull could possibly have the ladies man rep that the character was meant to have. Stone is the only character from the novel to keep his original name, all the other scientists have had their names switched in an unnecessary way except for Daniel Day Kim (Lost) as Dr Tsi Chou a former Chinese scientist (at least that name change made sense). Kim was actually one of the two actors in this that I found watchable to be fair. The other was Eric McCormack (Will and Grace) as reporter Jack Nash, a character created just for the mini series. There were some nifty little scenes where we saw some of the virus victims going insane and killing themselves or others and the two coolest scenes from the movie have been retained; the first where the scientists enter the virus ravaged town and slice open the wrist of one of the victims only to have powdered blood pour from the wound. The other is where a jet is overflying the town and all the rubber begins to disintegrate as the virus attacks it. Now these looked cool in the seventies, but they looked incredibly CG in this re-imagined version. Some of the stuff in there just seems tacked on, such as a terrorist threat sub-plot that seemed to come out of nowhere and vanished just as quickly. There are conspiracies and webs of intrigue galore and one of the most amazingly stupid pieces of writing I’ve ever witnessed in a re-make. The satellite in the novel and original was designed to find upper atmosphere microorganisms for germ warfare. All fine and dandy right? It ties is nicely with the modern world of WMD’s and biowarfare. For some reason however the writer has decided that this isn’t good enough and in an incredible stretch of the imagination the probe has apparently been sent through a WORMHOLE from the FUTURE! What? I couldn’t believe the sheer stupidity of it. Why drop a perfectly decent plot device that WORKS and makes sense for one that you don’t even get in crap sci-fi? The other piece of stupidity I laughed at was the way that the military tried to get rid of the pesky reporter to prevent him going public with his story. They shoved him on a helicopter with a bomb. Sorry? They blew up thousands of dollars of military aircraft and several servicemen just to silence a reporter? Why not take him out back and put a bullet through his head after all the posturing about him being persona non grata? After watching the first installment I was hoping that they’d saved all the good stuff for part two. Boy was I wrong. Even alcohol didn’t help relieve the pain as I sat through it. In the end I wish I hadn’t bothered watching this fiasco. To be honest I wish they hadn’t even made it. Heck, there’s three hours of my life I’m never going to get back again. And don’t even get me started about the “thumb” scene.

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