Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Andromeda: Like Benjamin Bratt, everything's too casual
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN 2008 mini-series. Director: Mikael Salomon.

When an entire town is suddenly wiped out by a plague, scientists are called in to identify the organism, possibly extra-terrestrial in origin, that killed everyone, and find out why two people -- an old man and a baby -- survived. They take them to a hidden base to try and find the answers. One scene in particular illustrates the problem with this three hour remake of 1971's far superior The Andromeda Strain. Project leader Jeremy Stone (Benjamin Bratt of Catwoman) confers with a colleague while sitting in a very casual position that belies the urgency of what's going on, a problem with the telefilm in general. [I'm not saying people might not relax even during a crisis, but this is supposed to be a thriller, right?] The movie is padded with unnecessary scenes, such as entire tiresome sequences built around a reporter played bv Eric McCormack, who is good but at times seems to be reverting to Will of Will and Grace,and much more is made of the political/paranoia angle than before. The performances are okay but Kate Reid of the original film is sorely missed, although Daniel Dae Kim, Viola Davis, and Andre Braugher make more of an impression than the others. In this the old man survivor, Tobler (Tom McBeath, who is good), is more dimensional, and one character, Major Keane (Ricky Schroder), is openly gay [yet conservative], but the script doesn't allow him to be a hero. It's interesting that one of the producers of this ultimately tedious TV production is Ridley Scott, whose Alien sort of borrowed the climax of the original (a character desperately racing to countermand an order to self-destruct), a scene repeated in this with some variations but which still manages to lack tension and excitement. To be fair there are a couple of creepy moments, and the early sections may be compelling to people who are unfamiliar with the story.

Verdict: Stick with the original. **. 

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