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The Andromeda Strain (2008)
DVD disk
06.09.2008 By: Jason Adams
The Andromeda Strain (2008) order
Director:
Mikael Salomon

Actors:
Benjamin Bratt
Christa Miller
Rick Schroeder

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A fallen satellite unleashes an unstoppable plague on the midwest United States, and its up to a group of ethnically diverse scientists to figure out how to stop it.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
TV networks are no longer content just showing regular shows anymore, are they? Now everybody wants to be in the event movie business, which usually produces poor results. An update of the ANDROMEDA STRAIN felt unnecessary, but I thought coming from producers Ridley and Tony Scott it would be at least decent. Not so much.

It's been quite a few years since I read Michael Crichton's original novel, but I remember it being a gripping thriller-mystery on the page—something that is completely lost in the translation to the small screen. Sure, it's mildly interesting at parts, but unbelievably generic and laughably stupid everywhere else. With similar stories coming to us weekly on shows like House, you really need to up the ante; a task the filmmakers failed to do. As a miniseries, it's overly long and repetitive, obviously stretched out to multiple-night length by gaping plot holes and random subplots. The whole side story of Eric McCormack's reporter-turned-action hero is completely pointless. We (barely) care about the disease, not some random guy trying to break open the story.

ANDROMEDA STRAIN also challenges THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW as dumbest eco-message movie ever. (You can even see the virus "chasing" people, just like the ice did in Roland Emmerich's masterpiece.) The whole film is one giant "love Mother Earth…or else" message, punctuated by the expected conspiracy theories and obvious mentions of terrorism, Iraq, global warming, etc. This could be ignored, but when you see the President continuously doing a bad Bush impression, you know exactly the level of gravitas the filmmakers are shooting for.

To drive home my hope that you'll never watch this, I'm going to spoil the end of the movie so you can see the stupidity for yourself. Ready? Okay, turns out the virus, which came through a wormhole at the end of the solar system, has been sent to us from our future selves. Why would we do this? Well, the President is about to start mining for resources in the ocean, and one mineral will be key in fighting the future outbreak. So instead of sending us a note that says "Hey guys, you might want to hold on to that rock," they send back a mutating hellplague that murders a few thousand people. Wow, we're assholes in the future.
THE EXTRAS
The two-disc DVD boasts "Over 4 Hours of Bonus Features!" but I think they're counting the 3 hour commentary, which is cheating.

Commentary: Even if you care enough about the movie to listen to what the director, editor and a couple producers have to say (nothing too interesting, sadly), parts of the track sound like it was recorded in a tin can, which is annoying.

Terra Incognita (26:06): A standard Making Of doc with cast and crew interviews, minus Ridley or Tony Scott of course. The gist seems to be that this update is better because it's longer and technology has improved. If you say so.

Visual Effects Breakdowns (15:37): Pretty much everything here were just minor touch ups with effects that aren't really worth revisiting. (Computer screens, really?!) Even if you're interested in this kinda stuff, it goes on way too long.

Photo/Design Gallery.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The only thing I took away from this boring waste of a good story is that I'm still not completely comfortable with hearing Jin from Lost (Korean actor Daniel Dae Kim, who plays a Chinese guy here) speak English. It just feels wrong.

Extra Tidbit: Click here to read the screenwriter try to defend himself.
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