Review: 'Andromeda' is a Strain

The immediate reaction to receiving the screener from A&E was positive, seeing who was involved in this remake of a sci-fi classic piece of literature.

The problem is the story has not aged well. We've been served similar stories in film that did so.  Think "Outbreak", and even to some degree, "Event Horizon."

The executive producers behind "The Andromeda Strain" are the prolific Scott brothers - Ridley and Tony - so we expect top-notch crew and post effects people to dazzle us. 

Ridley gave us the "Alien" franchise after all.

Instead, we get slow-mo car wash scenes of foamy decontamination showers giving us glimpses of Christa Miller's breast implant profile, Hitchcockian CGI "Birds" kamikaze moments and more improbable slow-mo severed thumb flinging scenes that border on laughable. 

The dialogue could have been sharper, tighter.  The opening scene of Benjamin Bratt's mentally-ill wife was unkind and sounded like it was written by someone who was going through an acrimonious divorce.

Bratt is stoic Dr. Stone, General Mancheck is played woodenly by Andre Braugher.  Bratt's old paramour student (now Doctor) is Christa Miller as Dr. Angela Noyce, Daniel Dae Kim does a good turn as Dr. Tsi Chou, Viola Davis hams it up as Dr. Charlene Barton, and Ricky Schroder is our resident closeted homosexual, Major Bill Keene, M.D.

Which brings us to the reporter Jack Nash played by Eric McCormack. He seemed the only one in on the campy nature this film takes, and has the best toss-away lines.  He had fun with what was written for him.

The original story of Andromeda featured a satellite probe that searches the highest points of Earth's atmosphere for new germs to use in the creation of bio-warfare.

This version takes it to deep space via worm holes. We get cliff note dialogue invoking "bucky balls" to explain the fallen satellite that begins killing people on the spot.

Not viral, the DNA-less organism displays intelligence and aggression. Our meddling chicks have come to roost, as they say.

The writers use a looming presidential election, titsy foreign government interferences (Korea), environmentalist terrorism, homeland security, competing insular government agency communication problems and black-op conspiracy theories to dress up the "it came from above" plot.

The series was done in by trying too hard, and by way of casting and writing, not making us care enough about any of the characters to want any more of it.