I am in the minority, or maybe the silent majority but certainly not with the vocal bunch of naysayers who disliked A&E’s Andromeda Strain with a passion usually reserved for love interests on Supernatural.
Perhaps this comes from the fact that I’m from the Irwin Allen school of scifi — rubber monsters, overly dramatic plotting, ‘if 5 is good then 50 is better’ mentality. I’d rather watch Lost in Space than Forbidden Planet, so my tolerance for science fiction that is more fiction than science is higher than most.
I enjoyed the exciting race to the finish in the second part with some notable exceptions: (SPOILERS)
1. The “smart” virus. I can buy an organism that mutates for survival, but one that has the intelligence to organize the destruction of a plane in order to activate the nuclear bomb that’s on board? Alien origins or not, that’s more far fetched than the guy who grows Army men out of plastic toys on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
2. The bird attack on the soldiers. Leave that stuff to Hitchcock, it just didn’t work here.
3. The reporter – a chance for a great storyline that never came together. Eric McCormick looks like a guy with Britney’s manager on his speed dial, not the top scientist from the Wildfire lab. And hello. . . drug addict with no drugs for how long? I was expecting his drug habit to be the reason he wasn’t infected while wandering around the contaminated zone for so long. Alas, not.
4. What was up with the siege on the drilling platform. I expected it to be a complication to the story when we found out that the cure was down there under the platform. But we can’t get to it because of the protestors! That would have been a good twist. It’s like they had more story about the rig but cut it for time. What was the point?
5. The race to shut down the self-destruct. This is a big one. We all knew the self-destruct was going to go off from the moment it was described in part one. (And ONLY Ricky Schroeder can shut it down!) Fine by me, and the whole race up the ventilation shaft was so very Poseidon Adventure that I was along for the ride. But killed two of the team members that late in the game just annoyed the heck out of me. Especially Daniel Dae Kim. His death was worthless and can we talk about tossing the thumb up with tons of debris falling down and still Bratt catches it on the first try? Yeah, right.
Hmm, so taking a look at what I just wrote, it appears I didn’t like this movie as much as I thought I did!
On the positive side, it did keep me entertained throughout the four hours and there was only a small bit on day two where the story started to drag. I liked the special effects (with the exception of the birds). I like the government conspiracy behind the conspiracy and I love the idea that we kept a sample of the virus thus creating one of those loops where we are the engineers of our own destruction. I thought all of the actors were well cast, except for McCormick and I particularly enjoyed the actor playing the president.
When it comes right down to it, Andromeda Strain left me thinking and worrying about how something like this could happen for real. Forget virus from space, how about a bio-terrorist attack? Andromeda Strain points out how easy it would be for a virus to spread with animals and weather conditions and plain old human curiosity. I can only hope that there’s a real-life Wildfire lab somewhere here in the US ready for activation in case of emergency only without a thumbprint fail-safe on the auto-destruct.