In 2008, The Scott brothers, along with the master of the mini-series, Mikael Salomon, decided to remake the 1969 debut novel and 1971 film, The Andromeda Strain, written by famed Jurassic Park author, Michael Crichton. The film was in serious need of an upgrade, and while the new technology really enhanced the film, making it all the more believable, the updates to the story along with the new characters that were introduced, really did the original story a disservice.
The story begins when a NASA satellite is knocked out of the sky by an unknown source, crashing outside a small town in Utah. Two teenagers find the satellite and take it home to investigate it, when they open the casing, all of a sudden they fall ill, and soon after, the town becomes a ghost town full of corpses. When the . Government discovers what happened, they bring in a team of Doctors to investigate, using a new state of the art facility, that has technology that isn't even supposed to exist.
Law & Order veteran, Benjamin Bratt stars and gives a performance that rivals anything else he's ever done. When most people think of Bratt, they see Detective Curtis from Law & Order or the guy that was married to Julia Roberts. It's how he is perceived and he's had a very hard time moving passed those defining events, but he is really good at what he does and deserves a lot more recognition then he gets.
Bratt plays the Doctor in charge of the team, and is paired with an all-star cast of different characters, meant to enhance the story. Ricky Schroder is the army's guy, a single, tough as nails brat, that wants to just blow everything up. Academy Award Winner, Viola Davis, plays an enhanced version of an original character, who is used sparingly, becoming almost obsolete. The final new addition to the team is Lost's Daniel Dae Kim, who I find to be a terrific actor. His character was an extremely stereotypical Chinese doctor, who specialized in biological warfare, and was completely unnecessary to the story. I understanding wanting to add diversity to the team, but the way his character was written, was just shy of crossing the line into racist.
This only character not in the original story that I felt belonged, was Bratt's right hand man (actually woman) played masterfully by Christa Miller from Scrubs. It was so strange to see her play a serious Doctor after watching he play a comedic one for almost a decade, but she was the one new addition I really liked.
The cast is rounded out by the Army General in charge played by the amazing Andre Braugher and a reporter trying to uncover the truth, played by Eric McCormack. Braugher's character remained the same, but McCormack's was changed to make him into a drug addict and I don't understand that either. The reporter was always one of the strongest and most interesting characters, so why replace him with a mess of a man that just escaped rehab?
The basic story was not changed, just modernized, and for that we are very thankful. The story was always a terrific tale of Science Fiction and an early message about the damage we are doing to our planet. I like how the story was updated and I loved the technological advancements. What I didn't like was how much they changed the cast. They wanted to make them more diverse and I don't have a problem with that, but this is not a story that focuses on individuals, it's more about the virus, the technology, and the human impact on our planet. In that sense, I felt it hurt the series, but the technology enhanced it, evening things out. The original novel and movie were 4 stars, and so is the remake. It's different, but there wasn't much harm done, the way you often see in remakes. I think Michale Crichton would have approved.