Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pop Matters on the Science of The Andromeda Strain

Pop Matters laments the crappiness the recent Andromeda Strain miniseries as compared to the original novel and movie, in part because they watered down the science:

In this regard perhaps the biggest modification is to the factual scientific background behind The Andromeda Strain. If you think about it, with so many groundbreaking advances in the areas of biochemistry, microbiology, genomics, medicine, physics, astrophysics, biowarfare, and informatics that have taken place during the past 40 years, it would have served The Andromeda Strain well if there had been a revamping of its technological setting and jargon.

Regrettably, the filmmakers of these miniseries opted instead for truly far fetched pseudoscientific theories involving time travel and evil aliens bent on intergalactic domination. Indeed, it almost appears as if the new The Andromeda Strain attempted to combine the time travel complexities found in Crichton’s (1987), John Carpenter’s SpherePrince of Darkness (1987), and Leonard Nimoy’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) with the extraterrestrial messengers from Roger Donaldson’s Species (1995) and John Bruno’s Virus (1999).

I definitely agree.

The article goes on to argue that a part of the problem was the shift in emphasis from the science of the original to pubic policy with a relationship to current events in the miniseries.
In this regard, it is perhaps ironic that because of our current fears about the prospect of biological weapons deployed by terrorists in our cities, the science and procedures behind Crichton’s book are as relevant as ever. As such, the original The Andromeda Strain almost appears to be prophetic. Therefore, the reader is urged to peruse the novel, and forget about these miniseries.
And that's what libraries are for!

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