The Andromeda Pain [Spoilers]

On Saturday, I had to leave FudCON early so I could catch an early plane from Providence RI. Taking the T commuter on the weekend seems to be a packed occurrence.. even without a game it was pretty full. [The conductor for our end of the train sat next to me on the last run, and was saying he had been running up and down all day... ] When I got out at Providence, I went to get a cab, but the driver said it would cost me 3.00 to get there and I only needed to walk a couple of blocks.. so I did and got lost :). Not too bad, the big issue was that there was construction and I kept going to the wrong hotel. It was a nice experience, the downtown river is set up for Naples gondoliers (and smells much nicer than Naples)... so I watched that for a bit. When I got to the hotel, I was really beat and laid down and watched whatever looked appealing. It was there that I got caught up in the A&E movie "The Andromeda Strain" where they take Micheal Crichton's book and try to make it into a 6+ hour series.

I had read some painful reviews of the movie, and it surpassed most of them. I switched between channels but I can only watch so much high-stakes Poker... and I didn't want to turn on the computer and I wanted to save my book reading for the next day's flight. In the end, I kept coming back to the "Andromeda Pain" and coming up with a list of where this was really broken. I liked the actors for the most part, and they seemed to be making as much of what was broken, but the editing and the story had so many problems.. it was hard for them to keep a straight face in some scenes.
  1. My number one peeve is.. if you have to use time-travel to save your story.. you should start from ground zero. Time travel is really really hard to do without coming up with general paradoxes, not alone large ones. As in, if the future Earth is being wiped out by some sulphur based lifeform, would they use basic chemistry and come up with a Silver based chemical to break it down (aha what I learned from Fedora 9... silver reacts violently to sulphur)... or create a wormhole device that will send back in time to the time when 'Bacterus Infernus' (some bacteria that is going to be wiped out when the US starts deep-vent mining..) especially when they know that by doing so they probably help set up the events of it wiping out the future Earth.
  2. If you are going to stage an assassignation of your lower end goons at the end of the movie so they won't talk, make sure it will pass general examination that anyone watching 2 CSI episodes would know about now. Don't use a silenced gun and then plant it on the one person especially when the shot angles and burn residue is not going to work.
  3. If you are going to wipe out all the witnesses (e.g. the scientists who were stopping the plague in your super secret CDC location)... don't do it by setting the lab to self-destruct with its internal nuke especially when you learned earlier that the life-form mutates massively with radiation.
  4. Originally, the plague starts in Utah, and becomes a pathogen that interacts via people, air, and water.. in order to keep the tension up, we have it riding a storm.. which must be somehow affected by the wormhole as it is going East to West.. heading towards Las Vegas and eventually California where the President has sent his family for safe-keeping. Fronts head west to east due to lots of factors.. and anyone who watches the evening news is going to see that.
  5. If you are going to put a nuke on a plane make sure it looks like a nuke that every other movie has used. Don't put a single sidewinder on a jet and make it out as a kiloton strength nuke.
  6. If your nuke goes off... make sure you have 2 windstorms pushing and pulling the air to and from the blast. And yes, if you have a storm from going East to West... people to the southwest should be affected by the fallout versus just being all fine.
  7. ASCII is 7 bit and not 8 bit. If your time-travelling geeks from the future are going to send a message back in time... please send it in something a bit clearer than alternating molecules of rhobedium and potassium (or something). A carved record works just as well.
  8. If you are going to store your virus that you stole from your own lab.. don't store it on the International Space station... right next to where the Sozuz capsule connects.. I don't think the Russians or the Japanese are going to not miss your secret lab there.
  9. If the CDC does have these sort of labs all around the country in case of mysterious plague.. make sure you have a physicist, a mathematician, a chemist, and a computer scientist on your team.. having 4 'medical' doctor/scientists try to piece all that together could have destroyed the world.
The story seemed to be a mashup of every left-wing conspiracy theory I have ever heard about the government, the military, the press, etc. It was to the point where the only acceptable theory was that it was written by a room of right-wing writers who were trying to lampoon every "Social Liberal" conspiracy theory they could google up. For a movie really trying to be "The Stand" it was almost too painful to watch (well I did stick it out to the final "gotcha" where we see that the time loop is firmly going to happen.. and the future is forced to be destroyed).