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Two great actors wasted on an awful remake
on 18 October 2009
After successful revivals like "Doctor Who" and "Quatermass", "A For Andromeda" was a remake too far for the BBC's mission to revive all its old sci-fi. Where other revivals were so successful, this fails on several levels.
The story is partially 'modernised' for the 21st century but partly kept true to the early 1960s original, which makes it totally unbelievable (even by sci-fi standards) and generates massive plot holes. Is this a modern drama, or a tribute to a 1960s story? Ultimately it just doesn't make a lot of sense no matter what time period it's set in.
Tom Hardy and Kelly Reilly are the stars, and they give GREAT performances. They really do. Tom Hardy's obsessive scientist whose animal energy begins to show when he's under pressure, is a brilliant turn, that makes me want to see him in other shows. Kelly Reilly's dual role as Christine and Andromeda is well-handled- Christine is warm and emotionally naive, Andromeda cold and threatening. These are two great performances surrounded by a slightly wooden supporting cast.
No matter how good their performances are, they can't escape the essential story problems. For example, if Christine is a maths genius, why does she need basic information about astronomy explained to her? Why is a telescope that's supposed to be for international espionage pointing into deep space? Why can the Americans not receive this signal even though they know where it's coming from? Why is "the MOD" and "the Government" apparently just one man? Why does a top bio-scientist think that one plastic sheet constitutes a complete bio-hazard defence? Why when Jane Asher is typing using every key on the keyboard is only binary appearing on the screen? I could go on. Anyone with any science GCSE or O-level will see several things in this film which will just make them think- "no". It breaks the cardinal rules of science fiction- no matter how incredible the premise, it still has to make some kind of logical sense on some level.
The 'making of' video actually gives some clues as to why this version is so bad. The writer doesn't seem to care for sci-fi, which turns out to be a big problem. The director doesn't seem too worried about what's going on.
A big disappointment.