Let's just say that after reading this interview with Robert Schenkkan, I've come to an inexorable conclusion: he's a tool. He's apparently a self-important screenwriter whose original thoughts and concepts are better left alone. He should've stayed with the original Andromeda Strain storyline, for example. I mean, after all, what do Michael Crichton and Robert Wise know?
iF: Did you speak with Michael Crichton at all during this process?I'd be willing to bet that Crichton now has serious regrets regarding that decision. Admittedly, I'm a huge fan of the novel and the 1971 movie, directed by Robert Wise. It's a great story, with a great plot, and the screen version was every bit as good as the novel. Granted, the technology in the movie is dated by today's standards, but it's still very cool, and a large part of the movie's charm.
SCHENKKAN: If I had been offered that opportunity I would have done so but it never came up. I should point out that this is the very first time that Crichton has allowed any of his novels to be adapted directly for television.
Schenkkan saw it once, as a teenager.
It's not so much that Schenkkan's story was "expanded" as it is that it went off on some insane tangent never hinted at in the original story. Wormholes, messages from the future, extinct viruses wiped out by deep-sea mining - ugh. What tree-hugging tripe.
As you read the interview, take note of the interviewers observations, and Schenkkan's responses. Several of the replies start out, "Actually that's not entirely accurate," or "Again, I disagree," or "I disagree." What the interviewer was pointing out was how poorly this adaptation captured the whole point of the original novel, and all Schenkkan can do is point out that apparently we're just not smart enough to get it. Let's combine that with unrelated storylines, bone-dry dialog, a complete lack of continuity, and what have you got? Something just awful. I fell asleep when I tried to watch it, and I tried to watch it a couple of times (A&E ran it over and over).
If you haven't seen it, don't bother. You didn't miss much.
But beware - Shenkkan has more projects, including a feature film depicting the march of the 10,000. All you history buffs will cringe at the very thought.