Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #85: "The Andromeda Strain" (1971)

Movie Stats:
Released 1971 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Robert Wise
Stars - Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson, Kate Reid

Plot Summary:
When an alien disease threatens humanity, four scientists race against time to uncover its secrets. Hill co-stars as Dr. Jeremy Stone; Wayne as Dr. Charles Dutton; Olson as Dr. Mark Hall; and Reid as Dr. Ruth Leavitt.

Very minor violence; minor gore; minor blue language; brief nudity (male butt, female breasts).

Bad Stuff:
It’s about as exciting as watching paint dry. In the plot summary I say they “race” against time. It’s more like they “saunter casually” against time.

As usual, I wasn’t particularly keen on the fanciful camera work, although, thankfully, it was mostly confined to the beginning of the film.

Most of the soundtrack and sound effects were quite displeasing to my ears.

Good Stuff:
I really liked snarky Dr. Ruth Leavitt.

While watching a group of scientists do their thing wasn’t particularly enthralling, the conclusions they came to were interesting. That is to say, what the disease is, how it survives, and how it evolves, is pretty cool.

The details were quite thorough. I felt like the author (Michael Crichton) really thought things through, so it was a more complete film than most (no plot holes).

The Verdict:
I wanted to like this but I just thought it was boring. For me, it’s yet another sci fi that’s interesting in concept but not so interesting in execution. I wouldn’t change the plot if I were to remake it. Like, it’s not a film that needs explosions or sexual tension to improve it. But I do think about half an hour could be shaved off - fewer decontamination steps, for example - without losing anything in the narrative. If it was shorter, it would definitely feel like less of a chore. Okay, maybe I would also add in more Dr. Ruth Leavitt snark.

I give the film 2.75 stars.


Patricia said...

hahahahahha "saunter casually". So many movies are like that.

Yet another movie I know the title of, but nothing about. Also, Michael Crichton had success much earlier than was aware of. Not surprising, since I wasn't born/was growing up. In my mind he burst onto the scene with Jurassic Park. But I see he'd been sauntering causally for some time before that.

Also, in checking how to spell his name, I also got to answer the question, "isn't he dead?" The answer is yes. Also, according to google he was 6'9". Why an author's height pops up in the right-hand box on google is beyond me, but now we know.

balyien said...

Wow, I had no idea he was that tall! It also frequently surprises me that he had a string of hits back in the 70s. And I was thoroughly shocked to discover that he had a (limited) career as a director. The man was multi-talented!