When a satellite falls to earth near a remote New Mexico village, the recovery team finds everyone in the area dead except an infant and an old derelict. The survivors are brought to a five-story underground lab, where sci... more »entists attempt to determine the nature of the deadly microbe before it starts a world-wide epidemic. From the novel by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park).« less
Carol T. (mamatraub) from SACRAMENTO, CA Reviewed on 10/28/2012...
Very good classic movie.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Stands the Test of Time
givbatam3 | REHOVOT Israel | 10/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Andromeda Strain" is one of my favorite movies because it stands the test of time. Although made in the early 1970's, the technology shown,
including the computers still looks up-to-date, with the main difference being that today, the graphical displays of the data would be much more colorful. However, the techniques used to analyze the "Andromeda" organism would be the same ones used today. Of course, much of the suspense of the movie is created by a stuck sliver of paper, and that would not occur today, but 99% of what is shown (including the threat to mankind for terrestrial biological warfare or extra-terrestrial organisms) is still very relevant. In fact, the society in which the film takes place is more "future-oriented" than our current one because reference is made to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Houston which processed the samples returned from the Moon by the Apollo astronauts, and which has since been idled by the loss of the spirit of exploration in our current society, so the makers of the film were able to do more futuristic thinking and make a story and laboratory that looks contemporary even decades later. Finally, the actors, led by Arthur Hill (one of my favorites) are all "cool, intellectual" types, and although there are differences of opinion between them, they all submerge their egos to get their vital work done. It is sad that films of this type are not made any more. Get it and see what I mean!"
A Thrilling Sci-Fi Suspense from Michael Crichton
M. Hart | USA | 03/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Andromeda Strain" was the first of many films produced from novels written by the author Michael Crichton, whose novels-turned-film include "Westworld" (1973), "Coma" (1978), "Jurassic Park" (1993) and "Twister" (1996). Filmed in 1971, "The Andromeda Strain" may seem dated to some, but sci-fi aficionados have long enjoyed the film for its suspense and questions that it raised that may be more valid today than they were three decades ago.The story begins in a small, isolated town in the desert where a satellite that re-entered earth's atmosphere crashed. Shortly after the crash, most of the town's residents mysteriously die. The government calls in four scientists to determine what killed the townsfolk. The scientists are Dr. Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill), Dr. Charles Dutton (David Wayne, known for his portrayal of inspector Ellery Queen in 1975 TV series of the same name), Dr. Mark Hall (James Olsen) and Dr. Ruth Leavitt (Kate Reid, known also for her role in the 1977 film "Equus"). They are taken to a top-secret government facility code-named Wildfire, an underground laboratory, to search for the cause of death and why two townspeople remained unaffected. Their quest leads to a very exciting discovery, but also several grave questions.Special effects used in "The Andromeda Strain" were very good for the early 1970's. The design of the Wildfire facility, which earned "The Andromeda Strain" an Oscar nomination for Best Set Decoration, is somewhat reminiscent of interior designs used in "2001: A Space Odyssey". Director Robert Wise (who also directed "The Day The Earth Stood Still" (1951), "West Side Story" (1961) and "The Sound of Music" in 1965) did a brilliant job escalating the suspense and fear throughout the film. The film also received an Oscar nomination for Best Editing. Other notable characters include Nurse Karen Anson (Paula Kelly, who also starred in "Sweet Charity" in 1969 and "Soylent Green" in 1973) and Peter 'Gramps' Jackson (George Mitchell).Overall, I rate "The Andromeda Strain" with 4.5 stars out of 5, rounded up to 5 stars. If you choose not to purchase the film, you might want to consider renting it so that you can see it at least once."
A true suspense film.
M. A. Ramos | Florida USA | 11/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is of a microbiological Armageddon which unfolds with such perfectly metered suspense that no matter how many times you watch it, you find yourself riveted to your couch. Not wanting to miss even a minute, even though you already know.Even though this movie is over 2 decades old, and the computer equipment at the Wildfire laboratory shows its age, this is a perfect change-of-pace film for any movie monster fan. Instead of the usual radioactive mutated towering apparition that flattens cities and topples skyscrapers, the monster in "The Andromeda Strain" is so tiny, it takes powerful electron microscopes to see it. Though tiny in size, Andromeda has the potential to wreak more havoc than your typical Godzilla. The average movie monster can only cause damage wherever he can stomp, smash or exhale a blast of fiery breath. Andromeda has the potential to be carried to every corner of the world by the winds, where it could conceivably wipe out all life. Try to top THAT, Godzilla! Even worse, it seems to feed on nuclear radiation.The real star of the film is Wildfire itself. A government facility located safely away from populated areas, it bristles with everything a microbiologist needs to avert a biological disaster. . .or does it?Seeking an unprecedented realism, director Robert Wise insisted that everything on the set be real, from the computer terminals to the electron microscopes. The Wildfire set is every microbiologist's dream come true."
M. A. Ramos | 07/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Superlative science fiction from director Robert Wise and writer Michael Crichton. It doesn't hurt that Albert Whitlock, whose groundbreaking tech work on *The Birds* set new visual standards, supervised the special effects. Even less painful is the technical support the movie received from no less than Cal Tech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For those unhappy with the technology's "dated" look, the computers and robotics were cutting edge for 1970, and more importantly, were REAL. (And remember, F/X nuts: the story is NOT set in the future; it's supposed to take place in 1970.) In *The Andromeda Strain*, the hardware's sturdy reality contributes to the suspense generated by the rather scary plot. A satellite sent to collect any possible microscopic life forms does just that, returning to Earth via a tiny isolated burg in the New Mexico desert. But the "life" the satellite has retrieved turns out to be more than anyone, except maybe some nutty, high-placed Cold Warriors, bargained for. The organism wipes out the town, turning the blood of its victims into a granulated dust that trickles out when their skin is cut by space-suited investigators. What follows is a complicated operation involving 3 top scientists and 1 M.D. who try to identify and neutralize the microscopic menace. Their lab, called Wildfire, is located in southern Nevada thousands of feet under an isolated agricultural building in the middle of the desert. (It's very Area 51-ish.) The laboratory set has to be one of the most complicated ever built in Hollywood. It's as if a top military insider drew up the blueprints. And the science is probably impeccable. This is all the result of director Wise wanting to GET IT RIGHT even more than wanting to merely entertain. This goes for his characters and casting, too: Wise casts character-actors as the scientists, eschewing glamor for believability. Someone called Kate Reid, playing the middle-age, overweight, grouchy epileptic, steals the show, such as it is. The grand result of all the incessant attention to detail is that *The Andromeda Strain* will hold up forever as one of the greatest -- or should that be one of the ONLY? -- hard-science fiction movies ever made. It's a real science geek's dream: those who think "sci-fi" is another term for "light sabers" are encouraged to look elsewhere. [The DVD, by the dreaded Image Entertainment, looks OK. The print hasn't been restored, but at least it's in the correct aspect ratio. The product is copyrighted 1997 -- therefore, zero extras. Maybe with future reissues Universal will scare up some commentary or a Making-Of with surviving members of the cast & crew. A Making-Of would be fascinating, in regards to this movie.]"
Excellent movie marred by a horrible transfer or print
M. A. Ramos | 06/10/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Intelligent, taught, suspense thriller that I saw in the theatre when it was first released. All of the technical goo in the picture is somewhat dated by today's standards, but if you keep the age of the film in mind while watching, you'll be more forgiving. The fact that most of the equipment used in the production was real also adds to the viewing experience. I do have a major complaint with this DVD though. This transfer has to be the worst I've ever seen, Laserdisc or DVD (though the film never made it to Laser). Maybe it's a good transfer of the worst print I've ever seen. Either way, the viewing pleasure is diminished because of it. I understood that Robert Wise was emulating a pseudo-documentary style, but even the worst government documentary I've ever seen wasn't this grainy. If there's a reason for the grain that anyone knows of, please fill me in."