The Andromeda Strain (1971)

Day: January 16th, Movie: 16

Movies dealing with potential outbreaks are very relevant these days, perhaps too relevant considering what the world has gone through over the last few years. However, space outbreaks are a whole different thing. The Andromeda Strain from 1971, based on a Michael Crichton novel, makes the sci-fi element of this potential outbreak feel very real world.

According to IMDB, “A team of top scientists work feverishly in a secret, state-of-the-art laboratory to discover what has killed the citizens of a small town and learn how this deadly contagion can be stopped.”

This film was very much of a science film, where the top scientists would go through their tests and experiments, talk about them and then move along. Because of that, a lot of the film was a slow burn. That is not a bad thing as the scientific scenes worked well here. The four scientists, played by Arthur Hill, James Olson, David Wayne and Kate Reid, were interesting enough to bring their personalities into the scenes and help amplify the anxiety.

The final half hour or so of The Andromeda Strain was exciting and paid off the previous acts of the film. There were some scenes filled with tension and nerve-rattling events that kept me on the edge of my seat. It was in stark contrast to the slower parts of the earlier scenes.

The film felt almost like a mystery, with the four scientists trying to discover what the Andromeda Strain was spread and how it might grow.

There is an intelligence about the film and I love how this is shown. Could it have been shortened a little bit? Yes, However, building the tension through the initial scenes is a wonderful way to tell the story.

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