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Customer Review

on March 18, 2003
"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.
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