The Andromeda Strain (1971) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)
DIRECTED BY: Robert Wise
STARRING: Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson
RATED: UR/REGION A/2:35/1080P/NUMBER OF DISCS 1
AVAILABLE FROM Arrow Video
A government satellite crashes outside a small town in New Mexico — and within minutes, every inhabitant of the town is dead, except for a crying baby and an elderly derelict. The satellite and the two survivors are sent to Wildfire, a top-secret underground laboratory equipped with a nuclear self-destruct mechanism to prevent the spread of infection in case of an outbreak. Realizing that the satellite brought back a lethal organism from another world, a team of government scientists race against the clock to understand the extraterrestrial virus, codenamed ‘Andromeda,’ before it can wipe out all life on the planet.
Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, The Andromeda Strain was a movie that came out just two years after the release of the book. A book that at first wasn’t expected to do much but became a big hit and thus fast-tracked the movie. Arrow brings it to Blu-ray (not its first Blu-ray but its best) with a very eye-opening transfer and a lot of nice extras to go along with it. At the very core of the matter, it is a haunting about a US research satellite carrying a deadly extraterrestrial microscopic organism that crashes into a small town in Arizona. A group of top scientists is then called into the picture to try to fix things and we’re off and running. While not the most action-packed flick you’ll ever see on Blu-ray, this is a movie that makes a good case for using its dialogue and characters development to actually make the movie remain interesting.
This is a very science-heavy movie and that is something I feel needs to be brought up here. If you are heading into this science fiction movie and expecting lots of ships, lasers, and all that sort of thing you won’t like what you see. This is a movie that puts the science in the science fiction. There’s a lot to be said about this one and how a lot of the elements of it stand up very well even today. I’m not sure it will be a movie for any immature or impatient movie watchers, but if you can stand to let a movie settle in and flourish this is a good one for just that, as the plot is strong and the actors make it all work. Arrow did a great job with it as usual and the look of it will be going a long way with the people who are more into the tech side of things.
– New restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original camera negative
– High Definition (1080p) Blu-Ray presentation
– Original uncompressed mono audio, newly remastered for this release
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
– Audio commentary by critic Bryan Reesman
– A New Strain of Science Fiction, a newly-filmed appreciation by critic Kim Newman
– The Andromeda Strain: Making The Film, an archive featurette from 2001 directed by Laurent Bouzereau and featuring interviews with director Robert Wise and screenwriter Nelson Gidding
– A Portrait of Michael Crichton, an archive featurette from 2001 directed by Laurent Bouzereau and featuring an interview with author Michael Crichton
– Cinescript Gallery, highlights from the annotated and illustrated shooting script by Nelson Gidding
– Theatrical trailer, TV spots and radio spots
– Image gallery
– BD-ROM: PDF of the 192-page ”cinescript” with diagrams and production designs
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Corey Brickley
– FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Peter Tonguette and archive publicity materials
Quality of Transfer: 93%