The Andromeda Strain (1971)
Irradiated Zenon flashed Jacob. We're at the seventies guys. The world was really starting to think man we got all. These infectious diseases licked smallpox polio measles. All of them done all the big viral threats out of the way. Then all of a sudden on America's birthday nineteen seventy six. We get legionnaires disease. Didn't come from space but it did come from out of nowhere and became this big epidemiological mystery. Isn't that like something soldiers got like that? That's why it's called legionaires disease. No actually the legionnaires were all these vets that were like what can be more patriotic than going to the nicest hotel in Philadelphia during the July month on the by centennial and they walked away with dry cough. Pneumonia symptoms and thirty of them died. It had a kill rate of about fifteen percent and nobody could figure out why because it only hurt the legionaire members only. They got sick people at the hotel staff. They were fine and so became this big for years. They talked about like someone trying to target our veterans. It broke out again at A. Va Clinic Yeah. Why isn't this a movie? Yeah while he could be. I mean it is a good mystery. The they're like well. Why does it keep hurting? Our vets Bob Dylan wrote a song about it legionnaires disease. He's alleged in many people alleged. It was some like Crazy Nam Guy. That was trying to get back in the old vets or something like that. You know it was that time that we would instantly think. Oh if our old soldiers are dying from some mysterious illness in the CDC can't find answers. Yeah it must be terrorist. It hurt Gerald Ford's Presidential Bid Nixon. Heard it more. But he didn't get reelected because of it people at the CDC got fired. The hotel got closed but eventually they figured out it does not target just legionnaires. Legionnaires tend to smoke. They tend to be older men because they fought in wars they may not be the healthiest they were prone to respiratory problems and this virus was born because the hotel was so nice because it did have all of this lavish you know like lightbulbs. Designed by Thomas Edison. And all the presidents have stayed here. They were bragging that they had this new water cooler ventilation system to have the best water pressure and the best air conditioning July. Because it's so hot. Not knowing that they were actually cooking a water that had a bug in it to the temperature that made it multiply too much more than any of the other hotels and you were just pouring water on yourself if you were just dousing yourself in legionnaire bacteria and the reason why the people in the hotel didn't get it while they were a little bit younger but they had just been exposed to the water for a long time. They had build up a tolerance to it. You blow in all of these old guests that have smoking issues and yeah it was really became this big deal again. It wasn't an alien from space but it felt like that and it really did start a new era of bugs. We hadn't seen before we're GONNA talk about AIDS and a Bola in the weeks ahead. Well you keep the making these references to aliens. I did not know we were going to be talking about aliens and dramatist rain like to me is a pretty notable Scifi film. I had heard it referenced. A Lot I had never seen is one of those someday. I'll get around to it. I guess today's that day but helium. I was not expecting that Michael Crichton. I thought we were going with hard science here. I thought it was going to be a viral outbreak. Or a bioweapon her something. Yeah I had no idea about the movie we were going to watch andromeda strain Michael CRICHTON. I'd seen clips from this various places and I just thought it was a lab science thriller movie. I had no idea that it was going to go bat. Shit Michael Crichton always has bat shit in it. I mean dinosaurs coming back to live. That's kind of bad shit right through science and DNA not aliens reconstructing them. Well I mean believe it or not. This was actually an issue. Nasa actually did worry that now that we're going to the moon and shit. What if we bring something back? It's a funny story. I read about when they brought the moon rocks back. They were handling with these gloves. They got tear in it and the people ran like they were supposed to go and core team. They're like oh you might be infected with something on those rocks. They ran out of the base. Their impulse was not only need to isolate and protect mankind. It was you're not going to lock me up. Knows if there had been a space bug on those moon rocks. It would've spread all over this world. That's really funny because I was at a museum in Washington. Dc last year is like touch the moon rock. Yeah we can do that now. We know that but we didn't know it. Then I'm surprised you get out to touch now. I know they still keep him. A lot of them. Sealed up maybe just keep them from deteriorating because they still do look at these moon rocks but I get that you're worried about maybe a germ that lives on the moon. Not Actual like tiny aliens. I was worried about the germs from the other people. Touch the mooner. Probably more worrisome. Maybe I just have strangelove in my head but I do think about that imagery of like. Yeah we're sticking our thing out there in space area and it's never been before this void. Do we have the proper prophylactic one. I mean it is a question worth asking like. Could we bring something? Back is a valid. Still scientists still have debates about it. It's not a popular subject matter. But they do talk about that. There is real risk and it goes all the way back and science fiction if you remember. Hd Wells how did were the world's end in the other way. I mean we just happen to have viruses here that killed the Martians. It was CRICHTON's idea to say. Well what if it happened in reverse and who was CRICHTON at this time and drama to strain is his first big breakthrough? It's a book that comes out in one thousand nine hundred sixty nine when he's just finishing being a Harvard Med student and he wrote books to kind of pay his way through school. He wanted to be a writer but was told that he wasn't good enough. And so he just kind of grow potboiler. Fiction based on stuffy was learning in Med school and this was an idea that kind of came to him partly because of HD wells and partly because yeah medical thrillers like you can even see it in this movie. He brings a whole lot of scientific knowledge to genre. He's not gonNa just fake it things that are done in montage where you see. Scientists shake test tube and we go. Oh Yeah. They figured something out. He's going to walk you through this process. If you read the book now I did read it for the first time just a few days ago. I'm assuming you guys not knowing the not and had no idea okay. The Fun thing about the book is it's just littered with graphs and charts. They make it feel like you're holding dossier for something top secret like you feel like you're opening up something conspiratorially like that really happened they give you the impression. This was a real event that happened and CRICHTON is just documenting. What's known about it? Worked with all the participants and here you go so it has a fun real world docudrama thrill to it. I mean and I feel like as someone that's not really a science student. I was very convinced and moved and intrigued by what I learned about viruses and space reading the novel. Yeah I think it falls into that techno thriller genre where you're going to get a lot of the technical side and that could be if it's a subject. I'm interested in like I'm interested in this stuff so I could get into it when you get like Tom Clancy and he's just GonNa talk about submarines and planes and military tactics like super detail. I don't care and so I kind of two now. So I'm always on the edge with a techno thriller like if it's a subject either like I wanNA learn about it. I want to get into that technical side but if I don't have that interest I just I want to avoid it. I love a good techno thriller. They're so hard to do though because so often especially these days. It's people sitting around computer. Yes and how tense? Is it pounding the keys? You don't want to see real life hacking in a movie because it's super boring totally. Although mister robot did it mister robot did found a way to do it I agree yes but when it comes to this my problem is I can never believe the science because where is the line between science fiction and in fact the way. This movie starts with the beginning. A disclaimer about how it's not breaking top secret classified documents. They're about to come out anyway. It had me. Googling is some of this based in reality project scoop. I'm like Oh this is all based on real stuff. No THEY'RE GONNA. Coen brothers this thing up and fake us out and I found out that there are entire areas of study real scientists who come out against this because of blurring the lines between fact and fiction and making it difficult for lay people to understand real science now they come out against andromeda strain. You means andromeda strain is one of many scientific thrillers that they say blurs the line a little too much. I have read that like. Csi has ruined juries because they all expect the evidence to be a solid what you see on CSI and it never is. That may be fair but I do feel like this book got pretty good marks for having the breadth and the reach to be able to talk about what. Crichton does while still being entertaining. I mean does it dumbed down the science. Maybe only some I mean again. I'm not a scientist so I'm not qualified to say but I did go and I saw out essays. Things people have written other acclaimed scientists Nobel Prize winners and they more or less gave this high marks. Which is I think why this kid who really hadn't done anything to earn. It suddenly was the attention of Hollywood. And they paid them hefty salary to buy the rights to this book and they got none ever been. Robert Wise to direct this movie. You guys know Robert Wise. Oh of course. We reviewed them with Star Trek. The motion picture. Oh come on. What about sound of music? The Sound Music Guy. For this techno thriller. Yeah his careers really varied. He goes all the way back to citizen Kane. He was the editor on citizen Kane and then he made horror movies then he may day. The Earth stood still then they made musicals like west side story and sound of Music Melodramas. He's really done everything. And some people say that he has no style that he changes what he needs to do based on the material and this is very different from your obviously the sound of music or the haunting which is really good haunted house movie. I hope we get to one day but interesting that like he of all the people that could have made the andromeda strain. I would think of someone maybe younger hip. Her would want to tackle. This and I definitely feel like you would do what we complain about. Hollywood doing all the time. Make the cast look really sexy and Yang and dope. Not This cat throw away all the research and just get to some chase scenes like it's impressive to me that the book that I read is largely retained intact by Robert Wise and filmed and put on screen. You know you say he has no style. There are definite scenes in here that reminded me of Star Trek the motion picture. And we'll talk. Well I think I know what you mean by that if the slow moving wire we focused on these people sitting around and not doing anything. That certainly is a complaint about that. First Star Trek movie. It's also worth pointing out. This movie came out the same year as Omega Man which is another movie about viral outbreak. A lot more exciting and I think probably a little bit more in the popular sphere. Little more entertaining..