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This is one of the two featurettes found on the DVD of The Andromeda Strain, obviously centered on that title. In that it is a "making-of" production, it's got behind the scenes footage, and apart from that, it consists of interviews and clips of the movie. The actors are entirely devoid in this; they're only shown and discussed. Four people are present, however, and they all get to throw in their two cents: Wise, talking science fiction and film-making; Gidding, on script-writing; Crichton, speaking about his experiences with his novel becoming a silver screen presentation; and Trumbull, going over special effects development and photography. It goes into pretty good detail, going over design, techniques, visuals and score. It's reasonably well-paced, running at half an hour. This should not be watched before having seen the feature, as it gives away certain things. There is no offensive material in this, no language, sexuality, drugs or violence. I recommend this to any fan of the people, and/or anyone who wants to know more about how this was made. 7/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This making-of is about as uneven as the feature it tries to elucidate. That is partly because an attempt is made to stitch together archival interview material from ANDROMEDA STRAIN novelist Michael Crichton with new material from him, as well as STRAIN director Robert Wise (whose 1951 classic THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL was one of Crichton's favorite films), special effects master Douglas Trumbull, and screenplay writer Nelson Gidding. Glaringly absent from this half-hour rehash are any follow-up interviews with STRAIN's cast, reflecting the feature's cold, calculating emphasis on protocols and machines at the expense of human emotion. Furthermore, Wise's callous disregard for STRAIN's abused monkeys (to paraphrase, "Well, we couldn't actually KILL them, so we gassed them with carbon monoxide; they revived, so everything was FINE") would not likely make him any hero to PETA. A co-worker of mine lost her husband to CO poisoning, and suffered a life-long severe mental deficit herself in the same incident--exactly how "fine" WERE those chimps the rest of their lives? I'm sure Wise has no clue. A final interesting claim is that the movie's special effects people INVENTED the electronic optical printer to get an effect they wanted for this movie. Be that as it may, for my money, I'll stick with Klaatu.
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