The Andromeda Strain (1971)
Yes, I'm beginning my war on particularly bad movies with a "classic" of a novel written by the esteemed Michael Crichton in 1969 turned into a horrid attempt at 'suspense' and 'science fiction' in 1971 with no big stars (to me) and even though it supposedly followed the book accurately, it was a massive dud.
I guess to us 21st century war weary and zombie movie ridden people this movie can't help but be tedious and seemingly without much of a point, save that the government is stupid (we knew that) and if there is ever a biological emergency, just shake your head and get out your zombie kits 'cause kids we're going straight to an apocalypse.
|Yeah, if you're spending the rest of your life in a coma...|
One of our satellite crashes in New Mexico and the local doc, being of particularly duh origin, opens the damn thing. Gee whiz, the whole town dies within a minute or two. Closer examination (and no special effects budget to speak of) shows that their blood has turned to sand - their way of showing that all liquid in the body had clotted and - YAWN - ooh, sorry about that - dried. There are two survivors, otherwise the all-wise government would just nuke the place and the movie would be done.
Actually, even with two survivors, that's probably what would happen anyway. The two survivors are an old drunk and an infant. Hmm, sounds like the beginning of a joke - hey wait, that's just what it is - 'cause this whole movie is a joke. We're supposed to believe that because something got stuck to a satellite that kills that the government would spend millions just to... uh... never mind. So you know how this movie's gonna go - an endless search to find out why these two lived to find the clue to, uh, destroying the thing that should never have gotten on Earth to begin with.
I honestly thought the pace would pick up from here, I mean this can't all be about labs and anti-contamination suits and scientist staring fervently at cheaper-than-Star-Trek panels that show the audience absolutely nothing could it? This is a classic, right? Classic, yes. Good, nope. We have endless talk of one guy with the One Ring That Rules.... okay, okay the one key that will stop a massive explosion that will take out the facility as well as all the boring people in it.
Because the place is set to go off into nuclear la la land if there's a no-no. And you know there will be. So the old man who drank to sleep but now he has no booze is put next to a colicky baby who cries constantly. Ah, the ole' torture-with-a-screaming-baby ploy eh? And why are they still alive?
Brief medical lesson boys and girls and believe me it's more interesting than watching this movie. There's two conditions a body can be in in two different circumstances: acidosis and alkalosis. If you are experiencing acidosis, that usually means that you're not getting enough oxygen or other medical emergency. But let's concentrate on the oxygen aspect - in this case not enough. So of course alkalosis is the opposite. Ever wonder why they give a paper bag to a person who is hyperventilating? To give them more carbon dioxide.
It's all about PH balance basically. You can have either too little or too much. And this space whatsis apparently can't live unless there's the proper PH balance. Let's think about that a moment. A green mold. From space. Where's there's no atmosphere at all. Attaches to a satellite (smaller than a desk) and crashes to an oxygenated planet. Where with the proper PH balance it grows like crazy. Why is this exactly?
Ah, skip it. So the old man, who's been heavily into the sterno had an acidotic system because the sterno robbed his body of oxygen so he lived. The colicky baby who can't stop crying (and wasn't THAT a great addition to this movie) is alkalotic and again since it had too MUCH oxygen it lived. Oh goody - a planet full of old drunks and cranky babies. Shoot. Me. Now.
So after killing a lot of lab animals (oh that was fun) the stuff decides it likes the taste of the stuff that seals it in and escapes - the big OOPS happens and the place is doomed unless THE ONE RING... sorry the guy with the key gets to one of the 'please don't kill us' stations and turns the damn thing off. And that's basically the rest of the movie - him getting the crap beat out of him as he attempts to run, jump, get through closing doors, etc. to reach JUST AT THE LAST FIVE SECONDS a station and turn the key.
Why? Oh, 'cause NOW the green mold has mutated and they just KNOW that a nuclear explosion (such as the one they're about to die in) will only make it grow and cover the Earth. Uh, yeah. That's how'll they'll explain saving their own butts. Good enough - besides, it means the movie's over.