The Andromeda Strain appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, the image appeared positive.
Sharpness seemed solid. Only minor instances of softness materialized, so most of the film showed nice delineation and accuracy.
I saw no examples of moiré effects or jagged edges, and the presentation seemed to lack evidence of edge haloes. Source flaws also failed to create many distractions, as I noticed an occasional mark but nothing significant.
The movie went with a natural palette that looked well-rendered. Hues appeared accurate and showed nice impact.
Black levels stayed deep and dense, while shadow detail showed positive consistency. Ultimately, the image seemed like a fairly good representation of the source.
As for the PCM monaural soundtrack of Strain, it was more than adequate for its era. Speech sounded intelligible and clear, with no edginess or other concerns.
The effects represented the source elements in a competent manner. These elements offered reasonable accuracy and acceptable range, even if they never stood out as truly impactful.
Strain went with a spare score, so don’t expect much in that range. When music appeared, though, those components appeared well-rendered. All in all, this turned into a perfectly positive mix given the film’s age.
A mix of extras appear here, and we begin with an audio commentary from film historian Bryan Reesman. He provides a running, screen-specific look at the story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, photography, genre areas, music and related topics.
At one point, Reesman tells us he devoted an entire weekend toward preparation for this commentary. This comes as a surprise, as the end result feels awfully stream of consciousness.
Not that Reesman doesn’t provide occasional nuggets of value. He periodically manages to deliver useful insights.
However, Reesman also just describes the film a little too often, and he also gets into superfluous personal anecdotes. Though not without value, this becomes a disappointing discussion that lacks much substance.
With A New Strain of Science Fiction, we find a discussion from film historian Kim Newman. In this 28-minute, two-second piece, Newman discusses the “outbreak” genre of movies, with some emphasis on Strain. Newman offers a fairly informative discussion.
Next comes Making the Film, a 30-minute, eight-second program circa 2001 with director Robert Wise, screenwriter Nelson Gidding, special effects designer Douglas Trumbull, and author Michael Crichton.
They examine the source and its adaptation, story and characters, cast and performances, photography, sets and locations, effects, music and the film’s legacy. “Making” becomes a pretty effective overview.
Also from 2001, A Portrait of Michael Crichton lasts 12 minutes, 33 seconds and includes comments from Crichton. He covers aspects of his career, especially Strain. Some of this info repeats from elsewhere, but Crichton still brings a good chat.
The disc provides a Cinescript. For the most part, this simply shows the text of the screenplay, but it adds some art and other elements at times as well. It’s a cool way to examine the original script.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get three TV spots and two radio spots. An Image Gallery also presents “Production Stills” (116 elements) and “Poster and Video Art” (55). Both add some useful material.
Given the talent involved, I hoped The Andromeda Strain would deliver a vivid sci-fi tale. After a promising opening, though, the film turns sluggish and it never manages to rebound from those flaws. The Blu-ray brings pretty good picture and audio as well as a mix of supplements. Chalk up Strain as a dull disappointment.