The great surprise of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” is the complete lack of control which veteran director Robert Wise seems to hold over the entire enterprise. Wise’s prior contributions to the SF genre, the groundbreaking 1951 “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and the tense 1971 adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel “The Andromeda Strain” attained a measure of success above mere craftsmanship in no small part due to the richness of the genre material which allowed the director a wider expanse of negotiating the more seemingly inflexible genre elements: in “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, there is a distinct theologic subtext in the allegorical parallel between the essentially pacifist space visitor Klaatu and Jesus Christ, whereas in “The Andromeda Strain” the possibility of the usual doomsday mass hysteria involving a human extincting entity is sensibly presented as a retrained but nonetheless absorbing mystery procedural, with the microbial menace substituting for the usual suspects in one of Wise’s early, grittily impressive noirish efforts.
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Not a fan of this (or any of the sequels) film at all, so completely in agreement with this review Chandler.
As for ‘The Andromeda Strain’, that’s a real genre classic.
Best wishes, Pete.