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Old 12-07-2012, 08:13 AM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
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The Andromeda Strain - What happens to the 'eaten' jet pilot?

Michael Criton's The Andromeda Strain has always been a favorite of mine. I watched it again recently and something I still don't quite get: In about the middle of the film a fighter jet strays over the contaminated area and all the rubber in his jet begins to disintegrate and he crashes. On playing back his last communication it sounds as though he simply succumbed to the Andromeda infection like the others (he says, "I fell funny" and dies). But in the cockpit wreckage they find a human arm bone, picked clean of flesh. The General looks at the Major and says, "I don't get it?". Well I'm not sure I do either.

The tech at the crash site (Speed from The Odd Couple) explains that there isn't any actually rubber on the fighter, it's all a synthetic material called Polycron. This is to foreshadow when at the end, Dr. Stone mentions that Wildfire uses Polycron gaskets (which at the climax all fail). But the crash site tech also mentions that Polycron is more advanced than rubber, that it's engineered to have some similar physical properties of human skin.

So is this meant to imply that the mutated form of Andromeda that dissolved the Polycron in the fighter also dissolved the whole pilot's body? I never got thru the book, is this explained better there?
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:15 AM
beowulff beowulff is offline
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Presumably yes, he got dissolved - and became part of the "super colony."
Although I liked the movie (it's tense, and not too stupid), the solution to the Andromeda strain problem was very, very weak. Remember, all they did was seed clouds, so the colony was rained into the ocean. I find that a really lame solution - all it would take was one microscopic particle to start the whole thing over again. The Andromeda Strain can live on any energy, so it could undoubtedly survive in sunlight forever. Granted, it didn't do will in our atmosphere, but that didn't kill it.

The problem with the Andromeda Strain (at least, as presented in the movie), is that there really was no solution...
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:15 PM
Morgyn Morgyn is offline
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Presumably yes, he got dissolved - and became part of the "super colony."
Although I liked the movie (it's tense, and not too stupid), the solution to the Andromeda strain problem was very, very weak. Remember, all they did was seed clouds, so the colony was rained into the ocean. I find that a really lame solution - all it would take was one microscopic particle to start the whole thing over again. The Andromeda Strain can live on any energy, so it could undoubtedly survive in sunlight forever. Granted, it didn't do will in our atmosphere, but that didn't kill it.

The problem with the Andromeda Strain (at least, as presented in the movie), is that there really was no solution...
Well, of course there wasn't. There was a precipitate.

(NB: read the book, years ago. Never saw the movie.)
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:22 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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The book had a lame solution, too. But it got lost in the excitement of the nuclear countdown.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:09 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Well, of course there wasn't. There was a precipitate.
Where's the wet trout smackie smilie? :trout:
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:20 PM
lieu lieu is offline
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They got to the crash site pretty quickly, didn't they? Why, if both the pilot and the residents of Piedmont were exposed to the same thing, was it only the pilot's body that disintegrated? Because it had mutated?
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:19 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Originally Posted by lieu View Post
They got to the crash site pretty quickly, didn't they? Why, if both the pilot and the residents of Piedmont were exposed to the same thing, was it only the pilot's body that disintegrated? Because it had mutated?
I think that was the point, that it was mutating. Where before it just caused the blood to coagulate, now it was starting to eat living tissue, or things chemically somewhat similar, like "polycron."

Now. . . the remake from some years ago. . . that's another story. Mutating, yep. And. . . apparently intelligent!
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:04 PM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
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Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
I think that was the point, that it was mutating. Where before it just caused the blood to coagulate, now it was starting to eat living tissue, or things chemically somewhat similar, like "polycron."

Now. . . the remake from some years ago. . . that's another story. Mutating, yep. And. . . apparently intelligent!
Gawd, that SciFi Channel remake! I watched it as long as I could, but it finally got too awful. Ridiculous, cliched characters, over-the-top 'evil-big-brother' govt, lousy CGI, message from the future with heavy-handed environmental bullshit, and ultra politically correct casting (black woman, Asian guy, Hispanic guy, female fighter pilot (yeah right!)). And the fact that it took itself so serious actually made it worse that their usual 'Octo-Shark vs Mega-Gator' kiddie crap!

Another major plot point inaccuracy of the original (though it made for a great climax) was the whole idea that Andromeda could survive (let alone mass produce in) a nuclear explosion. It doesn't matter what part of the universe it might have come from, the atomic bonds of matter itself (let alone living matter) break down in a nuclear fireball. It would do exactly what they wanted it to, completely sterilize the outbreak.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:14 PM
Disposable Hero Disposable Hero is offline
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Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
Another major plot point inaccuracy of the original (though it made for a great climax) was the whole idea that Andromeda could survive (let alone mass produce in) a nuclear explosion. It doesn't matter what part of the universe it might have come from, the atomic bonds of matter itself (let alone living matter) break down in a nuclear fireball. It would do exactly what they wanted it to, completely sterilize the outbreak.
While I wouldn't expect a virus to survive a nuclear fireball I was surprised to learn that in at least one nuclear test carbon balls were placed on the test tower, they were later found charred but intact, which amazed me as I thought nothing could survive in the heart of a nuclear detonation.

Hollywood movies notwithstanding...

Last edited by Disposable Hero; 12-11-2012 at 04:14 PM..
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:32 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
Gawd, that SciFi Channel remake! I watched it as long as I could, but it finally got too awful. Ridiculous, cliched characters, over-the-top 'evil-big-brother' govt, lousy CGI, message from the future with heavy-handed environmental bullshit, and ultra politically correct casting (black woman, Asian guy, Hispanic guy, female fighter pilot (yeah right!)). And the fact that it took itself so serious actually made it worse that their usual 'Octo-Shark vs Mega-Gator' kiddie crap!. . . .
And don't forget the Odd Man. He was gay!

And it was actually A&E, not that that really changes anything.
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