Science fiction and fantasy
directed by Douglas Trumbull
The environmental message is pretty heavy-handed, and no mistake. When it comes to his dress and ideals, Lowell conforms to the hippy stereotype. Combine that with Bruce Dern's soft voice and subdued manner and Lowell seems as wet as a trout. We're not expecting any defiance from such a gentle, moral man, so any steel he does show comes as a welcome surprise.
The movie loses its way during the second half, when the pace slackens and a lot of screen time is given over to three bumbling anthropomorphised robots. These repair drones behave as though they have intelligence. Lowell enlists their help and treats them as surrogate friends. It's unlikely, not to mention mawkish. Along with audible explosions in space, the gravity on the Valley Forge, and the idea that humans could prosper on a planet without trees, there are plenty of aspects of Silent Running that will ring false to a modern audience. But this movie is a product of its time, when environmental concerns and long hair were inseperable. Whether that's enough to excuse the dubious fact-checking is a matter of personal taste.
There's a stark visual contrast between the delicate beauty of the biodomes and the clunky artificial environment of the rest of the spacecraft. It doesn't have the slickest visuals in 1970s science fiction, but the movie has its moments. But the tone is so earnest, and the Joan Baez soundtrack so soppy, that it's like watching a sermon. Whilst being force-fed candyfloss.
If you like this, try:Sylvow by Douglas Thompson
A brother and sister promise to look after the plants and animals. But does Mother Nature care to return the favour?
The Day After Tomorrow by Roland Emmerich
Climate change sparks a series of disastrous weather events, heralding the dawn of a new ice age.
WALL-E by Andrew Stanton
A small, lonely robot cleans up a future Earth devastated by mountains of rubbish.