Starring: Bruce Dern
Directed by: Douglas Trumbull
Written By: Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, Steven Bochco
Rating: G (US) Running Time: 1 hr 30 min
I had a dim recollection of watching this as a child and remember liking it. Well I knew I liked the drone robots, and now after re-watching Silent Running, that at least is still true. There are so many mixed messages here. It’s an ecological preservation story, but we learn life on Earth is pretty good if only a little’ sterile’. Which then begs the question why the plants were blasted into space in the first place. Later the guardians of these plants are ordered to destroy them, but there’s no logical reason given for this action.
Lowell (Bruce Dern) has supposedly been with the project for eight years taking care of the garden in his Moses robe. But when the plants start to die he takes an eternity figuring out they need light! Seriously? This movie has an interesting premise, but it doesn’t set up a credible foundation to fully explore that properly. Decisions made by Lowell have no clear driving motive, so his actions become increasingly more ridiculous as the story plays through. Bruce Dern though deserves some credit for delivering a decent performance despite the muddled material. It’s also worth noting this film partly inspired the Pixar movie Wall-E so we can be at least a little thankful for that.
I believe this film is for hard-core science fiction fans only. If you can find and focus on the central premise of this film, and give its many failings a pass, you might get some enjoyment out of this.
Best viewing format:
The effects have dated really badly and resemble early 80’s BBC Dr Who efforts! So a viewing over your favorite streaming service will do.
Best element for me:
The drone robots Huey and Dewey are still cute!