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Reviews by Doug Reeder

Silent Running

About 1 min reading time

Review ©️ 2020 by P. Douglas Reeder

The sets are good (interiors are the decommissioned aircraft carrier Valley Forge LPH-8), and the modelwork would be excellent with a bit more distressing (director Douglas Trumbull received a number of Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects before and after). The storyline is ecological science fiction that deserved to be done: the last nature preserves are on space freighters near Saturn.

Sadly, that’s all that’s good about this movie. The writing and acting paint Lowell as a Hollywood hippie - mad about the lack of nature in people’s lives, but a blank beyond that. The other characters are ciphers beyond their jobs (and are quickly offstage).

The editing is incoherent --- it’s not clear how much Lowell is responsible for the events that leave him alone with the last nature dome.

The later challenge of saving the dying plants is dumbed down for the audience so much that Lowell not immediately seeing the answer makes him grossly incompetent at his job and passion.

Reviewers at the time (1972) gave it as many good reviews as bad. I can only guess that Hollywood, having just discovered environmentalism, lauded the first project coming down the road.