Today on Far Future Horizons we are proud to present the Science Fiction Classic “Silent Running” (1972) directed by Douglas Trumbull.
The loner crew member of a spaceship harboring Earths last nature reserves goes renegade when he is instructed to jettison his beloved forests and return home. Accompanied only by three robots, he ponders the fate of his last pocket of nature and the murders of his fellow crew members in this far-looking speculative film.
After creating many of the innovative special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey, Douglas Trumbull tried his hand at directing, and 1972's Silent Running marked an impressive debut. (In addition to creating the visual effects for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and directing 1983's Brainstorm, Trumbull later turned to the creation of high-tech cinematic amusement park rides.
One of the best science fiction films of the 1970s, Silent Running stars Bruce Dern as Freeman Lowell, a nature-loving astrobotanist aboard the Valley Forge, a gigantic spaceship in a small fleet that carries the last surviving forests of the Earth, which has fallen victim to overpopulation and ecological neglect. Freeman's name reflects his nonconformist philosophy, which runs counter to the prevailing recklessness of his three ill-fated crew-mates, who are eager to jettison their precious payload and return to the bleakness of Earth. Before they can sabotage the forests, Freeman does what he must, and spends the remainder of his mission with three robotic "drones" as his only companions, struggling to maintain his sanity in the vastness of space.
Dern is superb in this memorable role, representing the lost soul of humankind as well as the back-to-nature youth movement of the 1960s and the pre-Watergate era. (Appropriately, Joan Baez sings the film's theme song.)
A rare science fiction film that combines bold adventure with passionate social conscience, Silent Running will remain relevant as long as the Earth is threatened by the ravages of human carelessness.
Douglas Trumbull's Silent Running is available from Amazon's Instant Video.
Douglas Trumbull's Silent Running
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