Silent Running, the movie

Silent Running poster

I recently watched the movie “Silent Running“. It is a sci-fi movie from 1972, predecessor of the well known Star Wars from 1977.

Silent Running poster

I did not know about the film before, and in fact I do not even remember how I ended up watching it. It was reading a reference somewhere, as it went in my ToDo list but unfortunately I don’t record any context about how tasks get created.

This is not an epic movie, there is action but not with the intensity we are used to nowadays. In fact it is a claim for preservation of our environment, with music from Joan Baez to add it to the ecologistic atmosphere.

Here the trailer:

The plot starts with a spaceship where its crew has been growing nature for several years: trees, plants, animals, etc.. nature that does not exist anymore on Earth and as a way of preservation attempt to restore it later. There are several ships with the same purpose.

But the team lead is requested to destroy everything, and then things happen but I am not going to explain more otherwise I would be spoiling the movie 😉

I thought it was not a very notorious film, but I was amazed with the amount of information available in the Web.

Things that make Silent Running special

  • the drones design: It is a real hack, given their small size. They were managed by amputees, custom made for each actor, using their arms as if they were the drone legs, giving a lot of humanity to their movements. They can be reprogrammed, e.g. there is a scene of a nice poker game.
  • the spaceship: That was a real old-fashion maker stunt of 8 metres long. Making the spaceship model took 6 months. There are shots taken near and with travelling, similar to what we see in Starwars some years later. Would have been easier with 3d printing, right?
  • the karts: they have a nice design. You just want to drive them!

Silent Running drone

Source: cyberneticzoo.com

To summarize, I believe it is another of these cult films that you must watch once if you are into sci-fi. The plot is not very well reviewed by critics, and I also found it lacking of content while the message is however pretty clear. On the bright side, the FX and the acting of Bruce Dern are really good.

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