An overpopulated and industrialised Earth has decided to launch what’s left of the planet’s flora and fauna into space – for reasons unexplained – but when the powers that be decide to terminate the program and nuke the ships – for reasons unexplained – one lone space hippy decides to intervene.
Silent Running is a very well meaning but ultimately very naive piece of film making. It’s directed by one of the greats of special effects and as a director, he makes a great special effects guy, leaving the story unfocused beyond the initial concept and the characterisation simplistic to the point of caricature. The visuals have a quaint nostalgia about them and the most likeable characters are essentially plastic boxes on legs but it really doesn’t go anywhere beyond the “destroying nature is bad” message, complete with musical montages that are laughably dated. It works as a kid’s film that attempts to bludgeon home an eco-message, but adults will find it all a little too “try hard” and cheesy, which is odd considering how stylistically influential it has been.
Silent Running is a mixed bag, but sci-fi nostalgia buffs will no doubt garner some enjoyment from it.