Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #33: "Silent Running" (1972)

Movie Stats:
Released 1972 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Douglas Trumbull
Stars - Bruce Dern

Plot Summary:
In a distant future where the few remaining Earth flora are kept alive in space greenhouses run by a corporation, Freeman Lowell (Dern), the gardener who tends the last greenhouses, is given the order to destroy them. He goes rogue.

Violence; minor gore; very minor blue language.

Bad Stuff:
I can’t stress hard enough how ridiculously terrible the soundtrack is.

The product placement is out of control.

It’s very preachy. I don’t exactly disagree with the message, but I also don’t care to feel like I’m being scolded while watching a film for entertainment purposes.

Good Stuff:
I really liked the opening sequence.

Dern is quite good. I was worried about one actor having to carry the vast majority of a movie, but he was the right choice for it.

I enjoyed some of the concepts. I particularly liked how it played with the idea that, if plants are no longer necessary for survival, humans could lose sight of their value.

The Verdict:
Mostly, I found it dull. It’s a lot of Bruce Dern taking care of plants and fixing things and stuff. There’s not much excitement. And for as much as it points fingers at corporations for only caring about the bottom line, it certainly had a lot of corporate sponsors. On the other hand, I liked the concept. Dern was really good. Also, a lot of the visuals were pretty cool, even though a lot of it was fake-y looking. In the end, I think it’s a bit of a wash. I neither loved nor hated it. It was simply okay.

I give it 3 stars.


Patricia said...

I don't think of 1972 as very much of a product placement era. Interesting. What sorts of products placed.

This is one of those films I know by name, but couldn't tell you anything about. Until I read this summary.

balyien said...

I don't remember all of them off the top of my head, but I do know that American Airlines was very prominent throughout. They were the corporation that saved (and then decided to destroy) the last of the plants. I also knew of this film without knowing what it was about before watching it. Up until this point, I consistently got it confused with The Running Man, a very different flick!