After creating many of the innovative special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey
, Douglas Trumbull tried his hand at directing, and 1971'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 crewmember 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 crewmates, 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. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
United Kingdom released, Blu-Ray/Region B DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Booklet, Commentary, Documentary, Interactive Menu, Making Of, Remastered, Scene Access, Short Film, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Three years after helping to achieve some of the most amazing imagery in cinema history with 2001: A Space Odyssey, special effects maestro Douglas Trumbull made an auspicious directorial debut at age 29 with the environmentally themed science fiction classic Silent Running. In the distant future, plant life on our planet is extinct. Remaining specimens are cultivated in vast greenhouse-like domes orbiting in space. Bruce Dern (Marnie, Coming Home, The 'burbs, Monster) stars as Freeman Lowell, dedicated botanist aboard the "Valley Forge", awaiting the call to refoliate Earth - despite the scorn of his crewmates. When an order comes to instead destroy the domes and return home, Lowell takes matters into his own hands, beginning a long and lonely voyage into the unknown. With its remarkable special effects (especially the robot drones Huey, Dewey, and Louie); glorious score (including songs performed by Joan Baez); memorable sound effects (created by Joseph Byrd from the cult band The United States of America); a screenplay co-written by Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter) and Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues), and an impassioned central performance from Dern, Silent Running remains a uniquely contemplative and haunting adventure that continues to make hippies of young children, even today. ...Silent Running ( Running Silent ) (Blu-Ray)