Silent Running

Director: Douglas Trumbull
Year Released: 1971
Rating: 2.0

Visually astounding but dramatically dense sci-fi film involving a team of four ecologists (including Bruce Dern, the film's main 'protagonist') aboard some massive space explorer, shipping the last remaining trees and plants (contained in "biospheres") away from a dying Earth to another planet (I believe Saturn). One day, the crew receives an order to blow-up the four biospheres, which they comply with, but the Dern character disapproves of, becoming enraged and killing the other three crew members. But before he does take care of his compatriots, they eliminate three of the biospheres, leaving one for Dern and his robotic companions (Huey, Dewey and Louie) to care for (which they can't really manage). The 'acting' parts, and the scenes involving Dern and the crew playing cards are just plain awful, like some B-movie tripe, goofy in their obvious moralizing. The Dern character's intelligence is suspect as well - in one scene he-s capable of reprogramming and soldering robot parts together and navigating the massive ship around to avoid mission control, yet in another he has trouble figuring out that the plants are dying because they need sunlight (did I mention he's also like St. Francis of Assisi, befriending eagles and furry little creatures? It's true!). Joan Baez sings some of the songs in the film, which are laughably out-of-place and dated. The 'quiet' scenes are the only ones that seem genuinely interesting, showcasing the work of Douglas Trumbull.