A BROKEN MOVIE
In Silent Running, all plant life has been killed off on the planet Earth, but it's last samples of plant life have been preserved for eight years in a group of biodomes attached to space freighters in outer space, orbiting Saturn. Bruce Dern plays Freeman Lowell, a botanist who has lived on one of the freighters and cared for the plants for the entire eight years. He shares the ship with three other astronauts who take care of the rest of the ship, but they only serve 1 year terms before rotating out, and they don't care about the plants the way Lowell does. One day they receive orders from Earth that their mission has been cancelled. They are ordered to destroy the domes and return home. The three astronauts are happy to be finally done with this project and go home, but Lowell is horrified at the thought of destroying the last remaining plants, and stages a mutiny to try and save them.
|Go-Karts in the Garden of Eden - While Space Hippie Bruce Dern looks on in dismay, the other astronauts tear around the biodomes in their go-karts, showing no respect for Mother Nature.|
|Space Freighters... in Space|
|Apparently she actually sang TWO songs, "Silent Running," and "Rejoice in the Sun," but they both sound IDENTICAL (and identically shitty) and I had no idea they were different songs until I did some research for this review.|
|Communing With Nature... in Space|
|"Man, Space TV is boring!"|
HOW I WOULD FIX IT
Even though I didn't really like this movie, it did make an impact on me, and I spent quite a bit of time after watching it, thinking about how it could be improved. Here's what I came up with.
The Year: Let's face it, unless you're into soft rock, granola, bell bottom jeans, and the color brown, 1972 is just kind of lame. So let's imagine that this film was made in a time when sci-fi movies were more action-packed, colorful, and awesome. My pick: 1985.
The Director: I've got nothing against Douglas Trumbull, heck we can keep him on to do the special effects. But I don't think directing movies is his strong point. This film needs someone who is comfortable with spaceships, action, and horror. My pick: John Carpenter
The Actors: Replacing Bruce Dern in the role of Freeman Lowell, I would choose... Sylvester Stallone. Stallone's character John Rambo was also a long-haired, authority questioning rebel who was comfortable living in a forest or jungle, so he would be perfect for this role. In fact, we could change his name from Freeman Lowell to Freeman Rambo, and make him a descendant of John Rambo, how awesome would that be? For the roles of the militaristic astronauts he has to square up against, I would choose Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Molly Ringwald and Don Knotts.
The Music: I would replace Joan Baez with someone who was able to address the same emotional depths and beauty that she was known for, but without sounding so annoying and preachy like she did in this film. I'm thinking Billy Idol, or maybe Twisted Sister.
The Plot: I would keep the plot more or less the same, except I would beef up the exciting parts, tone down the boring ones, and add a couple of exciting twists.
|Spaceship Control Room|
After the crew gets orders to destroy all the plants and return home, Stallone would try to convince the another astronauts to disobey the order. When this failed, he would start to hunt them down and kill them one by one. In the original film, this was done quickly, but in the improved version, this would take up half the film and be filled with violent action and nail-biting suspense. The one character Stallone would spare would be the one played by Molly Ringwald. Since he is in love with her, he doesn't kill her. Instead, he locks her in one of the biodomes, and seals it off, where she is forced to live off the land, and maybe starts to go a little crazy from the strain.
Then I would pull the first twist. In the original film I briefly got excited when it seemed like one of the astronauts might have survived, and could be coming after Freeman. Well, in the improved version, that's what would happen. And, it would be the deadliest, most intimidating astronaut of them all: Don Knotts! It turns out that Molly Ringwald nursed him back to health. No longer the comic relief, Knotts is now pissed off and out for blood. What follows is a long, protracted, bloody battle between the two equally-matched foes. It would end up with Stallone locking Don Knotts in the biodome with Molly Ringwald, then launching it into space, rigged with explosives. Stallone is totally insane now, and doesn't even care about the plants anymore, all he wants is revenge against both Knotts and Ringwald. But in another awesome twist, it turns out that while Stallone and Knotts were fighting, Molly Ringwald moved all of the bombs back onto the space freighter. So when Stallone hits the detonator, he blows himself up instead!
|The Last Biodome Drifts in Space|
|"Like, Peace, Love, and Flowers, Brothers."|
|Space Freighters... in Space|
|Nascar Drivers in Space|
|Bruce Dern is a Melancholy Space Hippie|
|Hey, they reused this footage on Battlestar Galactica! That's kind of cool!|
|Robot in the Garden|
|Wrestling in the Flower Bed|
|High Tech Space Equipment|
|Crazy Space Hippie|
|A Robot Performs Surgery on Bruce Dern's Leg|
|The Space Hippie Teaches the Robots How to Plant Trees|
|Smokey the Bear Says, "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires... in Space!"|