Review: Silent Running 4K UHD
4K UHD Blu-ray: Silent Running (1972)
A favourite from watching on TV as a kid, Silent Running follows botanist Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) as he lovingly tends to the only botanical specimens left from Earth, all based under the huge geodesic domes on the spaceship ‘Valley Forge’.
When orders are received to destroy the project and return home, his fellow crew mates are elated at the thought of the current 8 year mission coming to an end. Freeman however is not so happy and hijacks the spaceship in an attempt to save his beloved nature project.
With the help of Huey and Dewey (2 of the ships worker drones), Freeman’s plans begin to spiral out of control, leading to an unavoidable conclusion.
I’ve always found watching Silent Running an almost zen-like experience, due mostly to the performance by Bruce Dern who exudes a relaxed aura akin to Bob Ross in space (now that would have been a TV show!). Add to that the charm of the ships drones and the calm inside the geodesic domes, and it all makes for a relaxing 90 minutes viewing, despite the odd moments of action, which mostly involve Freeman’s fellow crew members who have little regard for the precious cargo that they are responsible for.
The directorial debut of Douglas Trumbull, it is a damn shame that his future output as a director was mostly limited to short films. I’d have loved to have seen many more features from him.
A sedate sci-fi film which contains messages about nature conservation and the role of technology in human lives that is even more relevant today than it was back in 1972, Silent Running is a film that I never tire of watching, and if you haven’t seen it yet, then give it a go and you might just think the same, especially on this new 4K UHD release from Arrow Films which belies its low budget origins and looks fantastic, keeping a cinematic film grain but giving contrast and colours which I’d never seen in any previous release and which gives an even greater sense of “being there”.
2 informative and entertaining commentary tracks are just the beginning of a set of special features that add even more layers of enjoyment to an already enjoyable film.
- Brand new 4K restoration by Arrow Films from the original camera negative
- 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
- Original lossless mono audio
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary by critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw
- Original audio commentary by Douglas Trumbull and actor Bruce Dern
- Isolated music and effects track
- No Turning Back – an interview with film music historian Jeff Bond on the film’s score
- First Run – a visual essay by writer and filmmaker Jon Spira exploring the evolution of Silent Running’s screenplay
- The Making of Silent Running – an archival 1972 on-set documentary
- Silent Running by Douglas Trumbull and Douglas Trumbull: Then and Now – two archival interviews with the film’s director
- A Conversation with Bruce Dern – an archival interview with the film’s lead actor
- Theatrical trailer
- Extensive behind-the-scenes gallery
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Arik Roper
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Barry Forshaw and Peter Tonguette
Review by Dave from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films via Fetch Publicity.