YMMV / Silent Running

  • Fridge Logic:The movie makes it seem like what Lowell was doing was noble, but if by this point humanity could survive without Earth's environment, was killing humans to save the domes justifiable?
    • The rationale presented for destroying the domes is that they present a 'hazard to navigation'. Considering where they are (Saturn) and the vastness of space — this makes no sense of any kind. And there's the fact that the domes themselves, even if custom-built for the project, must have been very costly. They could easily have been re-purposed rather than destroyed. Oh,and nuclear detonation of the domes would actually make them MORE of a hazard, not less. Instead of one intact easy-to-spot object, now thousands of small radioactive hazards to navigation now exist.
    • Each freighter was carrying six domes each. Which makes one wonder; why were the domes fitted with nuclear det-charges in the first place? The project must have been hugely expensive and represented a substantial investment of time, energy and resources. And considering they represent Earth's last intact bio-systems, why makes plans to destroy them?
  • Narm: Some of Freeman's rants bring the Ren and Stimpy episode "Space Madness" to mind.
  • Padding: Very, very little of this film actually matters to its plot.
  • Prop Recycling: The Valley Forge model was re-used on the original Battlestar Galactica (1978) series (which had Douglas Trumbull as special effects director) as an "Agro-Ship" and Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined) included two ships who took strong design aspects from the Valley Forge (the "Colonial Movers" ship and the "Cloud Nine" hotel ship (which resembles one of the domes)) as a Shout-Out.
  • Technology Marches On: Minor example: Freeman's reprogramming of the three repair drones so they can assist him with his leg's surgery required him to manually work on some circuitboards to hard-wire new instructions (a remake would have him, at most, working away on new computer code to download into them).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The implications of a world with no need for an environment, or a rebel refusing to sacrifice the last piece of such, are ignored entirely in favor of watching Our Hero meander around the dome.
    • A plot about an astronaut in space slowly going mad from the isolation and the guilt from murdering his fellow crewmembers? Interesting. A plot with an environmentalist message featuring an astronaut using his remaining days to teach maintenance robots to care for Earth's last forest, now preserved in a space dome? Interesting. Putting the two plots together in a single film? The result feels rather muddled and confused with its message (this was likely intentional, given that it's 70s sci-fi, but still...).
  • Vindicated by History: The film got little to no advertising from the studio and therefore bombed at the box office, but now it's a Cult Classic.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Everything from the robots to the view of Saturn and its rings. After all, the movie was directed by visual effects legend Douglas Trumbull, who had also done the effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    • The Saturn effects were originally meant for 2001 but weren't ready in time, so they were used in this movie.
    • In fact, the film was made with a budget of just one million dollars, and it certainly doesn't look that way.
  • What Could Have Been: In the original version of the story, Freeman was an old man who rebelled not to save the forests but because he didn't want to be sent back to Earth. Also, he attempts to make First Contact with aliens.