For the Trees
“Some movies approach topics with heavy hands; Silent Running, then, uses a rock crusher. Consider the premise in which Earth is laid barren, one assumes by climate change, deforestation, and/or pollution. Nations send forests, encased in domes, out into space with small crews maintaining them. Eventually, people lose interest. The ships don’t create profit. In planning for such a scenario, the ships hold handheld nukes, meant to blow up these final trees. Silent Running considers a future so crass and cruel, someone would send a nature-saving mission into space, but with a backup to detonate the whole thing just in case. Punch a hole in the glass? Eject the pods? Stop watering things? No. Nuke it all.”
Intense colors make uniforms pop, vivid reds especially intense. Greenery sticks out too, all of those lush tree lines brilliant. All around the ship, set design splashes against the pale walls, from table tops to posters.
Utilizing a heavy grain film stock, thickness fluctuates. Luckily, Arrow’s encode handles these variances well. Silent Running remains filmic throughout. Compression holds back, remaining invisible. This lets the 4K scan’s benefits show through beginning with overall sharpness. Definition keeps a splendid consistency. Cinematography can waver but not the scan itself. Texture shines, revealing details on uniforms and facial detail galore.
Dolby Vision adds sensational kick as sunlight glistens off the ship’s metal exterior. Against space’s pure black, the range is dazzling. That’s the key improvement over the Blu-ray, and it makes an immediate impression. Every light source makes a hefty impression, whether from robots or the heat lamps over the forest.
In DTS-HD mono, the score elegantly plays. Crisp highs are achieved, exhibiting no loss from age. There’s even some light bass filtering in, organic with its touch, enough to bring a little range.
Joan Baez’s track carries its own challenges, including high octaves. Luckily, there’s no loss there either, analog in its clarity, sure, but pure.
The always great Kim Newman joins Barry Forshaw on a new commentary, that alongside an older track featuring director Doug Trumbull and Bruce Dern. Additionally, there’s an isolated score and effects track.
Movie music historian Jeff Bond speaks on Silent Running’s contributions for 14-minutes. A look at the various script iterations is the same length, provided by Jon Spira. Four archival/DVD sections carry over older bonuses. A behind-the-scenes gallery and trailer remain.
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Never subtle, not even for a spot of humor, Silent Running pushes an overbearing theme to its conclusion.
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 41 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: