Silent Running

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    Watching Silent Running for the first time. After picking up on a comment about it being among the Dark Star, Aliens, Blade Runner, 2001 set of early influences on the world building in Red Dwarf.

    I can see the Observation Dome set influence from this, the huey and louie drones having some skutter like quality and even the early medi bots, the man alone in space thing is here as a central theme, the garbage world even slightly implied, lots of lovely lingering ship shots and commercial space flight themes with a thoughtless company behind the ship fleet.

    Listers early space bike for getting around the ship might be inspired by the buggys in this as well.



    The opening pull out shot of a man onboard and out to see the name of the large ship and them as small compared to its size is also in this.



    I haven’t watched this in years. After watching Dark Star recently I should give it another look.



    I just bought myself a little used dvd pile of cult sci fi I haven’t seen for ages. I got Dark Star, Silent Running, This Quiet Earth, Colossus – the Forbin project, and Black Hole. Colossus is hilarious. Computer asks “how many times a week does a man require a women” – “several times a week! you have access to archives of art and history – look it up!”



    (although let me add – in that scene the men aren’t actually desperate for sex. They’re tricking Colossus – an evil AI keeping them trapped in a facility- into giving them privacy so they can plot against it),


    International Debris

    Oh Colossus is brilliant, I love the way that section of the film is so oddly sedate after all the intensity of everything that came before it.

    Silent Running is one of the most beautiful films ever made. An all-time favourite.



    I never knew about Silent Running until I heard it was one of Mark Kermode’s favourite films. He’s a bit of a national treasure really. I never understand why people give film critics such a hard time and lose their temper if they don’t agree with them. I love a good interesting review from someone like Kermode or Ebert, even if I don’t agree with it.


    Ben Saunders

    Reviews aren’t about agreement, getting mad that somebody doesn’t agree with you is silly. Kermode is great because first and foremost he is hilarious and has great rapport with Mayo, and secondarily he is very articulate and has a vast knowledge of films, so it can be interesting to hear -why- he disagrees with you, and you can try and sort of see his point.

    That said, the fact that he didn’t like Star Was UNTIL The Force Awakens when he suddenly “got it” is just utterly bizarre, I mean holy shit what?!


    Ben Saunders

    To me that’s like somebody saying they never liked Red Dwarf until they saw Pete, when they suddenly “got” it.



    He’s always famously disliked Star Wars, and I was interested after seeing SW VII myself what Kermode would think, as I thought it’s more, lighthearted, comedic friendly feel would click with him – I was pleased to see I was right and he did enjoy it.



    Indiana Jones > Star Wars



    Indiana Jones is great, but I really hope they don’t go through with making that fifth movie they have planned for 2021. Harrison Ford’s going to be nearly 80 by then, I don’t think an adventure film is going to work when the main actor is a pensioner. Plus Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull was pretty mediocre, so I’d hope they just leave it at that


    International Debris

    Although I’ll reluctantly agree that good art criticism can be an art in itself, I got to the point of not listening to / reading reviews a long time ago. Certainly some people are far more articulate and even entertaining in the way they talk about things, but ultimately it’s difficult to separate ‘established’ critics with tastemakers and the idea of certain people’s opinions somehow being ‘better’ than others’, which never sits right with me. A forum or website with a range of people’s reviews is far more interesting and helpful to me.


    Ben Saunders

    Oh, I don’t read/listen to “reviews” anymore. I listen to Kermode and RLM, and I don’t take their opinions as fact or anything, I just enjoy the discussion of the art from people I vaguely agree with (but not on everything) and who know their stuff (somewhat)


    Ben Saunders

    Getting the general consensus on stuff from like here or a general thread can be interesting, if only to see how far off everybody seems to be from how i think and how WRONG their opinions are. And it’s also interesting to see people with extremely niche opinions like somebody who thinks the best Who companion was Martha, or something, just hearing their reasoning can be pretty interesting


    International Debris

    I’m yet to fully work through my issues with getting angry at people with WRONG opinions (Series 8 is the worst Moffat series, sorry), which is possibly an autistic thing, but it only tends to happen when it’s something extreme. I came across someone on a friend’s Facebook comments the other day who said Matt Smith was appalling, and I had to close the window, haha. But when it’s some sort of ‘official’ review, it particularly bugs me – especially as they so often get details wrong.

    Because I spent most of my life somewhat disinterested in films in general (that’s a discussion for another day), my recent indulgence in watching decades of movies has tied in with my not paying attention to reviews, so I honestly have no idea what other people think of some of my favourite films, unlike with, say, albums or TV shows, which is really refreshing. I’ve been accused of being intentionally contrary before for loving a lot of somewhat maligned albums, and it’s such a pain in the arse because I’m really not the sort to pretend to like things to get a reaction from other people. So with films I feel enjoyably cut off from other people’s opinions and can just enjoy what I enjoy.



    The only review site I read regularly for years was Den of Geek, because I liked the site’s attitude in general, but I gave up last year when it became pretty much all superheroes, the comment section became as bad as anywhere else and their Doctor Who series 10 reviews seemed to be written with complete amnesia about the exact things they’d praised series 9 for, to the point that I wondered whether those earlier glowing reviews had even been sincere or they just felt they had to superlatively praise everything. Talking about the “return” of slower pacing after so many hectic years was especially telling. (They also loved Kill the Moon and were lukewarm on Mummy on the Orient Express the next week, but I let that madness slide).

    Now I just browse reddit post-episode discussions, the CAB comedy forum and ask unrelated questions here because I like you.



    Finally got around to watching this. Enjoyed it more than Dark Star, though that was good too, in its limited way. Blatant/fanciful Dwarf parallels:

    – Antagonistic everyday workplace, but it’s in space (Dark Star, Alien)
    – Lonely survivor, maybe more like the slightly space-crazy Lister originally planned / Dave Hollins
    – Lister & Kryten’s escapist pastoral fantasies
    – Versatile, slightly awkward R2-D2/Skutter guys given relatable names and drafted in when you need a poker/draughts opponent
    – Observation Dome & Justice World biodomes, kept thinking I heard the opening note of a Goodall sting
    – Slow zoom-out from a character to show the exterior of the ship that they can’t quite achieve in one go, so have to fade between shots
    – Slow pan over the top of the ship, which has a similar asymmetrical elevated platform thing on the right as the Remastered credits
    – Space [quad] bikes driving around a warehouse that I can’t quite suspend my disbelief is actually in space
    – Environmental satire not that present in RD, but maybe Garbage World took some influence as apathetic humanity gives up on paradise

    The Joan Baez folk interludes worked so well, as unexpected as Strauss space waltzes must have been originally. I can see where Duncan Jones’ Moon was coming from too.

    Douglas Trumbull was behind some of the most visually captivating films ever, so it shouldn’t have taken me so long to get around to his own films. Brainstorm next, then his poorly-received The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot.



    I wrote that before seeing that Jonsmad had already pointed out the same things.

    Here’s the “asymmetrical elevated platform thing,” in case that description was somehow vague. The CGI ship had a few of those.



    Indiana Jones > Star Wars

    (mr) Rat: YEA



    Might be partly because I’m not very familiar with whatever old films Indy’s pastiching, so I enjoy it more at face value as pure retro entertainment. Star Wars feels more calculated, since I can see the influences more and studied the Joseph Campbell myth template stuff at uni. Freudian psycho-overanalysis gives it a fun extra layer though.

    I don’t imagine there’s actually a rivalry between those two very different franchises, that was just 2018 me trying to derail another Star Wars chat with maximum flippancy since I think the massive Last Jedi discussion had been fairly recent. Hypocritical from the Star Trek thread guy, yes.



    Star Wars and Indiana Jones are basically two strands of the same idea though, no? They’re both camp as tits at heart, and if ever they’re not, they fall on their arse.

    Star Wars has been massively derailed by po-faced overanalysis and point-missing attempts to make it progressively darker (I’m not even a particularly big fan of Empire for this reason, give me the vaudeville puppet jollity of Return Of The Jedi any day), but it’s the same thing as Indy – tongue-in-cheek pastiche/recreation of old genre movies combined with modern effects techniques, lots of humour and rollercoaster-ride sensory thrills, to synthesise a new kind of popcorn movie for a family audience using a Rutles-style screenwriting technique. But those scripts really are not meant to be taken apart and looked at as any other than a means to an end – both Star Wars and Indiana Jones are designed to be purely aesthetic pleasures, never cerebral ones (regardless of whatever Lucas says now, the self-aggrandising bollock that he is). The dafter they get – whether jamming with Max Rebo or hiding in a fridge – the truer they are to their intention; and the more serious and nihilistic, the further they drift from what they’re supposed to be (yes I mean you, fucking Rogue fucking One, you nasty bag of joyless wank). I wouldn’t like either franchise if that wasn’t their home base.


    Paul Muller

    I’m not getting drawn into a Star Wars discussion, but as regards Silent Running, it’s one of my favourite films. It’s clearly a big influence on early Red Dwarf, both in its themes and subject and in terms of FX and production design. Along with Outland, I feel like it would slot very comfortably into the RD ‘universe’.



    Along with Outland, I feel like it would slot very comfortably into the RD ‘universe’.

    Sean Connery doing High Noon in Space? Sounds like a recommendation.

    2001 and the Back to the Futures are very comfortable at the top of my sci-fi list, but I’ll keep throwing things at them. Interstellar’s my favourite modern one that comes to mind, but I’ve not really been keeping up.


    Paul Muller

    Outland is what I imagine Red Dwarf might have looked like if it had been produced as a modestly budgeted film rather than a low budget sitcom.

    It’s also worth watching for the brief but hilarious performance of Sean Connery’s onscreen son, in what is presumably supposed to be a poignant moment.



    Outland was pretty good. A Jupiter mining operation on Io contracted to “the company,” I see how you could interpret it as part of the unseen Red Dwarf universe and how it could have added to Rob and Doug’s “why hasn’t anyone done a sitcom like Dark Star?” amalgam. Could have informed the run-down, lawless colonies in the first novel too.

    And then there’s this:



    Both men have just been reading a book in the nude and closed the book too fast



    You could fill a coffee table book with Dark Star screengrabs that look like Red Dwarf.



    Westworld (1973):

    BARTENDER: What’ll it be?

    JOHN: Whisky.

    BARTENDER: What about you?

    PETER: Vodka martini on the rocks with a twist of lemon. Very dry, please.

    (+ Meltdown a bit)

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