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informant
2002-Oct-11, 07:48 PM
I saw ‘Silent Running’ many years ago, and I was immediately impressed by it. To this day I consider it one of the best science fiction pictures that I’ve ever seen. But even then there were some things about it that didn’t quite “click” to me. I would like to submit them to your consideration.
Please note that although I like this film I have only viewed it once, and so my recollection of it may have flaws.

1. The space stations look enormous from the outside, but the greenhouses looked somewhat smaller from the inside.

2. When the Earth people decide to get rid of the fauna and the flora in the space stations, they order the crews to blow up the greenhouses. That seems like a terrible waste of resources. Why not just kill the plants and the animals, and put the greenhouses to some other use?

3. Apparently, these space stations were equipped for interplanetary travel, since the main character (I don’t remember his name, so I’ll use the name of the actor, Bruce Dern) eventually takes the “Valley Forge” to Saturn. Why would a space station built to preserve a biosphere have the ability to go so far? Wouldn’t it be sufficient for it to remain in Earth orbit?

4. As the “Valley Forge” travels to Saturn, the plants start to die due to lack of sunlight, since Bruce Dern had covered the glass in the greenhouses. Later, he realizes what had happened, and he exposes the plants to the light again. The plants recover.
First question: I don’t really know what I’m talking about here, but would a greenhouse work in space just like it does on Earth? Would it be sufficient to simply expose the plants to the raw sunlight in the vacuum, filtered through a glass window?

5. Of course, it’s almost unimaginable that someone whose life had been dedicated to taking care of plants would forget that they needed sunlight. Oh, well, I guess he could always plead insanity…

6. I hear the amount of sunlight that reaches the orbit of Saturn is drastically smaller than the one that reaches Earth. Would the plants have enough sunlight to survive there?

7. If I’m remembering correctly, the ending implied that the “Valley Forge” was leaving the solar system towards another star. This can be my memory playing tricks on me, but if that were the case the vegetation would surely die during the long journey through interstellar space, due to the lack of sunlight!


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: informant on 2002-10-11 15:51 ]</font>

Valiant Dancer
2002-Oct-11, 08:20 PM
On 2002-10-11 15:48, informant wrote:
I saw ‘Silent Running’ many years ago, and I was immediately impressed by it. To this day I consider it one of the best science fiction pictures that I’ve ever seen. But even then there were some things about it that didn’t quite “click” to me. I would like to submit them to your consideration.
Please note that although I like this film I have only viewed it once, and so my recollection of it may have flaws.

1. The space stations look enormous from the outside, but the greenhouses looked somewhat smaller from the inside.

2. When the Earth people decide to get rid of the fauna and the flora in the space stations, they order the crews to blow up the greenhouses. That seems like a terrible waste of resources. Why not just kill the plants and the animals, and put the greenhouses to some other use?

3. Apparently, these space stations were equipped for interplanetary travel, since the main character (I don’t remember his name, so I’ll use the name of the actor, Bruce Dern) eventually takes the “Valley Forge” to Saturn. Why would a space station built to preserve a biosphere have the ability to go so far? Wouldn’t it be sufficient for it to remain in Earth orbit?

4. As the “Valley Forge” travels to Saturn, the plants start to die due to lack of sunlight, since Bruce Dern had covered the glass in the greenhouses. Later, he realizes what had happened, and he exposes the plants to the light again. The plants recover.
First question: I don’t really know what I’m talking about here, but would a greenhouse work in space just like it does on Earth? Would it be sufficient to simply expose the plants to the raw sunlight in the vacuum, filtered through a glass window?

5. Of course, it’s almost unimaginable that someone whose life had been dedicated to taking care of plants would forget that they needed sunlight. Oh, well, I guess he could always plead insanity…

6. I hear the amount of sunlight that reaches the orbit of Saturn is drastically smaller than the one that reaches Earth. Would the plants have enough sunlight to survive there?

7. If I’m remembering correctly, the ending implied that the “Valley Forge” was leaving the solar system towards another star. This can be my memory playing tricks on me, but if that were the case the vegetation would surely die during the long journey through interstellar space, due to the lack of sunlight!


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: informant on 2002-10-11 15:51 ]</font>


It was my recolection that the "Valley Forge" was destroyed. The detachable greenhouse pod was launched with a robot caretaker into an orbit away from the explosion which destroys the "Valley Forge" and the rescue ship. I was under the impression that it was to cover the escape of the pod.

informant
2002-Oct-11, 08:27 PM
You are right, my mistake. But I did get the impression that the greenhouse pod was heading for outer space.

Donnie B.
2002-Oct-12, 07:29 PM
On 2002-10-11 15:48, informant wrote:
2. When the Earth people decide to get rid of the fauna and the flora in the space stations, they order the crews to blow up the greenhouses. That seems like a terrible waste of resources. Why not just kill the plants and the animals, and put the greenhouses to some other use?

Well, there are far larger plot holes to worry about than this one. For example, how could humans expect to survive on an Earth with no wild biosphere? Even if this were possible, wouldn't it be far cheaper to maintain a few preserves on Earth than in space? But these were simply plot devices to make the movie's environmentalism point.



3. Apparently, these space stations were equipped for interplanetary travel, since the main character (I don’t remember his name, so I’ll use the name of the actor, Bruce Dern) eventually takes the “Valley Forge” to Saturn. Why would a space station built to preserve a biosphere have the ability to go so far? Wouldn’t it be sufficient for it to remain in Earth orbit?

The character's name was Freeman Lowell. (Visit imdb.com for a wealth of movie information.) My recollection is that the spaceships were some sort of standard cargo model that had been specially equipped for their "nature preserve" mission.



4. As the “Valley Forge” travels to Saturn, the plants start to die due to lack of sunlight, since Bruce Dern had covered the glass in the greenhouses. Later, he realizes what had happened, and he exposes the plants to the light again. The plants recover.
First question: I don’t really know what I’m talking about here, but would a greenhouse work in space just like it does on Earth? Would it be sufficient to simply expose the plants to the raw sunlight in the vacuum, filtered through a glass window?

My recollection differs from yours here. Lowell didn't cover the domes, but he did take the spacecraft farther from the sun in an attempt to "save the forest". In fact, they started at Saturn and went outward from there. It was the subsequent falloff of solar energy that caused the problems with the plants, and Lowell corrected it by adding artificial light. Oh, and of course, the domes were pressurized (not in vacuum).



5. Of course, it’s almost unimaginable that someone whose life had been dedicated to taking care of plants would forget that they needed sunlight. Oh, well, I guess he could always plead insanity…

Seemed pretty dumb to me, too, but then, he was supposed to be a spacer interested in plants, not a botanist working on a spaceship.



6. I hear the amount of sunlight that reaches the orbit of Saturn is drastically smaller than the one that reaches Earth. Would the plants have enough sunlight to survive there?

Very doubtful -- another pretty glaring plot hole, since the domes were parked at Saturn until Lowell hijacked them.



7. If I’m remembering correctly, the ending implied that the “Valley Forge” was leaving the solar system towards another star. This can be my memory playing tricks on me, but if that were the case the vegetation would surely die during the long journey through interstellar space, due to the lack of sunlight!

Except he'd installed artificial lighting. No doubt we are supposed to assume the dome included a very fine power plant to provide heat and light indefinitely.

Krel
2002-Oct-13, 03:05 AM
They were American Airlines Space Freighters, the AA logo is on the side of the ship.

After the movie came out American Airlines wanted to buy the ship to use as an airport exhibit. But it would have cost ten thousand dollars just to move it to where it could be prepared for display, so bye, bye Valley Forge. It was a pretty big model, about eighteen feet long. The glue that they used broke down under the hot filming lights so they were always gluing pieces back onto the ship. But the worst problem was with the sealed domes on the bottom of the VF where the forrest came unglued and fell to the 'top' of the dome.

David.