Silent Running made me sad. I was sad when HAL9000 was shut down too, but the loss of Louie outside the ship, and with Lowell detonating the nuclear charges, destroying the Valley Forge, losing Huey in the process makes me sadder. At least HAL9000 was reanimated during the movie 2010. Huey and Louie were destroyed forever, leaving the poor Dewey to tend to the biodome by himself, for as long as they last.
It’s a tough movie to watch. The three robots showing as much, perhaps if not more humanity that the people that sent them out to the rings of Saturn. Even as I write this, I don’t like writing this. It irrationally saddens me. Which means it was an effective movie.
This movie really celebrates the genius of Douglas Trumbull, ironically the technical wizard of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This first attempt at direction resulting in an enduring cult hit. Not only did he envision the interior of the Valley Forge spaceship, he named it after the USS Valley Forge, a ship docked at Long Beach, Ca. he used for the filming of the movie.
The three robots, or drones as they are called are truly ahead of their time. While they are referred to as drones, Dewey wouldn’t leave Huey’s side while Lowell was making repairs to him after he was hit by the buggy. That’s more than a drone. That’s sentience.
Lowell names the robots after Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck the triplet cartoon characters created in 1937 by writer Ted Osborne and cartoonist Al Taliaferro, for Walt Disney.
The Robot Hall of Fame has a great dedication to these three impressive representations of movie robots. Well worth read.