I first saw this film as a kid on tv and it has forever etched into my mind. The story, set some time in the 21st century, is about a group of astronaut biologists onboard a fleet of spaceships that have the last remnants of earths forests after mankinds recklessness has managed to pollute the earth and destroy the trees. The astronauts care and look after these forests that have been transplanted to the ships to be cultivated and hopefully reintroduced. However when the ships are given orders to immediately abandon their missions and return to earth (they are in an orbit near saturn) then one of the botanists (Bruce Dern) takes exception and does everything he can to save the plant life, even to the extent of whats more important, human life or saving the planet?
Although the story is a bit 1960's hippyish, it is also very applicable to our current interest in global warming, climate change and rainforest preservation. The film uses excellent (for the time) special effects (the film was directed by the man who was responsible for the sfx for 2001 - a space odyssey). Although this film has nowhere near the budget of Kubrick's film, the visuals are stunning and kids everywhere will love the silent robot drones, Huey, Dewey & Louie.
Dern delivers a solid performance to a complicated role. The film has a strong moral viewpoint regarding crime & punishment, murder, morality and accountability for these. The film has a U certificate but works as both a film that kids will enjoy and adults too. As i said previously the sfx are extremely good and reminiscent of the work in Star Wars 6 years later. The score (by Joan Baez) reflects the films age but as a thought provoking moral tale this is definately worth a watch and one of the best made films to come out of that era.