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I was twelve when Logan's Run came out and I thought that it was the
best thing since sliced bread. It blew me away. So when I picked it up
recently on DVD and watched it for the first time in twenty-eight years
I was wondering how it would fare after all this time.
Well, not too badly. Many of the IMDb reviewers of Logan's Run hit the nail on the head when they say that this film is definitely a product of its time. Yes, the special effects are sort of laughable now (the teeny tiny maze cars zipping through the a model of the city that looks about six inches tall), but you have to judge those sorts of things in the context of the time they were made. As strange as it may seem to people who now expect Lord of the Rings-quality special effects, Logan's Run was cutting edge in its day. And a few of the special effects still stand up fairly well. The light envelope that comes down over the Carousel or the matte shots of Washington. Not great for twenty-first century film-making, but a minor miracle for 1976.
The story has more holes than a piece of swiss cheese and the acting is a bit touch and go, but that doesn't get in the way of a fairly entertaining movie. Seeing the movie all these years later I suppose the few moments of bad acting hit me more than anything else. As a kid I thought that Peter Ustinov's old man was brilliant, but now it just seems like awkward overacting. Which isn't to say that his character isn't somewhat endearing.
Michael York, a really wonderful actor, misses the mark a few times, but generally he and Jenny Agutter do a fine job.
Listen, this isn't a brilliant movie, but it does have its moments. Most science fiction movies made in the 1970s haven't endured the test of time especially well. With the purple mascara, pastel-coloured costumes and hair feathered like a great phoenix. But all in all I still found Logan's Run to be an entertaining and enjoyable trip back to the strange world of 1976.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the year 2274, a faction of the human race, following global war and
other apparent catastrophes that have ravaged the Earth, live together in a
giant domed city, completely sealed off from the outside world. Here, in
this bubbled society, the young, healthy, beautiful people who populate it
live in total and complete pleasure, free of labor & strife, and free to do
anything & everything they want, sexually or otherwise. It's a total state
But there's one catch: no one is allowed to live past the age of 30. On your 30th birthday (known as "Lastday"), the little jeweled lifeclock attached to your hand blinks, and you must be expelled from this society of pleasure through an arena event known as "carrousel," in which, the city's young people believe, your soul is "renewed," afterwhich you will be reborn into the city's society and start all over again.
But some 30 year-olds in this city know the real truth about carrousel---that it is, in fact, a death sentence---and they try to escape. They're called "runners." The domed city has a faction of policemen who hunt down runners, and they're called "Sandmen." Logan (Michael York) is a 26 year-old Sandman. Life in the city is good for him, but suddenly, he is given a secret mission by his boss---the city's master computer---that will change him. Logan's assignment is to go undercover as a runner, escape the city and go outside, where he is to find a so-called haven for escaped runners called Sanctuary, and destroy it. But Logan soon learns the truth about carrousel himself, and, with the aid of a beautiful girl named Jessica (Jenny Agutter), whom he falls in love with, he must now figure out how to free his people from their horrible fate at the age of 30....
1976's "Logan's Run" is an all-time science fiction classic, and one of my personal favorite films ever since I first saw it on TV as a kid. I've always been fascinated by the storyline, and although the film's Oscar-winning visual effects have long since been surpassed, they're still quite colorful to look at (including the groundbreaking use of holography). There's fine performances all around, such as the perfectly-cast Michael York as Logan, the very lovely Jenny Agutter as Jessica (she & York have terrific chemistry together), as well as the delightful Peter Ustinov as Old Man (who Logan & Jessica discover living alone with his cats outside the city), Richard Jordan as Logan's best friend Francis, and there's even an enjoyable appearance from Farrah Fawcett (Majors) in her sexy, 70's prime, as an attractive assistant working in a facelift shop called New You. And director Michael Anderson steers the film quite nicely from beginning to end.
Some have criticized "Logan's Run" as being too long, saying that the film bogs down in the middle when Logan & Jessica get outside the city and meet the Old Man. I say hogwash---I've always enjoyed this part of the film, featuring Ustinov's charming turn as the Old Man. Besides, it's an important part of the story, as Logan & Jessica fall in love with one another, and learn through meeting the Old Man that there IS, in fact, life after 30. Without this segment of the film, "Logan's Run" would be pointless. It's there for a reason, and I like it just as much as the rest of the film.
Upon it's release in 1976, "Logan's Run" was arguably the "hippest" sci-fi film ever made up to that point. Then, of course, the original "Star Wars" was released the following year, which pretty much knocked "Logan's Run" off the sci-fi pedestal. But no matter---the film remains an enduring classic of it's genre, with a big following to this day. Over 25 years later, "Logan's Run" is still a ton of futuristic fun. :-)
I must admit that I should be ashamed as a sci-fi fan: I hadn't seen this
film until recently, and I wanted to better understand the parody from "Free
But I enjoyed the film.
Watching this film against the more recent glut of sci-fi films, I have to say that they made them a little more original back in the 70's-80's, instead of everything being techno-computer-CG-spaceship fights. A grim look at the downside of maintaining an "ideal", utopian society. When you hit 30, you either have the option of willingly submitting yourself to be killed under a pretense of renewal, or having the Sandmen play with you before they go in for the kill. Neither option seems really appealing. But the idea of one of the killers having to face their mortality is an interesting idea.
A little slow in places (but I did keep wanting to see what would happen next), and some of the special effects look really dated (even to '77's "Star Wars"), but the story holds up well, and it's an entertaining ride overall.
It's truly a classic of the genre, and I wish I had seen it sooner.
This movie left a lasting impression because the story and concept are fantastic and the lead characters did a great job. The campy feel of the technology does not deter from the impact of this ageless film. People today tend to get hung-up on technology and forget the value of the story and the acting. I believe a lot of viewers today probably will not understand this film, and people who didn't get it back in the 70's probably still don't get it. The social statement is so true it's not even funny. We do not like old people. Just look around at print media, advertising, Hollywood, music, or sports. We treat older people like the plague.
I love this movie for a number of reasons It's got a wonderfully original storyline, eye candy visuals, great 1970's hairdos, doesn't require a PHD to figure out and is just plain fun to watch. I know there are some people on this site that have dissected Logan's Run like a frog in Science Class and have dismissed it for some short comings. But if you attempt to watch this movie by holding a magnifying glass up to it and comparing it's special effects and sets to films like Star Wars, you're not going to enjoy it because it doesn't compete on that level. It's strength is an emphasis on the human condition and rebelling against a regimented society that lies to it's people and the special effects are just along for the ride. Also unlike Star Wars, I look at this movie as a period piece because it's a 1970's perspective on one possible future society and watching it (especially now)you never forget that. Yes it's dated, but like many things from the 70's reminds us of a simpler time and place we can remember fondly.
Okay, it's got a hoaky plot with lots of holes in it, special effects made from matchbox sets, some mediocre acting (Farrah Fawcett?!?) and dialogue, a big ole "this was made in the 70's" stamp all over it, and I think the editing, direction and sound track are lousy too. And yet somehow it all works. I love this movie! Maybe it's the campy cornball that gets me every time. I dunno. Yet by the end I feel uplifted and even touched. What a great scene with the timid girl touching Ustinov's beard at the end with Logan and Jessica in each other's arms looking on.
While the acting is average (or perhaps its the lousy script) there are exceptions, thankfully mostly among the main cast. Richard Jordan is just great as the relentless and unremorseful sandman. And Ustinov is a lot of fun as the kooky old man. Michael York, who've I've always liked, is servicable as our hero (thankfully they don't ask him to stretch his acting skills too much here). But without a doubt the real jewel is Jenny Agutter as Jessica-6. I can't recall a part more perfectly cast. Ms. Agutter is the epitome of beauty, youth and doe-eyed innocence. And her underlying sensuality is impossible to miss in every scene she is in. And as if that weren't enough she can act to boot!
Of course there's a lot that I don't like about the movie, it's quite easy to pick apart. But again, I don't know how, "Logan's Run" is much better than the sum of its parts.
I hope they get the rumored remake off the ground, there's some good underlying sci-fi to be explored here and with a tightened up script, upgraded effects, better direction and editing you could have *real* winner. I just don't think they'll ever match the original casting job for Jessica-6.
Beyond the entrapment of lavish special effects (for which "Logan's Run" won
an Oscar anyway), few science fiction films actually present a good story,
much less one that makes you think and/or presents new ideas. "Logan's Run"
is one of those few.
Before "Stars Wars" enraptured audiences with its stunning special effects and created a precedent for a string of similarly effects-laden knock-offs and genre wanna-be's (mirroring what "The War of the Worlds" had done for audiences in the 50's), true science fiction films such as "Logan's Run" were giving us stories simply complimented by special effects, not about them. I say "true" because "Star Wars" is of the fantasy genre; it is not a science fiction story, though it does share some common elements.
"Logan's Run" presents us with a vivid, somewhat horrifying vision of a possible future. It doesn't take place "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." It happens on earth in a believable time frame. It doesn't ask us to greatly suspend disbelief by accepting alien races and magic powers. Instead, it presents us with a chilling fast forward of our own technology, attitudes, and policies. Concerning the latter, the film includes an almost creepy euthanasia undertone to it.
Though, in all honesty, I care more about and become more closely associated with the characters in "Star Wars," the disassociation I feel for LR's characters somewhat aids the lack of individuality that the story tries to convey. The actors, however, give great performances.
Beautiful cinematography and settings greatly compliment the film's mood and timeframe, from the sterile domed city to the decimated Washington D.C., which still provides one of (if not) the best visuals of a post-apocalyptic world that I've ever seen. It's right there with "The Planet of the Apes'" Statue of Liberty.
Another thing that SW does well is disassociate itself from the decade in which it was created. You have to overlook this aspect in LR because like so many films of the 70's, it carries its decade's time stamp.
Though minor, another thing I, in particular, enjoy about LR are the weapons. Unlike every other weapon in and out of science fiction history, LR's "blasters" do not actually shoot anything. There is simply an explosion at their designated target. It may be campy (or corny), but it's definitely different and a fine example of real, working props.
Another interesting note: the film varies greatly from the original novel, but most people agree that the film is much better. I tend to agree with them.
For me, in terms of science fiction, "Logan's Run" takes its place among such decade-defining films as "The War of the Worlds" (50's) and "The Planet of the Apes" (60's) and among such thought-provoking science fiction as "Soylent Green" and "Gattaca."
Ask yourself this: what or where is "sanctuary?" Isn't that what we're all looking for? Answer both, and you'll have the film's theme.
Logan's Run was adapted from a novel written with the specific intention of being made into a movie. I'm glad they did because I first saw this on TV as a child during the eighties and loved every minute of it. Due to my young age I could identify with a character lorded over by incomprehensible, emotionless machines - just like mean parents who say NO! Poor Logan, so earnest and innocent. Now that I'm an adult I still love this movie, but for different reasons. Logan's Run is drenched in the seventies, from the hip music and sets to the 'revolutionary' concept of free sexuality and a new face at the flick of a switch. It's so camp in places, yet the concept of a society discarding anyone over the age of 30 seems eerily prescient, given that I've even heard Britney Spears derided for being 'old'. Perhaps they should have set the cut-off age at 20 instead?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you hate Sci-Fi, then don't bother. There will be so many things in
this dated film to bug you, that there's really no point unless it's
assigned for class. If so, I'd like to congratulate your teacher: Some
of these concepts are timeless and presented in provocative ways. For
instance, does God exist, or do we, similar to the way that the young
people of Bubble City believe in Sanctuary, want and need God to exist?
Another question the film asks us to ponder is something about the
tendencies and the central essence of "youth-based culture." What's
good about it? What's bad? Some of the questions this film asks (and
Peter Ustinov's Eliot-spouting performance) are genuine joys within the
muck of cheesy sets, effects, and cityscape models that look more like
Avacado Mall than City of the Future. Auguter and York look beautiful
(and have real chemistry between them), plus Richard Jordan's Francis 7
was so memorable, they had to bring back his character from the dead
for the TV series.
Not only do I love the quest or journey theme in this film, but pondering the movement inside Logan--from Sandman killer who never questions authority to lover/runner with Jessica as his muse and accomplice--makes for interesting arguments. For instance, what was Logan's relationship with Francis and did he betray his best friend because of being betrayed by the central computer? Would Logan have been able to love Jessica if he didn't realize that the central computer's teachings about love and commitment were flawed? Farrah's awfully pretty, and the look is so 70s you almost can't stand it, but all kitching aside, it's a fun run.
In 2274, the survivors of a war live in a great domed city sealed from
the outside world and their society provides all possible comfort to
them. However there is a catch: when the dwellers reach the age of
thirty years old, their life clocks become red, accusing that it is
time of renewal and they must participate in a ceremony called
Carrousel. The misfits are called runners and they are chased by the
police force called Sandmen and terminated. The efficient sandmen Logan
5 (Michael York) and Francis (Richard Jordan) work together and they
are best friends. When Logan meets Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter) in a
sexual encounter, she sees that he is a sandman and refuses to have sex
with him, claiming that it was a mistake of the circuit. Then Logan
terminates a runner and when the computer analyzes the belongings of
the victim, it assigns Logan to an undercover mission. His life clock
is advanced in four years and he is ordered to take the key and seek
the Ankh Sanctuary. He uses Jessica to help him, but he falls in love
for her while chased by Francis. Logan questions the system and leaves
the domed city with Jessica; in the outer world, they find and old man,
changing their perspective of life beyond 30.
"Logan's Run" is one of the best sci-fi ever and absolutely ahead of time. Even in 2009 and after watching this feature at least six times, I still love it. The original and engaging story is supported by magnificent cinematography, scenarios, set decoration, special effects, costumes, make-up and music score. Jenny Agutter is amazing and shows a wonderful chemistry with Michael York. One of the best moments is when they do not know the meaning of "beloved husband" and "beloved wife" since these concepts do not exist in their society. Last but not the least, the name of my daughter was inspired in the character performed by Jenny Agutter. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "Fuga no Século XXIII" ("Escape in the 23rd Century")
Note: On 20 Aug 2015, I saw this film again.
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