Title: Logan’s Run (1976)
Director: Michael Anderson
Cast: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Peter Ustinov, Farrah Fawcett
Logan’s Run is one of these movies that presents us with the idea of a utopia. A seemingly perfect society in which nothing goes wrong, everyone is happy and continually elated. Everyone lives under these domes that have weather regulation and protect society from the harsh conditions of the world outside. In these domes, people live only for pleasure and physical beauty. There are arcades, spas, plastic surgery clinics, and gymnasiums for everyone to enjoy. People seem to live on a never ending party. As long as you play by the rules that is. And the rules say that when you turn 30, you have to sacrifice yourself in an event called ‘Carousel’. Essentially, in Carousel you willfully let yourself be disintegrated into oblivion. Supposedly, according to their beliefs, when you die in Carousel you are instantly reborn or ‘renewed’ as they call it, in a new body. You come back as a newborn and start living your life once again. In this way, society avoids over population and food shortage.
But what happens when you don’t want to sacrifice yourself when you turn 30? Well, then you become a runner. You run from the government appointed Sandmen. These Sandmen will hunt you down and make sure you are terminated for good. But not all runners are caught by the Sandmen. There’s an underground movement of rebels that are constantly searching for a place called ‘Sanctuary’, a place where people over 30 can live without the fear of being hunted and killed. A place where people can grow old and die in peace.
This is a film that plays with many themes at the same time, some are more prevalent than others. Logan 5 and Jessica 6 (the films main characters) are two people who suddenly see themselves becoming rebels. They go against the ideas that the grand majority think. In the society represented on this film, questioning the status quo of things is something that is not encouraged. In one scene, a fellow Sandman tells Logan “You question too much for a Sandman” which lets us know questioning is not something that should be considered, you should just take things for granted and do as you are told. Logan isn’t like that, he is constantly questioning the how and the why of things. In one moment he asks a fellow Sandman “have you ever seen anyone renewed?” So right off the bat we know that Logan doesn’t take things for granted, he needs to know why things are the way they are.
Logan 5 and Jessica 6
Unfortunately, Logan is chosen by the system to go and find the rebels sanctuary. They fast forward his life clock and suddenly he finds himself becoming a runner himself. This is a common thing in films that deal with an oppressive system. They are told from the point of view of someone who used to work for the system, but suddenly finds him or herself becoming an enemy of the state. This is exactly what happens to Logan himself. He used to be a Sandman but now he is hunted by them, so if he doesn’t want to be zapped out of existence, he has to run; which he does. Jessica follows. Together they will find out if there is something beyond the walls of the domed city. So at heart, this film is really a film about rebels trying to see past the lies that they have been taught. And their search for the ultimate truth.
Farrah Fawcett makes an appearance as a plastic surgeon's assitant
Once they finally make it out of the domed city and into the real world, they suddenly find it to be a harsh post apocalyptic wasteland. We see abandoned buildings that have been overtaken by nature. Man has become so disconnected from nature that Logan and Jessica find the out doors horrible. Yet, little by little they adjust. And on their trek through the wasteland they stumble upon something they had never seen before: an old man. In the dome, people didn’t want to properly deal with getting old and dying. In that society they preferred to die young and avoid old age completely. This is one of the films main themes, the acceptance of old age and death as a natural part of life. There is a scene where all the young people in the dome encounter the old man and see him as something strange and alien to them, they come to embrace and accept him. The ultimate message is, old people have their charm. They have their good humor, their interesting stories, and their wisdom. Old people need not be ignored by the young. They should be embraced and accepted as an important part of our society.
The Old Man
Logan’s Run is also about true love vs. physical/sensual pleasure and the difference between the two. In the dome people engage freely in sex. You hit a couple of buttons in a controller and some hot chick or guy teleports him or herself into your room to have sex with you. They also have a place called ‘Love Shop’ where people engage in sexual orgies. In the domed city, sex is something cold and calculated. It’s simply about the pleasure, never about the love, the caring or the warmth. Once Logan and Jessica escape the dome and explore the real world outside of it, they come to depend on each other for survival and this brings them closer together. They soon discover the pleasures of true love. Lets face it, theres nothing better then sex and true love all rolled up into one and Logan and Jessica discover that in their adventures on the outside world.
So as you can see, this film covers all sorts of themes and issues that make it interesting. My only problem with the film is that once they encounter the old man, the movie screeches to a halt. I don’t mind the fact that the film focuses on Logan and Jessica’s encounter with him, because its an essential part of the story, but I think they dwell a bit too long in it, in these scenes the dialog is slow and boring. But that all quickly changes when Logan and Jessica decide to go back to the dome to tell everyone that they can be free and live in the real world without life clocks and without having to sacrifice themselves when they turn 30.
The films effects were inventive for their time, but by today’s standards they are extremely dated. For example, the miniatures are obviously miniatures. Matte paintings are obvious as well. One thing is still solid though: the art direction in some sequences was awesome. Loved the look of some of the sets. So retro. Sadly, in other scenes it is obvious that the film was shot inside of a mall in Dallas Texas. They used this old trick of making real locations look ‘futuristic’ by adding a few props, the result didn’t always work, so the film is uneven in that sense. A remake was in development with Bryan Singer attached to direct it, but when Synger's Superman Returns bombed, I guess Singer decided to go with other projects that would assure his stay in Hollywood. As of right now, the film is in the proverbial development hell. Lets hope that Bryan Singers new X-man movie is a hit so that the Logan’s Run remake gets renewed someday. I’m curious to see how this one would look updated, in my opinion, its one of those movies that could actually benefit from getting remade.
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5
Some rebels are way hotter then others