Saturday Movie Review – “Logan’s Run”

The rather famous film from the 1970s has finally been
reviewed.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Michael York as Logan 5

Richard Jordan as Francis 7

Jenny Agutter as Jessica 6

Roscoe Lee Browne as Box

Farrah Fawcett as Holly 13

Michael Anderson, Jr. as Doc

Peter Ustinov as The Old Man

Screenplay by David Zelag Goodma based on a novel by
William F. Nolan
and George Clayton Johnson

Directed by Michael Anderson

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

Logan 5 lives in a world where people die at age 30,
and it’s his job
to make sure that happens. When his time is up
prematurely, he’s not
quite as insistent on enforcing that rule.

High Point

The Old Man’s family pictures.

Low Point

The camera work in the Love Shop. It’s a complete
shift in appearance
that makes us feel like we’re in a drug-induced state.
Maybe that was
the intent, but without saying why Love Shop customers
experience and
accept this, it feels out of place.

The Scores

The originality isn’t the best.
Stylistically, it’s standard
70s sci-fi, prediccting the end of free society in
some sort of
trend. This adaptation isn’t even the first to warn
of
overpopulation. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects are few, with mixed results. The
energy wall at
the carrosel wasn’t bad at all, but the wires were
obvious, and the
melting of a corpse was as cheesy as the dissolve
shots in the wolfman
series forty years earlier. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story has some aspects well done, while
others are
weaker. The work with Logan’s character, transforming
him from spy
into supporter, was slow and subtle. However, without
knowing how
society came to become what it has, it’s hard to
accept this ending as
a happy one. Can these people who live in a bubble
actually survive
in a world that didn’t have enough fish to support one
man? Is the
pro-vegetarian attitude conveyed really supposed to be
enough to make
us believe that thousands of people can survive on the
handful of nuts
and berries that the only outside man had to hunt for?
I suspect our
heroes have doomed these people rather than saved
them. I’m not
saying they were wrong to end the society they were
living in, but I
don’t think the last remnants of the human population
can survive so
sudden a change. I generally enjoy ambiguity when I
think it’s
intentional, but that’s not the impression I got.
Maybe the DVD
commentary would convince me otherwise, but we
shouldn’t need to
listen to a commentary to understand a film. (If we
do, then the loss
of score in the story category would simply translate
into a loss of
score in the production category.) I give it 4 out of
6.

The acting is often weak, wooden, or shifted
to the other
extreme. Apart from Ustinov, nobody was really
impressive or
convincing. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response produced wasn’t what I
was hoping
for. The moving is interesting enough to hold my
attention, but
wasn’t so enthralling that I couldn’t wait to see what
was going to
happen next. I give it 3 out of 6.

The production was typical of the 1970s
sci-fi films before
Star Wars. It has elaborate, remarkably well
made sets, but
with a slow pace and pompous feel that undermines the
final
presentation, particularly when you get to the Love
Shop sequence. I
give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s not a bad movie, but it didn’t
live up to the
reputation it has developed. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Logan’s Run receives 26 out of 42.

18 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “Logan’s Run””

  1. Timeshredder says:

    Logan’s Edits
    As you say, fairly typical 70s SF, pre-Star Wars. Fortunately, most people who see it now would see it on DVD or cable. Mainstream broadcasts were notorious for editing out a sequence with relatively minor nudity– and that sequence holds the key to the entire film.

  2. y42 says:

    low point?

    The camera work in the Love Shop. It’s a complete shift in appearance that makes us feel like we’re in a drug-induced state.

    I really don’t understand how you can list an effect that succeeds at what it intends to do as a low point.

    Logan and friend walk in through plumes of smoke, they start to feel the psychadelic effect, and we are treated to the visual equivalent of the same effects, rather than to be subjected to your typical ultra-lame "oh noes, we are under the effects of this here gas {*Logan gestures at the gas*}, these people are affected too, but we are not here to party, hurry before we are t3h overwhelmed!" explanatory monologue.

    HIGH point dude, high point.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: low point?

      I really don’t understand how you can list an effect that succeeds at what it intends to do as a low point.

      It also completely slows down the chase sequence, undermining the intensity of the moment. I’d have preferred it if they just shortened the sequence, kept the momentum up, and filmed it normally. They could have shown facial reactions of the three as they fought to keep their heads clear to have the same effect without slowing anything down.

      • y42 says:

        Re: low point?

        I really don’t understand how you can list an effect that succeeds at what it intends to do as a low point.

        It also completely slows down the chase sequence, undermining the intensity of the moment. I’d have preferred it if they just shortened the sequence, kept the momentum up, and filmed it normally. They could have shown facial reactions of the three as they fought to keep their heads clear to have the same effect without slowing anything down.

        Meh, I consider the bicentenial extravaganza at the end more of a "slowing down" moment. I find the perpetual drugged out orgy room a lot of fun, actually ;-)

  3. Daemonik says:

    I’ll enjoy your movie after…..
    …you present a thesis paper on the socio-technologic dynamics of the society presented in said work of fiction along with detailed schematics and tech manuals for all the technology available to the characters of the story, and they better damn well follow logical trends in realistic physics.

    I mean geez, can’t we just accept that sometimes they have a death ray? A ray that causes death. Does the mechanics of it really matter that much? Do we have to be told that reversing the polarity on the tachyon stream emitter into the dilithium matrix will improve our sex lives? As if most geeks will ever have a sex life (most are far more likely to cook up a tachyon emitter, to be honest).

    I can vividly remember the bitter arguements with people on these boards who simply could not like Firefly because in the future people shouldn’t ride horses (machinery is in short supply on a new colony and horses are self replicating). Or have six-shooters that used plain jane bullets (easy to manufacture, plentiful supply of raw materials for ammunition). Or engines in their space ships with moving parts (hell, why not?).

    To me, the best movies and tv shows do not lay everything out for you, they simply give you pointers that if you sit and contemplate you can figure out logical reasons for why x must be.

    Anyway, here’s a few observations on Logan’s Run:

    The 30 year limit on their lifespans was, besides a limit on the resources a person used, also a social commentary on the live for the moment never look to the future lifestyle of youth. Their lives are shallow and the only reason to continue living is to have fun. They have no future and no past. They have no concept that there is anything more to life.

    Carousel exists to give the citizens a belief that if they follow the rules there’s something on the other side when in reality it’s simply a social control mechanism. Wow, sounds like a commentary on God and organized religion. But then yeah, I guess you can see the wires, so lets ignore the deeper meanings behind the scene.

    As for the ending, you can not inflict a total societal upheaval on any community without the expectation of fatalities. However, is the false utopia of the domes really living?

    Good SF has layers under the story, which is often what keeps SF movies in the public consciousness far longer than most other films. Metropolis was filmed in 1927 but still has things to say today, for instance. Logans Run, likewise, still has things to say. If you listen.

    • y42 says:

      Re: I’ll enjoy your movie after…..

      a commentary on God and organized religion. But then yeah, I guess you can see the wires, so lets ignore the deeper meanings behind the scene.

      I keep telling people: Logan’s Run is a very bad movie about a very good story.

      On the plus side, Joel Silver and Bryan Singer have been threatning to do a remake for years. Perhaps when Bryan is done making kick-ass super hero movies, we’ll get our geeky treat.

      • belzedaar says:

        Re: I’ll enjoy your movie after…..

        On the plus side, Joel Silver and Bryan Singer have been threatning to do a remake for years. Perhaps when Bryan is done making kick-ass super hero movies, we’ll get our geeky treat.

        Well, according to this:
        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0402344/
        It’s in pre-production. In the the plot outline, they seem to have dropped the age cap to 21. Apparently 30 was too old!

        • Daemonik says:

          Re: I’ll enjoy your movie after…..

          Well, according to this:
          http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0402344/
          It’s in pre-production. In the the plot outline, they seem to have dropped the age cap to 21. Apparently 30 was too old!

          Actually, Logan’s Run is part of a trilogy of books written by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. Logan’s Run, the novel, was written in three weeks (and it shows in the character development) but it had several differences from the movie.

          First, the ages:

          In the Novel:
          Yellow: Birth to 7
          Blue: 7 to 14
          Red: 14 to 21 (Lastday)

          In the Movie:
          White: Birth to 7
          Yellow: 7 to 15
          Green: 15 to 21
          Red: 21 to 30

          I suppose the main reasons for changing the ages were twofold. One, the movie and the novel’s were very sexual for their age and Jessica would have been very young for Logan in the movie. Secondly, the ages of the actors would not have realisticly allowed them to play characters in their teens/early twentys.

          Also in the book there was no carousel, no apocalyptic future. The young simply took over and dictated the euthanisation of the old. In fact, the cities in the novels were thriving metropolis’, which made the forced euthenasia even more cynical and arbitrary.

    • TomSwiss says:

      Re: I’ll enjoy your movie after…..

      Or have six-shooters that used plain jane bullets (easy to manufacture, plentiful supply of raw materials for ammunition).

      This reminds me of a SF novel I read in the early 80s (may have been published much earlier, of course) that I can’t remember a darn thing about except that I really liked it, and that a big plot point was that everyone in this future world used six-shooters because energy weapons interfered with their star drive tech and made things go boom.

      I don’t suppose this rings a bell with anyone out there?

      • zocalo says:

        Re: I’ll enjoy your movie after…..

        I don’t suppose this rings a bell with anyone out there?

        Are you talking about "Dune" by any chance? That was big on projectile weapons and blade based hand-to-hand combat because energy weapons didn’t react too well with the shielding technology in use and tended to cause large explosions. More was made of this issue in the context of individual combat than the few mentions of ships, but since they used the same shielding technologies, the use of laser based weaponry, let alone "atomics", was considered a big no.

        Ring any bells?

        • J_W_W says:

          Re: I’ll enjoy your movie after…..

          I don’t suppose this rings a bell with anyone out there?

          Are you talking about "Dune" by any chance? That was big on projectile weapons and blade based hand-to-hand combat because energy weapons didn’t react too well with the shielding technology in use and tended to cause large explosions. More was made of this issue in the context of individual combat than the few mentions of ships, but since they used the same shielding technologies, the use of laser based weaponry, let alone "atomics", was considered a big no.

          Ring any bells?

          I thought it was mostly that the shield technology in Dune specifically could defeat high energy projectiles and laser weapons, not that there woule be cataclysmic side effects. I mean if you could shoot a laser at someone with a shield and cause them to go boom, thats a good thing in warfare isn’t it? If I remember correctly, the sheids very effectively protected people and the only way around them was a return to hand to hand combat. A really great story point that made the Dune universe hold similarities to older times because the technology was so good.

          I think atomics were frowned upon only because they were viewed as a very "dirty" form of weapon and beneath use by the ruling classes involved in Dune.

          • syagrius says:

            Re: I’ll enjoy your movie after…..

            I thought it was mostly that the shield technology in Dune specifically could defeat high energy projectiles and laser weapons, not that there woule be cataclysmic side effects. I mean if you could shoot a laser at someone with a shield and cause them to go boom, thats a good thing in warfare isn’t it? If I remember correctly, the sheids very effectively protected people and the only way around them was a return to hand to hand combat. A really great story point that made the Dune universe hold similarities to older times because the technology was so good.

            Shields + Laser = equivalent of atomic explosion = mutually assured destruction.

            Shields + bullets = target escapes unharmed. So people use swords & knives. Even then the strokes had to come in slow and steady which affected Paul’s fighting style against the Fremen so the Fremen thought he was playing games in his first Fremen fight.

            Shields + static electricity from wind-blown sand = no shields, so desert fighting couldn’t use shields. When shields weren’t used they mention "maula pistols" which I assume were projectile weapons.

            All the families had atomic stock piles but their use was looked down upon. As was posted before, you would be banned from Space Travel by the Guild if you used atomics against people/cities. Paul used them to blow a gap in the hills protecting Dune’s capitol so technically he was not in violation.

            The last time nukes were used in large amounts was on Salusa Secundus, the Emperor’s home planet, turning it into a wasteland. The Sardakur, the Emperor’s personal soldiers, used this wasteland planet to train their recruits. Whoever survived living there must be tough.

            This clues you into why atomics were frowned upon: If you are fighting over territory why turn it into a useless wasteland? You agree not to use atomics for the same reason one knight doesn’t shoot the horse out from under another attacking knight: if you win you get to keep the horse. If one house defeats another house, you get their planets. Who wants a ball of radioactive glass?

            Also, the Emperor doesn’t want you to replicate his training grounds. Paul + Dune ended up doing that because Dune was a natural Salusa Secundus. This was one reason the Emperor allied himself with the Harkonnens.

            BTW: The original Dune books were great. The new ones his son has his name on are garbage.

            • J_W_W says:

              Re: I’ll enjoy your movie after…..

              I thought it was mostly that the shield technology in Dune specifically could defeat high energy projectiles and laser weapons, not that there woule be cataclysmic side effects. I mean if you could shoot a laser at someone with a shield and cause them to go boom, thats a good thing in warfare isn’t it? If I remember correctly, the sheids very effectively protected people and the only way around them was a return to hand to hand combat. A really great story point that made the Dune universe hold similarities to older times because the technology was so good.

              Shields + Laser = equivalent of atomic explosion = mutually assured destruction.

              Shields + bullets = target escapes unharmed. So people use swords & knives. Even then the strokes had to come in slow and steady which affected Paul’s fighting style against the Fremen so the Fremen thought he was playing games in his first Fremen fight.

              Shields + static electricity from wind-blown sand = no shields, so desert fighting couldn’t use shields. When shields weren’t used they mention "maula pistols" which I assume were projectile weapons.

              All the families had atomic stock piles but their use was looked down upon. As was posted before, you would be banned from Space Travel by the Guild if you used atomics against people/cities. Paul used them to blow a gap in the hills protecting Dune’s capitol so technically he was not in violation.

              The last time nukes were used in large amounts was on Salusa Secundus, the Emperor’s home planet, turning it into a wasteland. The Sardakur, the Emperor’s personal soldiers, used this wasteland planet to train their recruits. Whoever survived living there must be tough.

              This clues you into why atomics were frowned upon: If you are fighting over territory why turn it into a useless wasteland? You agree not to use atomics for the same reason one knight doesn’t shoot the horse out from under another attacking knight: if you win you get to keep the horse. If one house defeats another house, you get their planets. Who wants a ball of radioactive glass?

              Also, the Emperor doesn’t want you to replicate his training grounds. Paul + Dune ended up doing that because Dune was a natural Salusa Secundus. This was one reason the Emperor allied himself with the Harkonnens.

              BTW: The original Dune books were great. The new ones his son has his name on are garbage.

              Thanks, I was working from pretty old memory, you really laid out the details. I’ve got to go back and reread all the Dune books. I’ll probably do it around the time my son is finally old enough to read them.

              And I’ve heard the same sentiment elsewhere about the new books. I won’t touch them.

        • Eldhrin says:

          Re: I’ll enjoy your movie after…..

          I don’t suppose this rings a bell with anyone out there?

          Are you talking about "Dune" by any chance? That was big on projectile weapons and blade based hand-to-hand combat because energy weapons didn’t react too well with the shielding technology in use and tended to cause large explosions. More was made of this issue in the context of individual combat than the few mentions of ships, but since they used the same shielding technologies, the use of laser based weaponry, let alone "atomics", was considered a big no.

          Ring any bells?

          Well the ban on atomics wasn’t because of shields, it was for historical reasons. Good-ish ones were given in the prequels, but whether that’s the kind of reason that Frank Herbert had intended I don’t know. It’s easy enough to imagine terrible things which would lead to all of humanity agreeing never to use nuclear weapons on each other, especially if you’ve got groups like the Spacing Guild who can cut off anybody who violates it from the rest of humanity – although the penalties were of course harsher than that.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: I’ll enjoy your movie after…..

      Carousel exists to give the citizens a belief that if they follow the rules there’s something on the other side when in reality it’s simply a social control mechanism. Wow, sounds like a commentary on God and organized religion. But then yeah, I guess you can see the wires, so lets ignore the deeper meanings behind the scene.

      I wasn’t trying to ignore the deeper meaning. Due to the nature of the site, the movies we review tend to involve a lot of special effects, and bad effects distract the viewer and remind them it’s only an illusion. When we rate those visual effects, those that break the illusion should be noted.

      As for the ending, you can not inflict a total societal upheaval on any community without the expectation of fatalities. However, is the false utopia of the domes really living?

      Oh, it’s worth the revolution, but when you can choose between the sudden annihilation of your race and the gradual alteration of your race into something self-sustaining, why choose the former?

  4. Daemonik says:

    BTW….
    Jenny Agutter was pretty smokin’ :D

    • codejnki says:

      Re: BTW….

      Jenny Agutter was pretty smokin’ :D

      I’m slightly ashamed to admit that she would be listed as the high point ;)

  5. fiziko says:

    Next week(s)
    I forgot to mention, next week’s review will be of the original version of The Manchurian Candidate, followed by Mars Attacks, The Matrix, and The Messenger in the following weeks.

Comments are closed.