Thursday, September 22, 2005

LOGAN'S RUN (1976) - Michael Anderson

Probably the main reason I never bothered to see this summer’s The Island for the brief, two-week blip it was on screens is that I have Logan’s Run on tape, and, from what I’ve read, The Island’s pretty much a remake of said movie. Actually, that’s not exactly true. The main reason I never saw The Island was much simpler…Michael Bay.
Logan’s Run is about a domed future-world devoted to sensual pleasures. We never really know exactly why it’s domed (was there radiation at one point?), but we do know that once you reach the age of 30 you’re kicked to the curb with two choices: 1) a chance to be “renewed” in Carousel, a kind of no-gravity dome where you’re politely ZAPPED for a stadium full of spectators or 2) run like hell. Why the age 30 cut-off point? I don’t think they ever explain it outright. I guess there’s just not enough caviar and K-Y Jelly to go around.
The main character, played by a reliably stiff Michael York, is Logan 5. He’s one of the dome’s policemen (or “Sandmen”) who, along with his partner Francis 7, are charged with the task of apprehending those who run. After frying the “runners” with their lasers, they’re always speculating: “I wonder why they choose to run.” Gee, I don’t know, because maybe they’re not really being “renewed” in that Carousel thing, ya think?
Once Logan starts to question this “renewing” business a little too vocally (and believe me, this takes a while), the dome computer orders him to find Sanctuary, the mythic place outside the dome where all these runners are apparently headed. To make matters worse, they add a couple years to his life clock, a blinking crystal in the palm of his hand, so that it appears as if he’s reached his time limit and is a runner himself. Pretty unfair, right?
Not really, because his companion for the trip is the super-foxy Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter), a perfect name for an all-girl rock band if there ever was one (I’m sure there is). They go “on the run” looking for Sanctuary, which basically ends up being the remnants of a Washington D.C. in desperate need of a Weed Whacker. Their journey is more like a honeymoon than an escape considering the fact that Francis 7 is not that adept at pursuit-and-capture nor is the trashcan-like robot, Box, who they run into. Logan 5 can basically knock both of them over with a light shove.
There are a lot of interesting sci-fi ideas going on here, but the direction and pacing leaves a lot to be desired. Logan’s Run is basically THE CHEESY SCI-FI MOVIE you think of when you think of cheesy sci-fi. It’s got the silly futuristic outfits, the obvious tiny city models meant to be sweeping landscapes, the lame-brained philosophizing monologues. And that’s not to say that’s a bad thing. It’s fun…but by no means “good.”
The movie gets a little life kicked into it when the runaways meet their first real human over the age of 30 not born in a test tube. He’s played by Peter Ustinov in a wonderfully rambling turn as sort of a mild schizophrenic living among the ruins of the Capitol building with lots and lots of cats. He of course teaches them about the old ways of “being a human,” and they decide to take this knowledge back to the dome in an effort to free the dome inhabitants.
But, to be honest, I’m not so sure why the ones with low life crystals and a bunch of years left would want to go. They’re basically living the life of Reilly, of a young and entitled Hollywood hot shot…like a supermodel or one of those guys on Entourage. Now if only someone would “renew” Michael Bay...

1 comment:

Jordan Hoffman said...

Logan's Run - Any Sense of Fun = THX 1138.