Vintage Featurette “A Look into the 23rd Century”
“Live it up today, your time is up tomorrow. In the Year of the City 2274, humans forsake the ravaged outer environment by living in a vast, bubbled metropolis. There, computerized servo-mechanisms provide all needs and everyone can pursue endless hedonism. Endless, that is, until Lastday. That’s when anyone who’s 30 must submit to Carrousel, a soaring, spinning trip to eternity and supposed rebirth.
The screen’s first use of laser holography provides some of the sci-fi kicks in this post-apocalyptic saga honored with a Special Achievement Academy Award for Visual Effects. Michael York plays Logan 5, a government Sandman authorized to terminate Runners fleeing Carrousel. Logan is almost 30. Catch him if you can.”
“Logan’s Run” is rated PG.
Most notable is how horribly cheesy it is in every respect. The music, by Jerry Goldsmith, is dominated by awful ’70s synthesizer sound. It’s hard to listen to. The special effects are also pretty poor. The domed cities are obviously miniatures featuring transports on model train tracks. Then the interiors of the domed cities look like mall food courts. The laser guns shoot flames and spark little fires around their targets. The costumes are awful. They’re all sparkly green, black, or red. The dialogue is pretty weak, too. And despite being rated PG, this film has a lot of nudity in it. The future culture is driven by hedonism, so we get to see drug induced orgies that are so trippy that they’re comical. It’s really amazing that “Star Wars” came only a year later and turned sci-fi movies on their head. You start to realize just how groundbreaking “Star Wars” was when you put it up against “Logan’s Run.”
But as cheesy as the first portion of the film is, things change significantly when Logan and Jessica finally escape the domed city. Goldsmith drops the cheesy synthesizer music for an orchestral score. The horrible domed cities are left behind and we’re treated to some pretty impressive shots of a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. Vines overgrow all the landmarks and it starts looking like the city remains in “I Am Legend.” There’s still cheesy dialogue and a hokey fight between a couple of characters, but in large part the stuff that dates the film is left behind. It’s almost like two different films smashed together.
It’s kind of amazing to compare the leading men of the ’70s to those of today. Michael York plays Logan, and he never would be considered a leading man today. He’s not particularly handsome by today’s standards and his acting is pretty old school. None of his performance feels natural. It’s also kind of funny to see Jenny Agutter as Jessica 6 while ’70s icon Farrah Fawcett is basically a cameo actress as Holly. Fawcett is barely in the movie. I felt sorry for Roscoe Lee Browne who plays Box, a robot that looks like it was built by a bunch of junior high kids. Seriously, he looks like he’s made out of Home Depot scrap and poor Browne is shoved inside. It’s sad. One of the few people to escape with some dignity is Peter Ustinov who plays the Old Man. Ustinov was always a bit kooky and that suits the character well here.
“Logan’s Run” is due for a remake in the near future. Is it good source material? Hard to say. Sci-Fi audiences are more sophisticated now and it’s difficult to predict whether or not they’ll accept hedonistic domed societies. But I’ll be interested to see if it can get a “Battlestar Galactica”-like update.
I’d really only recommend the “Logan’s Run” Blu-ray to anyone that was a fan of the original, fans of old sci-fi films, and anyone needing a good laugh at a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” party. Everyone else will probably get tired of it very quickly. Good sci-fi is timeless. “Logan’s Run” is definitely dated.
There are only two bonus features on this DVD – an audio commentary and a vintage featurette on the creation of the world. I wish there had been a retrospective showing the surviving actors and actresses.