LOGAN'S RUN: DVD
It's 2274 on a post-holocaust earth and the survivors live in protective dome cities. To control population growth, citizens are equipped with a lifeclock; a palm device that flashes when they turn 30, condemning them to death. Anyone who tries to outlive their 30 year allowance must deal with Sandmen like Logan 5 (Michael York), assassins hired to terminate such Runners. Yet Logan is nearing 30 himself and dreams of life outside the dome. He teams up with Jessica 5 (Jenny Agutter) and, using his knowledge of escape routes, flees the city in search of the fabled Sanctuary. Logan's former partner, Francis 7 (Richard Jordan), is hot on his trail.
Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
A classic science-fiction saga that now looks as horribly dated as Lost in Space, Buck Rogers or the original Star Trek, Logan's Run is the typical parallel universe narrative driven by a hunter-becomes-the-hunted plot. The pastel unisex costumes are camper than anything in Barbarella, the pod cars look like golf carts and the giant dome city resembles a giant shopping mall, complete with elevator music. But there are rather sinister religious and socio-policitical tones to this 1976 gem.
The citizens believe "Renewal" means your 30 year old spirit will be reincarnated - but it's simply extermination. The population are in fact clones of each other - note their designations Logan 5, Francis 7 and Jessica 5. Worse still, the people are controlled by mood-numbing narcotics. And hired guns like Logan and Francis are showered with all the free hookers they can handle. So the question is: Why would anyone want to flee an idyllic life full of free narcotics and hookers? Living hard and dying young? Sounds like a rock'n'roll lifestyle to me. But it's all so controlled, so tempered and so neat. And that's the problem. Logan's Run tries to present a utopian future, a brave new world of sparkling cleanliness, as did many sci-fi pics in the 60s and 70s - even 2001: A Space Odyssey. Well, it's 2002 now, and the world looks more like the dirty dystopias of Blade Runner or Minority Report. Which makes the behind the scenes documentary "A Look Into The 23rd Century" so disappointing.
It could have been a deep insight into why the filmmakers thought we'd be getting around in pastel jump-suits, taking government sanctioned drugs and attending mass orgies. Or being executed because we turn 30. Instead, it's a superficial 10-minute extended trailer. Much better is the audio commentary by star Michael York (Austin Powers surely knows his camp value), director Michael Anderson and costume designer Bill Thomas (who has a lot of explaining to do...). They discuss the making of the movie in that particular era (late 70s), and why they think it still holds up today. It's curious to hear York and Anderson talk about the film as if it was a significant one - perhaps those Red Clouds were real.
The 2.35:1 widescreen ratio almost duplicates the movie's theatrical release, yet there is minor graininess due to the original print's age. There's a new 5.1 channel mix that highlights Jerry Goldsmith's
kitsh electronic score, and the cast information and trivia is contained in a booklet insert.
Based on the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, Logan's Run is a wealth of great ideas and good philosophy made into a rather hokey science fiction film. There's attractive stars, futuristic décor and plenty of ray-gun action. If you can resist the urge to laugh, it's still a visually fascinating and provocatively entertaining film.
Published August 8, 2002
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LOGAN'S RUN: DVD (PG)
CAST: Michael York, Richard Jordan, Jenny Agutter, Farrah Fawcett, Peter Ustinov, Roscoe Lee Browne
DIRECTOR: Michael Anderson
RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary by Michael York, director Michael Anderson and costume; designer Bill Thomas; behind the scenes promotional featurette; original theatrical trailer;
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video
DVD RELEASE: August 5, 2002
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