Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review #617: 'Logan's Run' (1976)

In the 2274, the last remaining collection of humans live in a domed utopia ran by a computer, where they live out a hedonistic lifestyle until they reach the age of 30. Their hands are implanted with a light that changes colour as they get older, and when they hit 30, they are forced to take part in the Carrousel, where they are vaporised, believing they are part of a 're-birth' cycle. The majority accept this as part of their natural existence, but a select few, known as Runners, recognise the brutality of population control. To counteract this, there are Sandmen, a sort of police force tasked with tracking and killing any Runners. After killing one such Runner, Sandman Logan 5 (Michael York) finds an ankh pendant on the body, to which the computer recognises as a symbol of Sanctuary, a mythical place seen as the escape by the Runners. The computer tells Logan 5 he must find Sanctuary, and his lifespan is shortened to hasten his quest, so he enlists the help of Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter), a potential Runner who wears an ankh pendant.

With its bold, bright futuristic sets and obligatory shiny jumpsuits, Logan's Run is one of those 1970's ever-so-camp cult sci-fi's that no-one really takes seriously regardless of it's social message. The film itself certainly takes itself seriously, but has dated so badly it is best viewed as a bit of a guilty pleasure. Certainly one of those films to watch on a rainy bank holiday or a Sunday afternoon. It certainly has it's moments - occasionally it slips into a hypnotic and slightly psychedelic wish-wash of flashing red lights and green death-rays, that can't help but grab your attention. Half the time I didn't really know what was happening, certainly a fault on my part, but the film wasn't holding my attention long enough for me to keep up with the plot and narrative twists, despite all the visual splendour on show.

Yet the actual plot device that jump-starts Logan's journey is itself confusing. Why does the computer send Logan on this mission simply for finding the ankh pendant, a symbol that is worn in plain sight by many members of the Runners? Why shorten Logan's lifespan, as this will surely give him enough reason to become a Runner himself and escape his unfairly premature demise? Clearly logic isn't given enough attention, but Logan's Run contains enough cornball lines of dialogue, hilarious 1970's haircuts, and rather useless laser guns, to justify it's cult following. It's far too long, but a nice reminder of a time where sci-fi was still primarily rooted in satire, regardless of how successful it is.

Directed by: Michael Anderson
Starring: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Farrah Fawcett, Peter Ustinov
Country: USA

Rating: ***

Tom Gillespie

Logan's Run (1976) on IMDb

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