Classic Sci-Fi: LOGAN'S RUN

Matt Donabie goes for a run...

If Star Wars had never been released in 1977 then it's just possible that Logan's Run would be remembered as the sci-fi film of the 70's. Either way it's certainly the hippest of its era.

Logan's Run presents us with a vivid, somewhat horrifying vision of a possible future. It doesn't take place "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away", instead events happen on Earth in a believable time frame. The year is 2274, Earth has been ravaged by global war and many other catastrophies, and a faction of the human race now live together in a giant domed city, completely sealed off from the outside world. Here, in this bubbled society, the young, healthy, beautiful people who populate it live in total and complete pleasure, free of labor and strife, and free to do anything and everything they want, sexually or otherwise. It's a total state of hedonism.

Sounds great, right? Well there is one catch. On your 30th birthday (which is referred to as "Lastday"), the little jeweled lifeclock attached to your hand blinks, and you are expelled from this society of pleasure through an arena event known as "carrousel". The populous are led to believe that their soul will then be "renewed" and they will be reborn into the city's society to start all over again.

Yeah, I don't think I'd fall for that either!

Some of the 30 year-olds in the city know the real truth about carrousel, it is in fact a death sentence. Those who try to escape it are called "runners", those who track down the runners are called "sandmen".

Logan is a 26 year-old sandman. He has a good life in the city until he is given a secret mission by his boss (the master computer) which will change him forever. Logan's assignment is to go undercover as a runner, escape the city and go outside, where he is to find a so-called haven for escaped runners called Sanctuary, and destroy it.

But Logan soon learns the truth about carrousel himself, and, with the aid of a beautiful girl named Jessica who he falls in love with, he must now figure out how to free his people from their horrible 30th birthday present!

I actually discovered the short lived television adaptation of Logan's Run first. I was too young to properly appreciate it, but I do remember thinking that the android, Rem, was pretty cool. However when I first saw the movie on television in the 1980's it instantly became a favourite, and no matter how many times I've seen it now I still find the story quite fascinating, and always marvel at the carrousel effects.

Director Michael Anderson steers the film quite nicely from beginning to end, although I do feel it's slightly too long, and occasionally let down by some below par acting from a few of the supporting characters. The principle cast are all very good though. Michael York as Logan, and Jenny Agutter as Jessica are very well cast and have terrific chemistry together. There is a very charming appearance by Peter Ustinov as Old Man, who Logan and Jessica discover living alone with his cats outside the city. Showing that there is in fact life after 30, and providing us with a welcome older face amongst the youthful cast. Talking of which we also have Farrah Fawcett-Majors in her very sexy 1970's prime, playing an attractive assistant working in a facelift shop called New You!

Going back to Star Wars, that movie has a timeless quality to it. As in, if viewing it for the first time it is very difficult to place it as a 1970s film. This is something that can't be said about Logan's Run. The look and style of this movie marks it is an absolute product of its time. However, the themes explored throughout, the social statement it makes probably rings even more true today than it did in 1976. Media, and much of society in general does tend to treat older people like the plague. There is talk of a remake, as there has been for many years, and I hope they get it off the ground. There's some good underlying sci-fi to be explored here, and with a slightly tightened up script and upgraded special effects Logan's Run could once again have a shot at being the sci-fi film of the decade.
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