I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Logan’s Run is my 2nd favourite movie of all time (FYI my first is Labyrinth). Now I’m going to explain why.
Logan’s Run is a Science Fiction movie made in the 1970’s. It is set in a post-apocalyptic future where humans have sealed themselves in a domed city. The city is a utopia, automated systems provide all of life’s necessities leaving mankind free to pursue an existence of pure hedonism, but there’s a catch: nobody lives past 30. It’s Logan’s job, as a ‘Sandmen’, to kill anyone who tries. These people are known as Runners.
An early scene shows him and his best friend Francis hunting down a Runner; they toy with him and take sadistic pleasure from his fear. So, whilst Logan is a man of action it would not be right to call him ‘the hero,’ if anything he is an anti-hero. Logan is very much a part of the system and he only questions it when forced to, and then reluctantly. He makes questionable choices which suggest he is desperately trying to cling on to his world view. Logan faces the loss of everything he believes in, as do all the main characters at some point in the story, but they cope with it in different ways. That’s what the story is really about. It’s very character-focused and the acting is extremely genuine.
The movie does a great job of creating a believable setting; you could buy this as a possible future. Most of the filming was done on location, not sets, which helps it feel very real, plus they had about 1000 extras to create the illusion of a living, breathing city. That and the unique score – the opening tones of which sound like an ominous, computerized heartbeat – all add up to a wonderfully immersive atmosphere.
Many sci-fi’s suffer from too much exposition; by contrast Logan’s Run hardly explains anything. Rather the majority of information is delivered visually, freeing the characters from having to explain everything to the audience and thereby making the dialogue seem that much more natural. For example, nobody says that the clothing is colour-coded by age, but you see it everywhere. Logan’s Run rewards viewers who engage with it and ask questions. It hints at all sorts of things you may not pick up on right away.
I’m a retro-loving girl so I really dig the 1970’s look. It’s retro chic. And whilst CGI has improved special effects, making them easier and cheaper, I still like and admire physical effects. The Carousel (death ceremony) scene was an ambitious and dangerous stunt, where 18 people in close proximity were suspended on wires from a rotating platform 5 storeys up. It still holds up, managing to be impressive, disturbing and beautiful all at the same time. Logan’s Run won multiple academy awards, including one for Visual Effects. It was also the first movie to ever use holograms.
However some effects don’t stand up as well, particularly the overlay effect when a ceiling collapses. Exterior shots of the City are clearly models (feel free to quote Monty Python!) and the cheesy robot costume for ‘Box’ is simply hilarious. But remember, kids, this post-Planet of the Apes and pre-Star Wars – adjust your expectations accordingly.
Because it is an older film Logan’s Run pre-dates many science fiction formulas and tropes, making it surprisingly fresh. You don’t feel like you’ve seen it all before. It’s also pretty liberal about sex and nudity so there’s a fair bit of eye-candy for men and women alike; when the characters aren’t naked they’re wearing very revealing clothing. Logan basically meets Jessica via ‘Dial-a-Shag.’ Even the super-computer has a seductive voice!
It’s been a difficult movie for me to review because I love it so much, I could geek out about all the things I like, but I won’t spoil it. Logan’s Run has a few surprises and sometimes you don’t know where this crazy ride is going, but it’s a lot of fun and very uplifting despite it’s dark overtones. I do feel it is underrated; a sci-fi gem often overlooked.
- Logan’s Run is based on a Novel (which I need to read). It’s kinda different.
- It was made into a TV series, only recently released on DVD
- Logan’s Run was also a comic book series!
- There are plans to do a modern remake, but they haven’t made much headway