If you can stifle the urge to laugh at its pastel unisex costumes and futuristic shopping-mall décor, this extravagant science fiction film from 1976 is still visually fascinating and provocatively entertaining. Set in the... more » year 2274, when ecological disaster has driven civilization to the protection of domed cities, the story revolves around a society that holds a ceremonial death ritual for all citizens who reach the age of 30. In a diseaseless city where free sex is encouraged and old age is virtually unknown, Logan (Michael York) is a "sandman," one who enforces this radical method of population control (but he's about to turn 30 and he doesn't want to die). Escaping from the domed city via a network of underground passages, Logan is joined by another "runner" named Jessica (Jenny Agutter), while his former sandman partner (Richard Jordan) is determined to terminate Logan's rebellion. Using a variety of splendid matte paintings and miniatures, Logan's Run earned a special Oscar for visual effects (images of a long-abandoned Washington, D.C., are particularly impressive), and in addition to fine performances by Jordan and Peter Ustinov, the film features '70s poster babe Farrah Fawcett in a cheesy supporting role. Jerry Goldsmith's semi-electronic score is still one of the prolific composer's best, and Logan's Run remains an interesting example of '70s sci-fi that preceded Star Wars by less than a year. --Jeff Shannon« less
RD C. (allepaca) from TEMPE, AZ Reviewed on 10/30/2009...
"Special Edition" or not-- Gawd, what a disappointment. Somehow, I'd had fond memories from my teen years about this flickâ€¦ I must have been pretty drunk or stoned (or both) at the time. Maybe I saw it at a drive-in on a hot date, and only really saw a few parts? Or maybe my teenaged libido just reacted to the then-rare excitement of seeing a brief glimpse or two of Jenny Aguttar's naked body, I don't know, but something possessed me to try to relive some past joys by buying this thing. What a mistake.
The only cast member who could even act his way out of a paper bag was Peter Ustinov, who must still be spinning in his grave to have ever been associated with this silly piece of tripe. And could that cardboard cutout really be the same Michael York who was so effective in Cabaret? As for Jordan and Aguttar... well, one never really expects much from them anyway. But it is actually painful to see Fawcett stumbling her way through this early movie role... you can almost hear the director yelling "look just like the poster, Farrah-- just smile, don't move!"
The props/effects are almost entirely laughable-- a "killer robot" who appears to be made from tinfoil, "energy guns" that look like halloween sparklers, fight and chase sequences that would fit right into any c-rated 60's Japanese monster movie, etc. The whole thing actually seems like more of a spoof on sci-fi flix; but sadly, it isn't... at least, not intentionally.
It's hard to believe this stinker came out the same year they were filming Star Wars, and the advent of the "new" sci-fi era... it really belongs back in the early 50's, with such "classics" as Invasion of the Green Saucer People from Another Planet. I guess this might serve as a pretty good party movie-- the guests could all get trashed and laugh their butts off at the sheer stupidity of the writing & acting.
With the exception of some of the "Washington in ruins" backdrops toward the end of the film, and maybe Ustinov's quirky character, the ONLY good thing about this movie is the wonderful score by Jerry Goldsmith-- one of the first real film composers to effectively use electronic effects merged with the usual orchestral arrangements. It would be worth it to search out this soundtrack on a cd, so's not to be distracted by the inanity of the movie itself.
Don't waste your time with this arfer. If you want to see some much better sci-fi's from that general time period, try Soylent Green, Rollerball, Planet of the Apes, or Silent Running (I won't even mention 2001-- that's in a class by itself). Hell, even Westworld and Zardoz were far better than this bit of shallow fluff.
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Solid sf adventure less than the sum of its parts
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 10/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"UPDATED FOR BLU-RAY VERSION 11/12/09
For those thinking of upgrading to the Blu-ray of "Logan's Run" there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that while this does improve on the original DVD, it's not a huge jump in quality. The film needs some restoration and it appears this is a new transfer (the same one that was used for the reissued DVD with the same cover). The image quality is soft throughout lacking the sharp image quality that you'd expect from a recent film or one that has been restored.
The other bit of bad news is that we get none of the extras that were included on the old three disc laserdisc instead getting only the original special features ported over from the DVD (which is good news in a way since this could have been bare bones). We get the original promotional featurette (which looks really, really bad), the commentary track featuring director Michael Anderson, star Michael York and costume designer Bob Thomas discussing the making of the film.
Anderson points out in the commentary track WHY there are some plot holes (the film under went some heavy editing to allow more showings per day)but it's a pity that none of this footage has been found or and restored for a director's cut more than likely the footage is missing.
The flaws in the film are less of an issue for me 33 years later. Sure, the production design can be cheesy at times but "Logan's Run" is a product of its time. The themes examined by Anderson and screenwriter David Zelag Goodman still does a good job even if the last third of the film falls apart.
The 5.1 mix sounds pretty good overall which is more good news but it would have been nice to have Jerry Goldsmith's wonderful score available as an isolated track.
Many of the visual effects look dated with the miniature work in particular leaving a lot to be desired but the for time it was pretty good. The matte paintings by Matthew Yurichich are one of the few highlights of the visual effects in the film.
Logan's Run started off with a pretty amazing concept--(courtesy of science fiction writers William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson)what if our youth obsessed society put everyone over the age of 30 (21 in the novel)to death as a means of population control? This film version of a classic cautionary tale is intermittantly successful. David Zelag Goodman's screenplay condenses and changes around several key characters.
The basic plot--In the future our society is enclosed in domes. As a means to control the population, everyone has a life clock crystal on their hand. When you reach 30 you have the option to become "renewed" in a ceremony attended by the citizens. Logan (Michael York) and Francis (Richard Jordan) are Sandmen who hunt, capture/or kill runners (people who choose to not go through renewal and try to escape).
Logan is sent undercover by the computer that runs the city to find the location of Sanctuary and uses Jessica (Jenny Agutter "Walk About")who helps runners escape. He and Jessica discover more than they could possibly imagine.
The film is quite good despite some gaping plot holes. Michael York gives a impassioned performance as Logan 5. Jenny Agutter is enchanting as Jessica. Richard Jordan shines as Logan's former partner Francis who feels betrayed and hunts Logan down. Roscoe Lee Brown is exceptional in his cameo as the demented cyborg Box.
Logan's Run attempted to tell an adult cautionary tale in a world of light weight escapist movies. It's a commendable film and the film makers frequently bite off more than they can chew. I'd rather have a film that's too ambitious than not at all.
Still, I appreciate the ambitions if not the execution. It's nice to finally have this fine if flawed movie on DVD. The transfer is quite good although the print has a number of flaws. There's also quite a bit of dirt evident on the print. These probably could have been cleared up with a direct digital transfer. Additionally, the 5.1 soundtrack occasionally sounds "tinny" and when played in the stereo format can be quite difficult to hear.
3 1/2 stars.
Dated but interesting sci-fi film
jeu8478 | Dallas, TX | 08/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A forgotten piece of futuristic sci-fi that had the misfortune of coming out the year before the groundbreaking "Star Wars", Logan's Run is a well-made, exciting, creative movie that succeeds despite the fact that it has not aged well. Based on the book by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, the movie tells the story of a post-apocalyptic society that lives out its existence in domes, where everything is automated by a central computer so that all of the dome-dwellers can live out their life with ease. However, to prevent overcrowding, no one is allowed to live past the age of 30. To avoid being euthanized, some residents of the city attempt to flee the domes and live out the remainder of their lives; these people are called "runners". Police officers called "Sandmen" are charged with stopping "runners".
Logan, the movie's central character, is a sandman and is played by Michael York. He is given orders by the central computer to track down a group of runners who have not been "put to sleep" and might have set up sanctuary outside of the City of Domes. To do this, the computer advances Logan's life clock (all the citizens of the city have life clocks that tell their ages) to make him appear as if he's 30. Now Logan is forced to run, hence the title.
While the billowing, disco-ish haircuts and outfits might scream "'70s!" to those who watch "Logan's Run", the truth is that there is a lot to like about the movie. For starters, the premise is an intriguing one, and handled well. Giving Logan a succeed-or-die mission gives much of the movie an urgent, claustrophobic feel. York and Jenny Agutter (who plays Jessica, Logan's accomplice in his escape) appear on the surface to be the perfect bland "pretty people" for the shallow society depicted in the movie, but in the course of the movie, reveal their characters' depth and passions. The filmmakers have also crafted a believable world for the characters to inhabit, which is commendable considering much of the film was shot in scenic Dallas and Fort Worth, two places I would describe neither as "scenic" nor "filmworthy".
"Logan's Run" is time capsule of what large budget sci-fi movies were before "Star Wars", but it succeeds, mainly from having a creative plot that draws the viewer's interest and transcends the trappings of the dated 70's designs. By no means the best sci-fi movie of the seventies, but one that is quite enjoyable nonetheless."
Striking, despite flaws
Wayne Klein | 03/13/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Logan's Run fan, if such a thing exists, and was overjoyed to see the film released to DVD. The transfer looks great, and the letterboxed format preserves the lovely cinematography.The acting is, by and large, pretty good. Michael York, Jenny Agutter and Richard Jordan are all in fine form. Peter Ustinov chews scenery in his portions of the film, but isn't that what you put him in a movie for?The visual effects won an Oscar back in '76, pre-Star Wars. I would place their quality somewhere above Marooned, but below 2001:a Space Oddyssey. The Aerial view of the city that opens the film looks really cheesy, but the Carrousel sequence is downright eerie. It is even more remarkable when you learn that the whole sequence was done in-camera, on-set with no compositing aside from the white beam of light that emanates from the ceiling. The compositing and matte paintings are breathtaking.The film takes a lot of flak for its costumes and for looking like it was shot in a shopping mall. I think the costumes are moot--who know what we'll be wearing in the future? These people live in a hedonistic, weather-free society. It stands to reason that they would be very revealing and purely cosmetic for those very reasons. As far as the look of the sets goes--this is a materialistic, consumer-mad, hermetically sealed society that the film portrays--of course its going to look like a shopping mall.The film is not exactly an accurate representsation of the events in the book (something I wouldn't mind seeing someday). Budgetary, time and technological constraints would made doing so impossible at the time. Still, it holds up well on its own merits.One last note: Am I the only one who finds the love story angle of this movie touching? It's interesting to see two people experiencing love for the first time, especially in the world portrayed in Logan's Run, where people don't have lasting emotional ties to one another.What the love story kind of implies is that this is the first time in hundreds of years that people have thought and felt in terms of strong emotions for each other. In an era like our own where the word is bandied about so much as to be meaningless, it's refreshing to see a future where its meaning is rediscovered."
One of the all-time classic Sci-Fi movies!
Rob | 11/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember that Logan's Run is the first science fiction movie that I ever watched, which probably has some bearing on how I've rated it.
This movie is based upon the best selling book Logan's Run by William Nolan. The movie does take some artistic license but nothing too drastic as to completely disown it from the book, such as that horrid movie, Starship Troopers. The effect is that more people are better able to relate to the characters...also probably because they couldn't find actors young enough to match the book.
Another unfortunate is that after the movie had been edited, the cut tape littering the floor was disposed of rather than saved for posterity purposes. One of the cut scenes that I wished could have been saved is where Box creates the ice statue of Logan and Jessica.
Many people like to disregard this movie as too cheesy and/or campy; however, you have to put the movie into context as to when it was filmed and released. The advancement of special effects as seen in Star Wars (released the year after Logan's Run) wasn't available to other studios at the time. Using miniatures was still considered cutting edge in addition to some of the 3D holograms that were used in the computer room.
I'd highly recommend watching this movie as it's a wonderful return to the mid-70's world of science fiction."
Run from Brave New World
PolarisDiB | Southwest, USA | 10/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ah, 70s science fiction... ridiculous costumes, campy visual effects, social commentary... and an underlying weirdness you just can't ignore. Logan's Run is something like THX 1138, only to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World instead of Orwell's 1984. And in the words of the character Logan himself, "It all made sense until Box..." In the future, mankind survives in a mall-like bubble of society that entirely subsists off of pleasure and materialism. Everyone is forced to die at the age of 30, basically to prevent the knowledge of suffering from getting into their minds. Those who do not want to die at 30 are "runners" that get tracked down by "sandmen" who blast them with what essentially amounts to flare guns. Despite this, the walls are not TOO scorched with spent rounds, and most people go on happily. Unfortunately for the status quo, this world is a lie and not everyone is happy, resulting in one particular sandman, the eponymous Logan 5, to have to become a runner himself.
There are some pretty bizarre scenes in the lieu. The whole rite of the carousel is actually quite disturbing if you think about it. An entire quadrant of the city is filled with derelicts and gangmembers, and of course this part is the one called "The Cathedral". On the other hand, there's visual candy as well, with superb modeling for the cityscapes and, yes, Jenny Agutter in a miniskirt that only gets more revealing as it slowly falls apart over the course of the movie.
Unlike THX 1138, Logan's Run doesn't end upon successful exit of the city; that's only the first half. Afterward the audience is treated to a gorgeous vision of the empty and abandoned Washington D.C. The movie kind of drags at this point, but is made up for mostly by the disturbing visions of American landmarks in various states of decay. When all else fails, science fiction's greatest asset is the ability to displace the audience with what they feel are familiar landscapes--just look at Planet of the Apes or 28 Days Later...
This is a very enjoyable movie, nonetheless. People who like the fact that Star Wars is a Campbellian construction of the Hero's Journey should definitely check this movie out--it might as well have been the primary source for George Lucas' later work. And for science fiction fans as a whole, it's a classic example of the form.