Originally posted at PopBunker.net.
Release Year: 1976 / Director: Michael Anderson / Writers:David Zelag Goodman (screenplay), William F. Nolan (novel) / Starring: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, and Richard Jordan
As I’ve been selecting movies for this Old Movies / Young Eyes feature, I have been trying to hit a lot of the movies that more experienced (*cough* older *cough*) friends have been suggesting I need to watch. Strangely enough, it seems that many of the movies from the 70s (it hasn’t been intentional that all the movies I’ve written up so far are from the 70s, by the way) that people have been recommending also happen to be the same movies that are slated for remakes. I guess there’s always money in taking what was old and making it new again; which coincidentally is a big part of the premise in Logan’s Run. And, of course, IMDB says there is a remake in progress for 2012.
Like any good dystopian movie, Logan’s Run opens up by zooming in on a beautiful futuristic world, showing a city inside of a bubble with lots of strange, advanced architecture and a slick-looking monorail system of some sort winding through the landscape. We see some of the city’s beautiful inhabitants as we make our way into what appears to be the maternity ward of a hospital. Except that as two men – Logan 5 and Francis 7 – look in the window at the babies with strange jewels embedded in their palms, their dialogue reveals that this maternity ward is absent of mothers. Francis soon reveals the large chip in the veneer of this idealized future world as he says to Logan – “One is terminated, one is born, that’s just the way it is.”
We soon learn that Logan and Francis are part of an elite class of citizen in this society populated by beautiful young people. They are “sandmen,” whose job it is to chase, capture, and terminate “runners.” What is a runner? I’m glad you asked! There’s a reason everyone in this world is young and beautiful – no one is permitted to live past 30. The city’s residents submit to a voluntary process of termination by way of a strange “carousel” event, in which a large jewel in the ceiling slowly pulls the “expired” humans up with some sort of strange tractor beam and vaporizes them. The residents seem to willingly submit in the hopes of achieving “renewal” – or being reborn to experience another idyllic lifetime. Of course, you and I both know that’s BS. Soylent Green is people! Oh – sorry, wrong dystopia. Logan gets notification as this carousel ceremony is taking place that there’s a runner on the loose, so he rushes off to find the runner and Francis follows. Logan and Francis don’t come across as very sympathetic characters as they maniacally torment the Runner they’re about to kill. They do their duty and kill the runner with ease chase the runner until he kills himself by leaping off a balcony. For guys whose job it is to terminate, these Sandmen are actually very lousy shots. Video evidence here
. When Logan confirms that the Runner is dead, he discovers that the man was grasping something in his hand when he died – an ankh. Some jetpack guys come through after and spray some awesome stuff on the corpse that makes it disintegrate in seconds flat. How’s that for renewal?
Probably the coolest part of this future world is featured in Logan’s bedroom, where he has some sort of transporter device that seems to pull random potential sex partners from something Logan calls “the circuit.” Sounds way better than Chatroulette, or Craigslist and OKCupid, if you ask me. The first person who appears is a dude, and we all know that the hero of our
movie sure as hell ain’t into dudes. He flips the switch again and a good-looking girl comes in, wearing an ankh around her neck. Logan is mystified when the girl, Jessica, says she’s not in the mood for sex. She put herself in the circuit because she was feeling sad about a friend who was just killed in the carousel. “Sad?! Killed?!” Logan doesn’t understand this girl. Just as Logan and Jessica are experiencing a moment of charm, Francis (aka cock-blocker) shows up with two drunk girls and wants to party.
The next morning, during his briefing by the computer system that appears to be in charge of the city, Logan is told that the ankh is a symbol for something called “Sanctuary” – which is where the Runners hope to get to when they try to escape termination. Logan is instructed to become a runner himself and attempt to infiltrate the resistance and discover what exactly this Sanctuary is. The computer pushes poor Logan’s clock up four years and makes his palm-jewel start blinking, meaning he’s quickly coming due for termination. He summons Jessica to his office and tries to talk her into helping him become a runner and get connected to her friends in the resistance. She plays hard to get, but in the ensuing sequence of events she eventually finds it necessary to help him out.
Francis discovers that Logan appears to have gone rogue, and he pursues Logan and Jessica through a series of mishaps, including a botched attempt to pursue an especially pathetic female Runner (“it must be a mistake – I’m not 30 I’m 22!” Yeah, honey, we’re not buying it.) followed by a spectacularly failed laser surgery (“New You!”) procedure that results in a dead doctor and a traumatized Farrah Fawcett.
Logan and Jessica proceed to make it farther than any other Runner has in the past, vanquishing a psychotic robot and discovering sunshine, skinny-dipping, the Lincoln Memorial, cats, and the first old man they’ve ever seen. Francis manages to catch up to them, resulting in one of the film’s final few climactic scenes. As usual, I won’t spoil the ending for you. I will say that while the movie was fun, it doesn’t seem like it was quite as fantastical as the book sounds. I’m definitely curious to see how the 2012 remake measures up. What do you think, readers – can Ryan Gosling still pull off an under-30 role?