Monday, September 2, 2019

Logan's Run

I saw back in July that I had never blogged about Logan's Run before, so when it was on the TCM schedule then as part of the salute to science fiction, I decided to record it to do a post on it here.

Of course, this is one that most people probably know the basic story of already. Michael York plays Logan, a 26-year-old who works as a sort of policeman in a post-apocalyptic domed city in 2274, together with his partner Francis (Richard Jordan). They and a bunch of other people are on their way to a ceremony called "Carousel". It's something designed for people who have turned 30, and are at "Lastday". These people go onto the carousel, and some sort of ray from above strikes them dead, "renewing" them for the next generation of people. And people actually watch this, screaming "Renew! Renew!"

The first obvious thing to think is that there are people who just don't believe in "renewal", and would like to live more than 30 years. Sure enough, there are people who try to avoid Carousel, called "runners". Logan and Francis' real job is to find these runners and do away with them, in part to keep people from finding out that the whole renewal thing is a bunch of nonsense.

As you can guess, there certainly are people around who understand it's nonsense and would like to run, and Logan is about to meet one of them in the form of a date the computer that runs the city selects for him, Jessica (Jenny Agutter). She's got an ankh around her neck, as did the runner that Logan just killed, and she talks openly about not wanting to die at 30.

Logan is summoned by the computer, and told that there are apparently some runners who escape, and that they've made it to a place called "Sanctuary". Logan is given the job to find Sanctuary -- and destroy it. And just to mess with Logan, the computer advances Logan's life clock by three years, meaning he's going to be at Lastday soon. It's this that makes him decide that perhaps he's really going to become a runner himself and stay in sanctuary.

But there are problems. One is that the people who help the runners certainly aren't going to want to help Logan, understandably believing that he's a spy to rat them all out. Indeed, one such person, Doc (Michael Anderson Jr.) tries to kill Logan. There are also the other police, including Francis, who are going to do whatever they can to stop Logan.

Somehow, though, Logan and Jessica not only get past all the police, but get out of the dome, which they at first think means they've made it to Sanctuary. Except that there aren't any people here, and only the ruins of Washington DC. Until they find one crazy Old Man (Peter Ustinov) and all his cats. (Where the Old Man gets his food from is not answered.) Logan decides that perhaps he should bring the Old Man back to the city and let everybody know there's life after 30.

Logan's Run is a movie with an interesting premise, although the movie that we get is something I have quite a few problems with. I'm not the biggest fan of dystopian movies, and Logan's Run has the added issue that there's no logical way this particular dystopia could have developed. Contrast this with something like Soylent Green, based on overpopulation. How anybody gains the institutional knowledge to keep the supercomputer running is never addressed, or the breakdown of the family structure. And how did they kill off the vast majority of the population that was over 30 to get down to a population of only young people.

The biggest bright spot is the sets, but that's not enough to raise a movie beyond mediocre. Watch Logan's Run once because the plot is famous, and then strike it off your list.

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