Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Movie Review: "Logan's Run" (1976)

Director: Michael Anderson
Year: 1976
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

In a future utopian society that thrives on balance, people live purely for pleasure. There is just one catch: you have to die when you are 30. You either give up your life willingly at 'Carrousel,' or you run and are hunted down by those who are dubbed 'Sandmen.' When a Sandman named Logan decides to run, it may change his society forever.

"Outside? There's nothing outside." (Image Source)
What would you sacrifice to live in pure pleasure? According to "Logan's Run," people would be willing to give up a lot for utopia. This film is directed by Michael Anderson, who has directed other projects like "Around the World in 80 Days," "Orca," and "Millenium." It is written by David Zelag Goodman and is based on the novel of the same name by William F. Nolan and George Clayton. In the distant future long after the last great war, the remaining population now lives in a domed society where people are hedonistic, and everything they need is provided by the government. Their civilization is perfectly balanced. In order to maintain that balance, people are not allowed to live past the age of 30, which means both BigJ and I would be peaced out of this bitch by now. Most citizens give their lives up willingly in a ritual called Carrousel. Those who choose to run and are hunted down by law enforcers known as Sandmen and are promptly terminated. When a Sandman named Logan (Michael York) is sent on a secret mission to find a runner sanctuary, he begins his run and becomes hunted by his fellow Sandmen, but his experience may change his ideas of their society and their civilization forever.
"One is terminated, one is born. Simple, logical, perfect." (Image Source)
It's so fun to see what the idea of the future was for those who lived in the 70's. It is always so kitschy. "Logan's Run" isn't exactly the most classic sci-fi film of its era, but you can plainly see its influence on many modern films with similar themes, most notably Kurt Wimmer's "Equilibrium" and Micahel Bay's "The Island." When this movie came out in 1976, the effects and set designs were probably in line with what you got from most movies of this genre. Of course, "Star Wars" would come out a year later and change the idea of what people thought was possible for sci-fi and fantasy flicks. Like most "soft sci-fi" movies, "Logan's Run" deals with social and moral questions in a futuristic setting with high-tech doodads everywhere. The society found in this story is essentially a form of Eugenics and extreme communism. People live in relative peace and exist for pure pleasure, but in order for this lifestyle to work long-term, things must remain balanced, so there are just a few teeny tiny trade-offs. The population must be controlled. All forms of reproduction are regulated through the government, and on top of that, healthcare and elderly support are difficult, so people must sacrifice their own lives at the ripe ol' age of 30. There is also an interesting element of indoctrination where the population has been taught to believe they will be "renewed" if they sacrifice themselves. It's the same way radical religious groups and cults are brainwashed to commit mass suicide or carry out suicide attacks. The alternative here is to escape the dome and be forced to fend for yourself in the wild after having everything handed to you your entire life.
"No Sandman ever ran." (Image Source)
There is probably a metaphor for children leaving the comforts of their home in exchange for personal freedom, or maybe its simply an exploration of the difference between a capitalist democracy and authoritarian communism. Either way, we think there is enough in "Logan's Run" to keep you engaged with the story, its themes, and production values despite being a bit dated and a little cheesy.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 68%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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