Logan’s Run was an excellent stylish sci-fi film back in 1976, and still is now. It’s a film that can really capture your imagination, and has a lot of great themes and ideas at its core that makes relevant even in our times. Though films like Forbidden Planet and Silent Running are considered much more endearing movies over this, Logan’s Run still resonates well, considering the strong cult following it has gained since release, thanks to its unique combination of action and special effects with a solid story, which results in a thoroughly-entertaining, and ultimately timeless film that raises the important topic of personal liberty overcoming a centrally-imposed system, similar to films like Rollerball before it and much later on with The Hunger Games franchise. Like most of the classic sci-fi films of old, this delves more into the realms of big concepts and social commentary rather than being over-reliant on action even though there is plenty of that here.
In a lot of ways, this is pretty much an allegory about the dangers of conformity, as well as the triumph of man’s intelligence over technology, as demonstrated in the ending when the computer instantly melts down and explodes the first time it gets confused by Logan’s responses and memories. Another great aspect is how the film juxtaposes the sterile tranquillity and order-impounded security of the dome with the nightmarish reality of the ritualistic Carrousel. Because the population are trapped within the domed city’s hedonistic lifestyle, the Carrousel is depicted as the equivalent of a sport to them as they cheer on, making them numb to the whole reality of the situation. This can also be said of the ice cave below, which on the surface looks calm and serine, yet hides a horrible truth beneath.
It’s true that the film suffers from slow padding during the middle and latter stages, but the film is still engaging thanks to its action and philosophical underpinnings. The film’s art design is visually impressive and pretty damn spectacular, even for the time it was made at, and Jerry Goldsmith’s music delivers a terrific combination of operatic grandness and futuristic foreboding. Michael York is still charismatic and intense in the central role, whilst the mercurial Jenny Agutter gives a very nuanced and understated performance.
Overall, Logan’s Run still succeeds in being a timeless film, thanks to its ideas-heavy plot, unique creativity and vibrant style. It satisfies you on several levels, and despite some sluggish pacing issues, this remains critical viewing for any die-hard sci-fi fan out there, and further shows why it has such lasting impact all these years later.
Dir: Michael Anderson
Scr: David Zelag Goodman
Cast: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Farrah Fawcett, Peter Ustinov
Prd: Saul David
DOP: Ernest Laszlo
Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Run time: 118 mins
Logan’s Run is out now on DVD and blu-ray