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DVD Review

DVD cover

Logan's Run (1976)


Starring: Michael York, Richard Jordan, Jenny Agutter, Peter Ustinov and Farrah Fawcett
Warner Home Video
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: PG
Available 15 September 2008

In a post apocalyptic twenty-third century the remnants of humanity live in a single domed city. Provided with everything they may desire, it would appear that humanity has finally found an idyllic existence for itself. However, Eden comes at a price and in this new utopia the price is death at the age of thirty...

Logan’s Run (1976) was directed by Michael Anderson from an adaptation of the William Nolan novel. The film received mixed reviews on its original theatrical release. A remake of the film has been in development hell for the past eight years with various directors and writer being associated with the project.

The story tells the tale of Logan 5 (Michael York) a Sandman who terminates Runners, those not willing to enter carrousel to see if they can get their lives renewed - in truth nobody does. Following one particular hunt Logan collects an Ankh from the dead Runner and presents it to the computer who recognises it as the symbol for Sanctuary, the place where the missing, non terminated, runners have supposedly gone. The computer resets Logan’s life clock, a glowing crystal imbedded in his palm to make it look like his time is up and sends him on a secret mission to find Sanctuary. For this he enlists the help of Jessica (Jenny Agutter) who he believes knows the location.

The story, which follows, sees the pair escape from the city to discover the true state of the planet, all the while being hunted by Logan’s friend Francis (Richard Jordan). It turns out that Sanctuary is a lie, but the pair discovers an old man (Peter Ustinov) and lead him back to the city to free the people from the domination of the computer.

The first thing you notice about the film is just how well the visuals have stood the test of time, the intricate model of the city still looks sumptuous, even today. The costume design also means that although the film has aged a little in its looks it has not done so in a significant way.

The acting is generally good with Agutter and Ustinov taking the laurels, Agutter for her naturalist performance and Ustinov for his eccentric portrayal of the old man. Though Michael York is a good actor his accent turns Logan into a very posh boy, which is okay for the tender moments of the film, but less convincing when he tries to laugh manically, whilst chasing a runner. Likewise, Richard Jordan could have done with pulling his performance back a little as his portrayal of Francis comes over as a little more unhinged than it needed to be in the first half of the film, however when he thinks that he has been betrayed by Logan he give a wonderfully manic performance.

The one thing that lets this sprawling visual extravaganza down is the writing. Although Logan’s Run works well as a science fiction thriller, there are too many plot points which are left unexplained - not least how just shooting one computer is supposed to lead to the destruction of the whole city. Sometimes it feels like the film is little more than a collection of set pieces.

That is not to say that the set pieces are not impressive. The city is still pretty good to look at. Their meeting with Box, a man sized robot whose job it is to store food, is short but sweet - though the two best sequences are Logan and Jessica escaping the city through its bowels and Logan getting a new face, both of which still stand up today. Also, look out for Farrah Fawcett during this bit.

Overall, it is a little silly in places and most probably could have done with being edited down for a tighter, more tense, feel. But you know what, I still like this film. It’s not great science fiction, hell it’s not even a great film, but there is something about it which still dazzles the senses.

The DVD appears to have been made from a good source, as the picture is pretty good. The film comes with a 5.1 mix. The copy I received was for review so it was missing the commentary track with York, director Michael Anderson, and costume designer Bill Thomas, promotional featurette and trailer. My only gripe is that this would have made a wonderful Blu-ray disc.


Charles Packer

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