Sunday, April 20, 2008

Logan's Run: 1976 - Apparently If You Shoot One Light In The Future, Entire Towns Asplode

Film Review: "Total pleasure" but for one thing: nobody gets their 30th birthday. Everybody has a life clock diamond placed in their hands and when it starts flashing red, they die by reporting to Carousal for renewal, reporting to a sleep shop, or running and getting shot by a Sandman, a sort of police force. The system is perfect: everybody is young and beautiful, there is no sadness, no want. But the system starts to unravel for Logan when he has a prostitute-ish, Jessica, come to his house and refuse to have sex with him. Then, as the title states, he runs.

The film does an okay job with the cinematography. When Ernest Laszlo is shooting in full scale, he is quite good. But the model shots are poor here - shaky camera work. For a mid-1970s sci-fi, dystopian thriller, the effects are really good and it won an Academy Award for them. However, it seems like too much focus is on those and not enough on the screen writing. The reasons for Logan's running are never stated while everything else is in the movie. Now, I appreciate letting me figure out some things, but when you spoon feed me everything but one thing, that just throws me for a loop.

Now, the movie isn't great, but it is just good enough and just quirky enough for me to be interested. Even though the "what purpose?" of Logan's running isn't answered explicitly, I think it is implicitly. The reason reviewers like NYT and Roger Ebert get frustrated trying to figure out why Logan runs is because it isn't one reason. He runs because: he is tasked to, he is scared, he's falling in love and wants to be what she wants him to be, he's curious if there is an outside, the system makes no sense and he want to prove to himself that it does, and he keeps running because there is no going back. He has no choice. He doesn't want to die. One could say those reasons are all related to curiosity, but they are not all curiosity, which I think confuses some big-time critics.

Best actor in the movie is hands down Peter Ustinov. I mean, come on, he's a crazy cat man living in the US Senate Chamber with his cats, and he pulls it off brilliantly. How good is that? The acting all around isn't bad, but it definitely isn't great. Michael York delivers some very good parts as Logan, but after the cave scene I just can't believe him. Jenny Agutter on the other hand, is best after they make it through the Love Shop. Robert Jordan is good most of the way through, but not great. The music, on the other hand, doesn’t detract from the movie but for a couple of moments.

So here we have it, the beginning of ATY's Film Week, and we're starting off strong. This is a movie most would call terrible, and in a way it is. But there are enough good points here to keep me watching. It is interesting. If you can buy it all the way through, then I think it can be pretty good. It's worth watching. Once. Maybe twice.


borukelly said...

This must be what it was like to watch an Ed Wood movie when it first came out, and then live 30 years to see it garner cult status. "Logan's Run" sucked when it came out, and it sucks now. The interesting parts aren't interesting enough to cover the suckage. You HAVE to watch this film for some other reason to enjoy it. (Example: "Head," The Monkees. Horrible film. But, interesting if you are watching to see the Monkees self-conciously destroy the Monkees.)

Collin said...

I love Logan's Run. It's one of those touchstone films from the 70s that I've always loved. Sure, it was schlock, but it's damn good schlock. Now what was really terrible was that short-lived TV series version. made the movie look like high art.