This movie was definitely guilty of all sorts of 70’s sci-fi shortcomings: cheesy, dated special effects; silly miniatures attempting to pass as a futuristic dome city; gaps in reason in important portions of the film; and outfits for women which literally left nothing to the imagination, while men’s garments were comparably normal.
Yet, for all the silliness, I actually really enjoyed this movie.
There was a level of ambition in the story they were trying to tell that I appreciated. The film is very loosely based on a novel. I assume, at the very least, the book probably goes into more detail imagining what could happen as populations continue to rise, and resources continue to dwindle. Add to that the quickly growing portion of the world’s population which is made up of young people, to the extent that a huge percentage are under the age of 30. What if said young people killed off all the people over 30 to conserve resources? It’s not exactly a premise that stacks up with the likes of brilliance such as 1984 or Fahrenheit 451. Still, at the very least Logan’s Run functions well as a guilty pleasure film, and for all its absurdity, it’s actually a fairly well made movie for pre-Star Wars 1970’s sci-fi standards.
While I poke fun at the premise, and I don’t see the world being run successfully by 20somethings anytime soon, the central message beneath the surface of the film really jives with me. While it is almost buried under all the silliness, it does shine through as the strongest part of the storytelling; that point being that an entire society can function based on a carrot that was never actually dangling from the end of our proverbial stick. False hope, combined with hedonistic comfort, can combine to get people to go along with all sorts of bullshit they should see through from a mile away. I wouldn’t show the film in a class to illustrate this point, but I still appreciated it. While the film may not have aged very well in so many ways, that point has more to say to our current society than ever.
Aside from that primary nugget, I’d probably list three things as my favorite parts of the movie. One: the hilariously crazy, sweet old man they meet in the ruins of Washington, DC. He lives with a bunch of cats and makes up poems about them. He’s awesome. Two: watching the beautiful Jenny Agutter on screen for two hours. Three: imagining Michael York’s appearances playing himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm throughout the entire film. I can’t tell if the guy’s delivery is brilliant or hilarious, but it kept me watching just the same.
The parts that invoked the most unintentional humor were: anything involving gun-play, which was absurd on every possible level; any and all explosions; and the android who was really a guy in a mask… a mask with a big hole at the mouth… through which you could see the actors lips and teeth.
This is one of those rare times where a dated film becomes the perfect storm. It’s a cocktail of just the right amounts of well executed filmmaking, unintentionally hilarious lameness, and an intelligently conceived point about culture. The result is a fun experience, and probably the lightest time I’ll spend in a post-apocalyptic dystopia during this exercise in ambitiously pointless movie watching glory.
If The Omega Man was the worst of what poorly aging sci-fi can be, Logan’s Run is the best.