Saturday, 14 November 2015

Review: Logan's Run

I can't believe I haven't seen…

Logan's Run Poster

Logan's Run (1976)
Cert: 12 / 118 mins / Dir. Michael Anderson / Trailer
WoB Rating: 4/7

Wow. Just, wow. This is what you show to students to give them an appreciation of all those the behind-the-scenes staff, the ones who make the magic of film come to life…

As shonky, simplistic and heavy handed as the screenplay is; as thoroughly wooden the script, both in its writing and delivery; as much as you'd swear blind that the sets for the Death Star trash compactor and Echo Base had been up-cycled after shooting wrapped here… you just have to admire the restraint of a camera-crew who didn't kill the Production Designer that insisted on having a mobile bad guy made out of mirrors.

The casting director who thought the 33yr old Michael York could pass for 26yr old Logan needs to take a long hard look in one of those mirrors, and because Jenny Agutter's hair becomes instantly soaking wet and slicked back (Michael York's doesn't follow suit, neither do their outfits) in the escape-scene before the water gushes into their chamber, the continuity editor can sit in the naughty-corner, as well.

And let's not forget the two separate vocal coaches working alternate days to ensure that both Agutter and York switch between Queen's English and Transatlantic Drawl with alarming regularity.

Okay, dystopian sci-fi flick Logan's Run is by no means awful, but is certainly Of Its Time™ and there's plenty to take the piss out of, even if the central themes of societal collapse, obsolescence and free-will are timeless and continue to be the backbone of many a modern story*1. As showy as the film tries to be, the result is that it looks consistently cheap - a common pitfall when painting an outré, minimalist future. Of course, that's easy to say in retrospect; if the last fifty years have taught us anything it's that culturally, humanity's future will likely be horrifyingly bland, rather than quirkily outlandish (although it's good to know that in 300 years' time, escalators will look exactly as they did in 1975 shopping malls; so there shouldn't be any problem in getting spare parts).

This vision of the future is not so much a museum piece, more of a curiosity in an antique-shop window. Perhaps ironically, given the subject matter, Logan's Run has not aged well at all…

Have you really never seen this before?
Really, it just never crossed my path.

So are you glad you've finally have?
I am, yes.

And would you recommend it, now?
From a historical/educational point of view, sure.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There are many like it, but I didn't hear the exact one.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
The film stars the voice of Dr Nuvo Vindi himself, Michael York.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 And the irony is duly noted that I criticise movies like Divergent and The Hunger Games for being a direct retooling of vintage dystopian cinema, then apply harsher judgement to those forebears themselves. Credit where it's due, the white uniforms of 'The Capitol' guards don't seem quite as naive after watching a city full of people waltzing around in green and red chiffon…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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