Logan’s Run takes place sometime in the 23rd century in a city under a glass dome. Back in the earlier centuries overpopulation brought about wars and ensuing ecological disasters. Once these were over the remaining survivors built the city and regulated their life inside the dome.
Review by SAndman
July 8, 2009
Director: Michael Anderson
novels: William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson; T.S. Eliot
screenplay: David Zelag Goodman
Michael York as Logan 5
Richard Jordan as Francis 7
Jenny Agutter as Jessica 6
Farrah Fawcett as Holly
Peter Ustinov as Old Man
Roscoe Lee Browne as Box
Francis 7: That Reds gonna run, I can always tell.
First and foremost, the citizens in Logan’s Run conduct a strict policy of population control. Upon birth, every citizen is given a life clock in the form of a colored crystal. Depending on the color your life clock showed you could see how much time you have left. Once a man reaches 30 his life clock turns black and the man has to die.
Despite the rigorous population policy, the life inside the dome doesn’t seem dreary and oppressive, at least not straightaway. At first glance, it looks quite relaxed and comfortable. It is fully automated and labor as well as disease-free.
On the flip side, there are apparently no families inside the city. Babies are cloned and grown inside their seed-mothers, and when born they are incubated and life clock is grafted onto their hands.
Another notable thing in Logan’s Run is the people’s reliance on technology, which is paramount and takes almost religious overtones.
On the one hand, technology is a bliss as it takes care of all the chores, on the other hand, it oversees practically everything that goes on inside the city and people seem to be relegated to interface-like status as they are confined to carrying out orders issued by the central computer without being allowed to question their validity.
Only one problem has remained – aging. Regardless of all the comforts and pleasures, the life inside the dome has to offer, men still have to grow old and die. So when a citizen reaches the age of 30 he or she has to undergo the ritual called Carousel.
Basically the participants stand in a circle and offer themselves to be renewed. Then they float up into the air and a laser gun blasts them to smithereens. They believe that if a man dies in this way he is will be reborn.
There are also some who refuse the Carousel. Instead they attempt to escape the city. They are labeled as misfits and are ruthlessly persecuted. The special kind of police force is charged with tracking down these “runners” and terminating them – they are called Sandmen. This is a story about one of them.
At the beginning of Logan’ Run, the main character Logan, or Logan 5, starts his daily sweep in which he and his buddy Francis thwart a runner’s attempt to flee the city. Logan picks up the runner’s effects and shortly parts ways with Francis. He returns to his apartment and eager for some fun calls up the first available girl on the circuit.
The girl, named Jessica 6, shows up but refuses to have sex with him explaining she’s had a change of heart. Logan is only mildly displeased and soon finds another amusement as Francis comes along accompanied by two girls.
The following day Logan goes to the Sandmen headquarters and is questioned by the computer. In the process, he is informed that the strange symbol he took from the lead runner and the identical object which Jessica wore around her neck are mysteriously connected. Moreover, they both point to a place the computer calls Sanctuary.
The computer explains to Logan that there are runners who are unaccounted for. It surmises that they have fled the city and taken refuge in Sanctuary. It orders Logan to find Sanctuary, that is, in effect, to become a runner himself, and, to make his run more convincing, it promptly takes away Logan’s remaining years.
With only one day left Logan begins his run from the city. His only hope is to find Sanctuary before his time runs out. Along the way, he meets Jessica again and does a lot of unexpected things until it is not clear anymore whether he is faking it, or running for real.
Logan’s Run is a dystopian tale that tackles a topic as old as science fiction – that of a perfect society.
Though at times Logan’s Run comes across as a tad fluffy, for example, we never get to learn what is the origin of the name Sandman, and occasionally the props and settings look downright dated, the plot is still engrossing and casting is flawless.
Michael York is convincing in all of Logan’s moods and transformations. Richard Jordan is creepily believable as a driven lawman, and slighted friend with some darker subliminal overtones.
Peter Ustinov is an absolute show-stealer the moment he pops up. Jenny Agutter may never win her place in the heroines who’s who list with Jessica 6, but her character provides the necessary finer shadings to Logan’s bluntness which occasionally verges on egotism.
Okay, you might have to make a mental effort to look behind flowing costumes and toy-like guns, or bubble cars, but the theme and the plot of Logan’s Run are as fresh today as ever.