For those of you unfamiliar with the film, and who are unknowingly living an emotionally stunted life in the absence of its glory, 1976’s Logan’s Run (based on the book by William F. Noland and George Clayton Johnson) is set in a dystopian future society in which people are hatched, not born, into a world of color-saturated Rayon togas and instant hedonistic and sexual gratification of all kinds. No parental drama and all the good feels, you say? Sign me up! But wait, there is a catch: when one’s palm crystal turns red (ie, you turn 30), you are forced to take your turn on the “Carousel,” where a select few are renewed, but most perish. Michael York plays Logan 5, a “sandman,” who is tasked with terminating the runners – folks freak at the prospect of death, and try to escape to Sanctuary. Through some twists and turns, Logan finds himself disillusioned, next in line for the Carousel, and on the run with Jessica (Jenny Agutter), a member of the runner resistance.
Run, runners! Run!
I love this movie to death, and have been a little wary of the idea of a remake. And now that people are attached and news is starting to leak out, I don’t what to do! I mean, the writer is known for YA? The director only has one other directorial credit? They are thinking about swapping genders of the MC? According to Ghostbusters fandom, this sounds like stuff I should get REALLY MAD ABOUT ONLINE!
I can’t believe it either!!! Let’s mad together about it!
Haha, just kidding – that would be a really dumb waste of my, and everybody else’s time! While I would much rather be seeing original content made by women and people of color than yet another remake, I’m willing to see what some new people can bring to the table. In that spirit, here are some of the things I absolutely adore about this film, along with some areas that have a some room for improvement.
LOVE LOVE LOVE
Usually the tech on Sci-Fi movies becomes completely obsolete and ridiculous within a decade, but the creators of Logan’s Run were some kind of MF visionaries who completely predicted some of our most beloved and cutting edge tech of today. “The Circuit,” the method for ordering up instant sexy times, is literally Grindr, except the people are actually beamed into your love pad before you decide whether to swipe right or left.
Also look at these cars from Logan world:
When have I seen them before? Oh yeah: JUST LAST WEEK in the video for Elon Musk’s revolutionary
metropolitan bus system Boring Transit Urban Loop:
And most significantly, “the Carousel”, which negates the need for doctors by wiping out young folks before they get old and sick, seems to have served as the model for the GOP’s “American Health Care Act” of 2017!
“Hey! Is this what they mean by ‘high risk pool’?”
In the 1970’s a film was not considered a film unless it featured an eclectic assortment of bonkers cameos (see: Muppet Movie, American Graffiti, Blues Brothers), and Logan’s Run does not disappoint. Most famously, Farrah Fawcett takes a turn as an assistant in a plastic surgery boutique (it says something that her absolutely atrocious acting fails to stand out as particularly jarring relative to the rest of the cast). Broadway actor Roscoe Lee Brown (best known as Saunders on Soap) voices Box, the ice world robot, and EGOB* achiever Peter Fucking Ustinov (Lawrence of Arabia) shows up to chew some serious scenery as a dottering, TS Eliot quoting old man.
A Smorgasbord of cliches
You know that scene in Galaxy Quest when Gwen and have to dodge through a series of deadly and completely superfluous obstacles in order to reach the core?
This movie is literally that scene made feature length.
Jess and Logan find themselves in a sinister prison sector, having to outwit a violent gang of Brady Bunch-looking motherfuckers wielding marginally dangerous-looking kitchen implements? Check.
Randomly-located giant water tank that breaks into a tidal wave that almost drowns Logan and Jessica, providing a vehicle for showcasing Jessica’s nipples through her sheer costume? Check.
A completely random and inexplicable ice world inhabited by a murderous robot that doubles as an excuse for the duo to get naked and wrap themselves in furs? Check.
All we need is a race against time with a slow-burning laser, and we get sci-fi cliche bingo!
Some people enjoy subtlety and nuance, and don’t need to be spoonfed over-arching movie themes. This movie is not for them. Logan’s Run is for folks who want their allegories hamfisted, and their metaphors dropped like anvils onto their oblivious Wile E Coyote skulls. I mean, how else can you be 100% sure of what they are getting at?
How can I know that orgy sex clubs are bad, if they are not given a cinematic treatment similar to that of horror movies? (Seriously this scene is fucking amazing. WATCH IT)
Ahhhhh! The sexytimes touching – no! NOOOOOOOOOO!
And how can I possible understand the power of truth against tyranny if the entire city doesn’t literally blow up the moment Logan reveals the truth about Sanctuary?
And most importantly, how would I ever understand the righteousness of the republic of the United States of America, if a violent sandman, who embodies the corrupt power of the dystopic society, is not literally beaten to death with an American flag? HOW, I ASK YOU?
So you can keep your subtlety, miss fancypants movie goer. Nothing beats a cinematic anvil to the head!
Ohhhhh, now I get it.
Ummmm, no thanks
That 70s Aesthetic
You know that movie people filmed in an Ikea during business hours? Logan’s bubble city is a lot like that, but filmed entirely in a complex of repurposed medical/dental suites. The citizens of Earth have apparently fled the fallout of a nuclear bomb, only to find themselves face to face with the detonation of a 50 megaton potted ficus bomb. The “bad” part of town is literally differentiated from the good by the fact that all the potted ficus are dead. I am crapping you negative. It’s an entire world structured around bland, plastic vegetation. I’m surprised people aren’t storming the Carousel just to escape a life of aesthetic torture!
That ficus ate Seamus 4! Kill it!
Something seems to be missing . . .
After having watched this movie many times, I can say with an amount of certainty that there are zero people of color in this film. While I’m sure that is just 1970’s Hollywood whiteness in action (which in and of itself is sinister), it plays even more sinister in the context of the movie. Like, what did you all do with them? Leave them to build their own city? Force everyone of color all to get plastic surgery so they too will have virtually poreless, white skin (it’s weirdly poreless. look at it)? Huh? I, however, am developing an alternate theory, in which folks of color staged the whole war and destruction thing, encouraged all the white people to contain themselves in bubble cities, and are currently living large above-ground and Wakanda-style in sunny Cali. I’m gonna to need Ryan Coogler to make this movie next, please!
Old people ain’t all that
As noted, Logan’s Run is not subtle in it’s propaganda game. It sings the virtues of the nuclear family and good ole fashioned low-tech democracy. It’s also clearly an antidote to the “don’t trust anyone over 30” ethos of the 1960s, It pretty much screams: “Look kids! The olds aren’t so bad. Sure, they have cracks in their faces, but they just love the kitty kats, and don’t they just say the damndest things?!”
Old people, amirite?!
As much as I rail against our cult of youth, the problem with the “old benign person” schtick is that the olds do kind of suck. I’m well on the other side of 30, and have observed that as soon as we get our taste of power, wealth, and authority we will do anything hold on to it. We ruin the Earth, brutalize the poor, and, yes, eat our young just so we can keep our toe hold in the status quo.
Millennials and GenZ are perceived as vapid social media butterflies, somewhat like the “me” generation of the 70s. But in the wake of BLM, Parkland, and DACA activism spearheaded by young people against a craggy-faced, perilously over-jowled power structure, there is some potent zeitgeist to mine for a new and, potentially, very different movie.
In conclusion, here’s my recipe for the new Logan’s Run: keep the cheese, hire a bunch more people of color, and please still cast Ryan Gosling because I like him. And also keep this moment, because it is the best:
What’s your favorite/least favorite remake? How many times have you watched Logan’s Run? Did you want Farrah’s hair? Do you hate outside too?
*Emmy Grammy Oscar Bafta