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“Logan's Run”-{Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Taylor Carlson
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre:
Science Fiction
Release Date:
11/10/09
Special Features:

Vintage featurette, commentary

Review:

Logan's Run is directed by Michael Anderson. The film stars Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Farrah Fawcett, Roscoe Lee Browne and Peter Ustinov. It is based on the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. ***

In the distant future, humanity lives in a domed city, closed off from the outside world. People have access to everything they could ever want and every form of pleasure. There's just one catch - life ends at age 30, unless reborn in a fiery ritual. Logan is a Sandman - one in a specialized line of officers whose duty it is to stop anyone who tries to escape the city. But when Logan begins to question the rebirth rituals and a computer error marks him at the age of death, he must become a runner himself. Teaming up with a young girl he recently met, Logan attempts to leave the city in search of a fabled “sanctuary.” But what lies beyond the enclosed structure humanity has been housed in for centuries? And does the sanctuary actually exist? ***

Logan's Run is one of those movies you can file under “dated as hell but is still fun to watch.” It's the science fiction movie that was eclipsed by the sci-fi revival of the late 70s - a movement that included films such as Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Alien. Looking back, though, there's a reason those films are far more popular and revered. ***

Given its nature as what is essentially a big-budget B-movie, Logan's Run has a pretty talented and diverse cast. Michael York (these days probably best known as Basil from the Austin Powers movies) is terrific as the title character - a killer of runners who ends up becoming a runner himself. He gives a great performance here and definitely rises above cheesy, campy source material. Jenny Agutter does well as his friend whose actions persuade Logan to choose his course of action - it's a shame this girl never became a more popular actress! Other good bit parts include Roscoe Lee Browne as a robotic sentry, the late Farrah Fawcett in a brief-but-memorable role as a plastic surgeon's assistant and Peter Ustinov (probably best known for his part in Spartacus) as a character known simply as “the old man.” ***

Logan's Run is a fun film, though most of the complaints pointed at the film are valid. It's dated and cheesy as hell - most of the special effects are obvious and show their age, Jerry Goldsmith's synth-heavy electronic score (while good) shows its age throughout and the film itself feels like a hodgepodge of ideas from better science fiction films exploring similar themes, namely THX 1138 and Planet of the Apes. The biggest flaw, however, is the film's length. While there are some exciting moments, the film as a whole putts along at a snail's pace. At 2 hours it's FAR too long - at least 20 minutes could have been cut. Likewise, the ending feels rushes and like an afterthought. Still, it's hard not to recommend it on the basis of good, cheesy 70s sci-fi fun. ---

Image And Sound:

The Blu-Ray version of Logan's Run is better than previous home video versions, but still leaves a lot to be desired. Dirt and print damage galore can be seen, and they really tend to spike in special effects scenes. It's a soft picture throughout and lacks detail. Still, colors and clarity are an improvement over the DVD. Audio holds up better - this was the first film made using Dolby Stereo, and it sounds pretty good in this lossless mix. This is not a great Blu-Ray transfer, but short of a full-blown restoration, it's the best it's going to look in the immediate future. Is it worth upgrading your old DVD, if you already own the movie? I have to say no.

Special Features:

Disappointingly minimal. All we get are a commentary and a vintage featurette. The original theatrical trailer is included, but I don't really count that as an extra. Other editions had more special features - why couldn't we get all those on the Blu?

Final Words:

Logan's Run is horribly dated, but still a fun retro sci-fi experience. However, given its datedness an the lackluster Blu-Ray presentation, I'm going to have to file it under “rent before you by” for all but the biggest fans of the film.

 

 
 
 
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