Movies That Suck is a feature where I watch a bad movie and share my reactions to it in real time. Sort of like live tweeting without the tweeting. I watch it so you don't have to. And honestly- that's kinda the point, because you probably won't want to watch these anyway? But... sometimes we find a gem in the rough. Some of these don't actually suck, or they might suck but still have some redeeming value. And by definition this will be spoilery since I'm pretty much reacting to everything, so just a heads up there. Okay let's take a look.
This week is Logan's Run. I'm gonna be upfront, I actually like this movie. I mean it's silly as all get out in some ways (70's aesthetic, for starters) but I love the idea, and the particular take on this dystopian future. Plus it's far in the future, which is always a favorite of mine. There's plenty of suckage though, don't get me wrong, and we'll get to it all, trust me. So without further ado, let's watch Logan's Run.
Sometime in the 23rd century...the survivors of war, overpopulation and pollution are living in a great domed city, sealed away from the forgotten world outside. Here, in an ecologically balanced world, mankind lives only for pleasure, freed by the servo- mechanisms which provide everything.
There's just one catch: Life must end at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of carrousel.
So there's your plot, folks. How much you wanna bet some rebellious souls are gonna say no thanks to the euthanasia at thirty thing? You'd be right. Logan 5 is a Sandman, a sort of police officer who terminates Runners- those brave souls who try to flee the city for a place called Sanctuary, where presumably one can continue living past thirty. He's an asshole just like the rest of the Sandmen- I mean, at one point he and his friend (and fellow Sandman) Francis are chasing down a Runner and they're having a good time, taunting and toying with the poor guy, until he falls to his doom. So initially Logan is not a nice guy.
The fun begins when the city computer gives Logan a mission- -to go outside the city, find Sanctuary and destroy it. And to ensure his cooperation, the computer turns him Last Day- meaning he is now thirty and has to submit to Carousel. So he's committed, in the hope that the computer will give him back the four years he still had. Yeah, somehow I'm thinking don't hold your breath pal. By the way everything is ridiculous looking- again, there's a 70's retro future vibe going on here, and the shots of the city are so obviously fake it's almost painful. But at the same time, it's kinda cool for the imaginative scope. It looks a lot like Disney World, to be honest, with monorails going everywhere and buildings that look rather like Disney's Contemporary resort.
Right off the bat though we get a sense that Logan's not a total asshole? The movie starts with him at the Nursery, looking at his newborn baby through a glass (he can't hold it or anything, babies are apparently raised by the computer or something when they're born- no one knows who their parents are). Francis shows up (and let's be clear, Francis is a complete asshole and makes that abundantly clear at every chance. He's like what the fuck, why are you hanging around babies, let's go party and kill Runners. They seem pretty different. And sure enough it's Carousel time that very evening, and during the ceremony a Runner is detected. Logan goes after him, Francis joins the fun, and soon you have a dead Runner.
Okay- Carousel. This thing is weird- everyone who's turned thirty has to come here in white robes, and they're wearing these freaky masks, and once it starts they float up into the air and get blown up, basically. The crowd goes wild, screaming at them to renew - to be reborn, I guess- but frankly I don't see anyone renewing. These people are not smart. Logan is questioning things a bit and Francis is all like what? Why are you thinking? Francis is A-okay with everything. Oh, and everyone in this city wears green or red.
If you watch the Carousel sequence and think- who dreamt this shit up- you wouldn't be alone. Weird. Oh, and when Logan calls for clean-up (the dead Runner) these guys on hover vehicles come and spray a mist on the body, and it liquefies into the ground. Pretty gross. There's a lot of little fucked up things like that in this film. Anyway the next we see Logan he's chilling at home and wants to have sex, so he summons a partner- Jessica 6, played by Jenny Agutter (apparently adored by fanboys everywhere exactly because of this film- seriously, this is a thing). I can sorta see why- she has nothing on under that flimsy little green whatever she's wearing.
Logan's ready to go but Jessica has changed her mind- she says she put herself on the Circuit because she was sad, but it was a mistake- and tries to leave, but Logan wants her to stay. This is a totally hedonistic society, after all, and apparently people just couple with whoever they want, whenever- there is no concept of marriage.
Logan's robe, though. Anyway when she balks he asks "do you prefer women?". I imagine in the 70's this was meant to be edgy. Turns out Jessica is sad because she lost a Runner friend. Logan, charming as always, is like
But again she says no and he's like why are you wasting my time then? She then asks
"Why is it wrong to run?"
He tells her she shouldn't be thinking such thoughts- he sounds like Francis now- but you know he's had doubts too. And this is all before the computer gives him his mission to find Sanctuary. Logan's still getting there. Also Jessica wears an ankh and the ankh is associated with Sanctuary, so Logan knows she may be a sympathizer for Runners. The kicker is, when he gets his mission the computer indicates that there are 1,056 unaccounted for Runners, and Logan's like no way- we kill them all. Or they renew, right? The computer is rather ominously quiet when Logan presses it on whether anyone has ever renewed?
Logan asks Jessica for help contacting the Runner network, but her friends don't trust him and want to kill him. Jessica, conflicted, goes with Logan to Cathedral- a slum, basically- to apprehend a Runner, but Logan lets the Runner go. Oh-oh, Francis sees him do it though and kills the Runner himself. Francis is not nice. Logan is basically a Runner now, though, thanks to the city computer, and is soon on the run with Jessica. After we have a frankly weird scene in a New You shop, a place where people can go get a new face or a total body do-over. They use lasers to rearrange your features and a quick healing mist, or something, and the assistant at New You is none other than Farrah Fawcett of 70's fame. New You goes all wrong, though, as they're Runner sympathizers there and someone calls and tells them to kill Logan.
That doesn't happen and now we get to the most lurid scene of the movie! Jessica, feeling that Logan is legitimate, finally takes the lead in helping him escape and they take a shortcut through the Love Shop. Cue some truly bizarre music and gas that makes you...amorous, we'll say...and nude people clutching and grabbing at Logan and Jessica, trying to drag them into their orgies. Somehow they fight their way out and now they're in the tunnels and byways below the city, or behind the scenes, like at Disney or something. Francis, dogged as ever, follows and harries them the whole way.
When they reach the Runner underground Logan surreptitiously activates his tracker. He's still a Sandman, after all. The underground are not friendly but Farrah shows up and validates them, after some prompting from Jess. Unfortunately the Sandmen arrive and wreck the place, and Logan and Jessica are on the run again, with Francis in pursuit. At this point Jessica tells Logan she wants to be with him, and accompany him, and Logan is still secretly trying to complete his mission. A lot of movies would play that up- when exactly does he come clean- and honestly, he never really does. They just sort of become a couple and fall in love, but he never really (at least onscreen) tells her it was all a lie initially. We're getting ahead though.
In his defense he does shoot a Sandman to help them escape, so maybe he's already really a Runner? They run through some awesome pipe tunnels and end up in a waste disposal plant (not sure what it's supposed to be, but Amazon tells me it was filmed at a waste plant) and Francis is not far behind. Rather unforgiving, that one. They end up in some frozen caverns (what the fuck, really?) and find all the unaccounted for Runners- they've been frozen solid as "food storage" by a robot named Box. Box is apeshit and tries to freeze them too, but they escape and... they're out! They emerge from the caverns and see their first sunrise. They've never seen the sun before.
The whole Box thing is weird as fuck. Apparently his programming went haywire and when the food from the sea (plankton and whatnot) stopped arriving for storage, it assumed the Runners were food.
"The other food stopped coming, and they started."
So much for Sanctuary. No one made it.
Also nude shot of Jenny Agutter as they doff their wet clothes and don furs to warm up. I love how Michael York only takes his shirt off but Jenny has to go full nude. Anyway their life clocks don't work outside so they're free! No more counting down to thirty. Jessica's not sure she liked the outside though.
They go swimming (nude) and in a moment that calls back to their initial meeting, she asks if it's up to her whether they sleep together. He answers yes of course and her reply is
"This time, the answer's yes."
So yeah they're together. And Logan still has not fessed up to his initial deception! Never does, either.
Next up... the Washington Monument. Yes, they are in the Capitol and wading through waist deep water on the National Mall. Everything's overgrown and post apocalyptic, but no people in sight. They finally meet the Old Man (played by Peter Ustinov) in the Capitol building, where he lives with a bunch of cats. They've never seen cats. I have to admit, I'm kinda curious about this development- there apparently is no Sanctuary, just ruins. Are Logan and Jess truly the only ones to ever make it out?
Francis shows up, like a bad penny, and they fight. Poor cat about gets trampled as they flip over a desk. Francis is toast- finally- after Logan beats him down with a flagpole. That was pretty cool. They're now truly free- but Logan wants to go back and tell the people the truth. Jessica's like fuck that, we just got out. Legit. But back they go because Logan has morals now. Old Man goes with, and when Logan is of course captured and interrogated, the computer malfunctions because his answers don't compute. So let me get this straight- this computer runs everything, for thousands of people in an immense domed city, but it can't handle Logan telling it there's no Sanctuary, and that the unaccounted for Runners were frozen? What a crock.
Not only that but the whole city starts blowing up. Really? So the ending is a little lame, although the scene at the end where the people come out and see the Old Man- the first old person they've ever seen- is pretty good.
So does this movie suck? Well, it is dated, and visually it's bonkers (although at times it's kinda cool too). It's mixed, really, but the premise is awesome and honestly... I like it? I actually wrote a review for this movie a while back (you can read that here) and in addition to it being shorter, I still agree with everything I wrote then. But I had a blast rewatching and this might be *gasp* one of my favorite retro science fiction films, honestly.