What is most interesting about Logan’s Run is what the audience doesn’t know. It is never clear what happened to humanity that forced them to live inside giant bubbles, shielding them from the supposed disaster outside. No one seems to know who created the rule that everyone must be “renewed” at age 30, and “renewed” only because the word “kill” is foreign.
Babies are born, but the concept of pregnancy is lost. Sex is freely discussed, with “love clubs” providing an avenue for adults, but love is non-existent. People who choose not to be renewed are gunned down by runners, a police force tasked only with population control.
Very little is questioned in this society, and it makes you wonder what life was like just before this film took place. Who implemented the 30-year limit on life? How do you create propaganda telling people they are not allowed to live? These questions don’t actually need answers, but a gaping plot hole does.
Logan (Michael York) is tasked with infiltrating a rouge group of runners who have avoided capture. The cities central artificial intelligence tasks him with going undercover, but Logan fails to tell anyone, including his superiors. Logan is chased by his former partner Francis (Richard Jordan) throughout the city and even outside the domes, without ever stating he is undercover. While obviously meant to be secretive, none of the runners believe his intentions, and even when under direct fire from his friend, he fails to speak up.
It is an issue with an otherwise solid sci-fi foundation, one will filled with Oscar winning miniature effects that would be outdated only one year later, but still provide enjoyable visuals. The city itself is sterile and bland, filled with a populace wearing ridiculous clothing (signifying what stage of life they are in), but happy and looking forward to their own renewal.
Logan’s Run wondrous third act is the show stealer though, as Logan and his love interest Jessica (Jenny Agutter) meet a nameless old man (Peter Ustinov) in the midst of a destroyed Washington D.C. All of the culture is lost, the aging fellow unaware he lives inside the Capitol Building, and Logan’s quest for answers are bewildering as he learns of true humanity. Ustinov is superb, a quirky, lively character who flinches at the thought of human contact, but loves it just the same.
It is important to Logan’s Run, as Ustinov salvages the film after a disastrous and confusing confrontation with a robot, quite possibly one of the worst visual effects ever committed to film (a far cry from the pleasant, colorful matte paintings and miniatures). The robot freezes people, apparently due to a lack of food, although who programmed the ‘bot and what it is supposed to do with those people is never particularly clear. Such is the case with Logan’s Quest, offering plenty of problems and few solutions, but providing a fun, colorful sci-fi romp… despite the plastic robot with a person clearly inside of it.
Warner delivers a wonderfully clean VC-1 encode for Logan’s Run hi-def debut. The multiple shades of clothing for the cities inhabitants are fantastically vibrant and saturated. The lush greens of the rotting Washington are nicely presented as well.
Fine detail is at a premium, and definition somewhat lackluster, but the sharpness is generally firm. The grain is maintained cleanly without deteriorating into a blocky mess, and contrast is quite bright. Black levels can lead to some minor crush, but otherwise establish an acceptable level of depth. Source damage is minor, and at times barely noticeable. This either a fine restoration or well maintained print.
This TrueHD mix loves positional dialogue to spread the front channels, creating a spacious environment for this Blu-ray premiere. Notably, a conversation between Logan and Jessica around 17-minute mark is exceptional. The characters split to each side of the screen, and their dialogue is captured in the specific speaker.
The very ‘70s electronic score bleeds into the rears extensively, particularly a simple cue that is typically associated with the miniature city. Even the subwoofer is caught a little bit in the music mix, even if it remains flat for action scenes. Dialogue suffers more from the recording than this mix, seemingly captured almost entirely on set which leads to a lack of crispness. No original mono audio track is offered.
Extras here are sadly lackluster, beginning with a commentary from Director Michael Anderson, star Michael York, and costume designer Bill Thomas, the latter of whom has quite a bit to answer for. A vintage featurette used to promote the film, A Look into the 23rd Century runs for a little over nine minutes. A trailer remains.