Logan’s Run (1976)

(In French, On Cable TV, January 2017) There’s a temptation, in watching old Science Fiction, to ask if it has correctly predicted the future. This completely misses the point: SF reflects the times in which it is made, and it’s never an attempt to predict the future as much as it’s a way to make sense of the present. This is not the same question as whether it has aged well, given how a film can be just as enjoyable as a period piece. In watching Logan’s Run, which was presented as a major Science-Fiction picture of its time, it’s hard to avoid thinking that movie Science Fiction has progressed a lot since then. Logan’s Run is such a … different … piece of work that it can barely be criticized according to today’s baselines. On one level, characters act like lobotomized idiots. On another, it’s hard to see where the intentional stylization ends and where the silliness begins. Watching it, it’s no wonder if most people thought that Science Fiction was dumb trash back then, because exemplar Logan’s Run is dumb trash. No wonder a lot of people hated SF at the time, one year before Star Wars. Silly costumes, social mores that make no sense, voluntarily stupid dialogue and twists that aren’t: Either our standards have dramatically increased, or the film was moronic from the get-go. (I suspect a lot of both.) Michael York and Jenny Agutter do what they can with what they’re given—watch for a short appearance by Farrah Fawcett midway through. This being said, I still think that Logan’s Run is worth a close and occasionally horrified look: The special effects are still intriguing, and the sense of pure strangeness today is to be cherished: It is a very seventies film. Watching it in French only adds to the experience by cranking up the strangeness even further.

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