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LOGAN'S RUN

I still remember going to see LOGAN'S RUN in the theater in 1976 and enjoying it immensely. Of course, the bad thing about science fiction movies set in the future is how every generation's preconceived notions about the future tend to date the look of those films. Ever watch a Buck Roger adventure from the thirties and cringe at the sets and costumes? Well, the same fate has befallen LOGAN'S RUN ($29). This isn't to say that LOGAN'S RUN is a bad science fiction film, or that it has terrible production values. On the contrary, LOGAN'S RUN won an Academy Award for Special Effects and sported a terrific production design for a film made in 1976. The problem is that the film's view of the future is hopelessly stuck in 1976. One has to wonder if the proposed remake of LOGAN'S RUN will suffer the same fate, or will digital effects be the saving grace that prevents that film from becoming dated… even when it reaches beyond its thirtieth anniversary.

LOGAN'S RUN is the story of a future utopia, where people can have anything and everything they want with only on catch… no one lives past the age of thirty. In this society, people about to turn thirty are "renewed" (born again) in a process known as carrousel. Those who do not elect to go to carrousel become what are know as runners... with said runners fleeing for their very lives. Michael York stars as Logan, a black clad Sandman, whose job it is to hunt down and terminate all runners. Logan has always been a dutiful Sandman, however he does have his own personal doubts about carrosel and the supposed process of renewal. Things take an unexpected turn for Logan when the city's central computer gives him an undercover assignment. The computer instructs Logan to go in search of all the unaccounted runners who have disappeared from the city, and to find a place known only as sanctuary. Unfortunately, Logan has no choice but to carry out the assignment, as the central computer alters his apparent age, thus turning him into an unwilling runner. The cast of LOGAN'S RUN also includes Jenny Agutter as Jessica, the young woman who helps Logan run from other Sandmen. Richard Jordan plays Francis, Logan's best friend and fellow Sandman who becomes obsessed with capturing/killing him. Peter Ustinov portrays the "Old Man" that Logan and Jessica encounter in the world outside their enclosed city. Look for Roscoe Lee Browne as the enigmatic Box and Farrah Fawcett-Majors as Holly.

Warner Home Video has made LOGAN'S RUN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. For the most part, I would have to say that I was very pleased by the 1080p presentation of LOGAN'S RUN. Of course, this doesn’t mean that LOGAN'S RUN is the best-looking film to be released on the high definition format. Much of the film comes across as mildly soft, as if diffusion lenses where employed for the shoot. Also, shots with opticals special effects tend to appear slightly less resolved than those without. There appears to be some mild application of DNR, but I can’t say it is excessive, as the actor’s skin doesn’t take on a waxy appearance, fine detail and texturing are present and grain remains visible within the image. Colors are fairly well saturated, for seventies era color, that is. Hues are slightly garish because it was the seventies… and that’s just the way it was. Flesh tones are fairly natural, but lighting seems to be a factor in accurate reproduction. Blacks are deep and the whites are crisp. Contrast is generally smooth. Shadow detail is more than adequate. The elements from which LOGAN'S RUN has been transferred appear relatively free from blemishes. Despite the nitpicks, watching LOGAN'S RUN on Blu-ray remains a pleasurable visual experience.

LOGAN'S RUN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Despite some issues with the convincingness of some of the sound effects, LOGAN'S RUN sounds better than ever. Jerry Goldsmith's impressive score, as well as the film's electronic sound effects, have been well spread throughout the soundstage and the track engages the viewer quite nicely. Sure, it is not modern soundtrack, but it still works nicely. The lossless encode certainly makes the most of these vintage recordings, but there is no denying the seventies caliber sound production technique that was employed. Dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. A Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is also present on this release, as are English, French and German monaural tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras, which have been ported from the earlier DVD release. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Michael Anderson, star Michael York and costume designer Bill Thomas. Fans of the film are certain to enjoy the talk that features a lot of choice tidbits about the production. A nine-minute vintage Featurette entitled Living In The 23rd Century is also included.

Despite the dated qualities of the production design, LOGAN'S RUN remains a favorite. The Blu-ray presentation of this thirty plus year old film is pleasing. Recommended to fans.

 

LOGAN'S RUN 


Logan's Run [Blu-ray] (1976)

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DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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