Archive for July, 2006

Utopia Schmutopia: Logan’s Run

July 13, 2006

Tonight at the Marquee: Logan’s Run
Guilty Parties: Michael York (aka Basil Exposition) and Jenny Agutter (An American Werewolf in London‘s sexy nurse). Oh yes, and this:

Your first impression is correct: the hell?

Brought forth from the bowels of: 1976

Hit me with your best plot: Logan’s a cop in a futuristic, walled utopia of gamine youths clothed in flowing caftans, where life is an endless pursuit of happiness, sloth, and mad booty. BUT! When you hit 30, you are required to participate in a public ceremony creepily referred to as Carousel and best described as Cirque de Soliel on a Nyquil highball. As if gyrating mid-air in skull-head masks and white spandex isn’t embarassing enough, at the end of this ceremony, your body runs into a human-sized bug zapper and you die. (Excuse me, the polite term is “renew”.) It’s never actually explained why you have to die at 30 in Logan’s world, but I’m guessing it’s because the mysterious founders of this society couldn’t bear to see what the ravages of time had in store for this man:
I don’t have the heart to post the ‘after’ picture.

Long story short, Logan is given an assignment to infiltrate a group of Carousel resisters and destroy Sanctuary, a city outside the pleasure dome where you don’t have to die just because you no longer want to get totally wasted every night of the week, man. He embarks on an undercover “run” with Ms. Agutter, who thinks she’s helping him escape. Running, fleeing, pursuit,and booty ensue.

This movie isn’t bad.

It’s probably lame of me to start my supposed CSI: Rotten Movies blog with a movie that I can’t quantify as truly godawful, though don’t worry; it’s not exactly good either. On the surface, Logan’s Run is a bitchin’ ode to 70s science fiction, chock full of hexagons, portentiously blinking Christmas lights, and breasts. But, if I may be so bold, there’s much to be learned from this ’76 cult flick about what stinks in big studio Hollywood 30 years later.

If you see this man, please–ask him to bathe.

Because people want to remake this movie. Bryan Singer cooked up a story before moving on to his poetic ode to the lens flare (Superman Returns, obvies) and James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) is supposedly attached to direct. And after watching Logan’s Run for the first time, long having been intrigued by its premise and cult status, I can totally see why: all this flick needs is a spit and polish, some spiffy CGI, a few script holes plastered over (again–why do these people think they have to ‘renew’ at 30? Do they understand the concept of resource conservation in closed societies?), and it’s a tailor-made satire of Americawood’s deification of youth, cleverly disguised as a summer blockbuster.

Think of the possibilites! A movie entirely populated by pretty young people who wear gauze and constantly fornicate! And then–persecution! A chase movie! We can show some destroyed but recognizable ruins of our very own society, and God knows the people love recognizing things on screen! Get me Orlando Bloom and Jessica Alba, wrap ’em in Saran, we’ll land a budget larger than God!

No, people. No no no no no no no. Logan’s Run is not a movie that works, exactly, but it’s a movie that you can see trying to work, trying to get from point A to point B, instead of a lump of a movie willed into existence by an insane amount of coin–not unlike Logan’s pretty, vapid, unspoiled cattle that happily fling themselves into oblivion because the state tells them to. When did Hollywood stop making popular “event” movies about trying to wake people up, and start aggressively pursuing the polar opposite? (Vendetta notwithstanding–but I don’t think it’s exactly the start of a trend.) You’d think the backlash to the optimism of 70s Sci Fi would be cynicism a la Brazil, but now the popular movie masses are stuffed to the gills with opiates: loud, shiny, entertaining, and disposable. The hypocrisy of making an empty, pretty movie that basically says don’t be empty and pretty! is so pungent you get a contact high just thinking about it.

Because I fear a big-studio remake of Logan’s Run would entail blowing beaucoup bucks on the first two of my three suggestions and, if not completely ignoring the threadbare spots in the script, not exploring what makes the story worth remaking in the first place. We’d have a shinier, prettier, more entertaining, and probably stupider Logan–and it doesn’t get much stupider than this dude waving his arms and shouting, “YOU DON’T HAVE TO DIE!! YOU CAN LIIIIIIVE!”

“Seriously, guys! Look over here! I’ve got big news!”

Logan’s Run had a budget of $9 million (for perspective, the original Star Wars’ budget was $13 million and Supes is rumored around $300 million). Today, Logan looks like a bunch of geeks got together in their mom’s basement and shot the entire movie by moving the furniture around and occasionally waving a prism in front of the camera lens. But it sparked a cult following. People remember it. People want to remake it.

In 30 years, nobody will remake Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. And if they do, the sky will fall, the mountains will tumble, the zombie of Andy Warhol will rise from the grave to feast on the barely-living flesh of Bruckheimer, and we’ll all go live in a pleasure dome and never have to worry about crow’s feet. We’re halfway there already.

Check it, dude. They’re already lining up for Pirates 3.