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Film: Logan's Run
Run, Runner!

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.

Logan's Run is a movie based on a novel of the same name by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, depicting a future where everyone is young and healthy, no-one needs to work, and people look forward to the chance for "renewal" (presumably some sort of rebirth or reincarnation) in the "Carrousel" at the age of 30, a privilege given to those who have obeyed the rules faithfully. However, there is a darker side to this apparent utopia: no-one has ever survived Carrousel. Resource management and population control are simply maintained by mandating the death of everyone who reaches the age of 30.

Logan 5 is a 26-year-old Sandman whose job it is to hunt down and kill "Runners" — those who reach 30 but don't report for Carrousel. When he learns that the Runners are trying to reach a place called Sanctuary outside the domed city, he is assigned to find this place and destroy it. In order to do this, he will masquerade as a Runner. His life-clock is adjusted accordingly — with no assurance that he'll get his 4 lost years back — and he finds himself pursued by his fellow Sandmen as he searches for the truth behind Sanctuary.

While the movie was successful for it's time, and is often mentioned in the same breath as other classic, dystopian, late-60's to pre-Star Wars sci-fi films like Planet Of The Apes, Solylent Green, and Silent Running, it bears very little resemblance to its source material.

Multiple attempts to remake the film (and to adapt it more closely to the novel) from notable directors like Bryan Singer (X-Men) and Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), have all been unsuccessful. Recently, Warner Bros. hired Bioshock lead designer Ken Levine to write the script for yet another try at a remake.


Logan's Run provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The guns seem to shoot pellets that explode.
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the film, the life-clocks count to 30, while in the novels, the life-clocks expire at age 21. Considering the need for MGM (in 1976) to adapt a very dystopian and sexually-themed (revolving around characters barely of legal age) sci-fi novel into a PG-rated sci-fi thriller, this was obviously a necessary change.
  • Aesoptinium: The city and Carrousel.
  • After the End: The world outside the domed City is all ruins, including an overgrown Washington, D.C. But inhabitable, and unpolluted... showing that whatever disaster occurred that the dome city and population controls were designed to protect people against is now moot.
  • Ancient Keeper: Box
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The public areas of the dome city. Logan's private quarters are decorated in dark tones, rather than white and light colors but still maintain the clean uncluttered appearance of the Ascetic Aesthetic.
  • Assimilation Backfire: The computer was trying to drain his memories or something to find the hidden lair of the resistance groups. Instead, not only was there no "resistance", but the experiences outside the dome actually overloaded the system (c'mon it was a a rather short movie, they didn't spend that long outside).
    • It didn't overload because it tried to absorb too much information, it overloaded because it couldn't accept the information, as it contradicted what it thought was fact.
  • Brainless Beauty: Holly 13 (Farrah Fawcett) can't remember events that happened just minutes ago even if said events were something as traumatic as seeing your doctor get sliced up by surgical lasers.
  • Bread and Circuses
  • Children Are a Waste: This seems to be the prevailing mindset. Most people live carefree lives and don't bother with child rearing. Their "Utopia" has no family units, children are put in state homes by their "seed mother" and raised en masse. Francis notes most men don't bother to hang out at the nursery to meet their children, and Logan (who is doing just that) makes the point that he's not so deviant he's interested in meeting the mother.
  • Christmas Cake: Largely a non-issue, since no-one lives past thirty. No-one gets married, either. Until Logan and Jessica make it ouside of the city and see gravestones talking about husbands and wives.
  • City in a Bottle
  • Collapsing Lair: Logan shoots a support beam in the ceiling of Box's cave, and the whole cavern comes crashing down. At the end, the entire domed city complex collapses because Logan, uh, shot the computer in the eye, therefore making the entire building explode, therefore making the entire city explode.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The Sandmen all wear black and blue uniforms. Also the life crystals change colour. Within the City, those who aren't Sandmen wear clothes the same colour as their lifeclocks. The babies in Nursery are wrapped in white, the Cubs in Cathedral are sporting tattered yellow garments, older teen-agers are wearing green, and twenty-somethings all wear red. Presumably, the 30-year-olds' outfits at the "Renewal" are red below and white above, because it's assumed they'll be reborn as infants and wear white again.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Three times; first with Marvel Comics, not long after the film, second was Malibu Comics back in 1990, and in 2010 with Bluewater Productions' Logan's Run: Last Day, which takes aspects from the original Marvel run.
  • Composite Character : Inverted, Francis 7 from the novel has part of his characterization and storyline split off to form the character of the Old Man, making Francis more overtly the antognist than the somewhat ambiguous status of the original character.
  • Computer Voice: The Master Computer
  • Cradling Your Kill: When forced to reexamine the quasi-religion of Renewal, Francis 7 attacks Logan 5 in desperation. Logan 5 finally wins the upper hand and in the heat of battle, bashes Francis repeatedly with a flag pole. Realizing he has inflicted fatal injuries on his lifelong best friend, Logan 5 holds Francis 7 as he dies.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The City looks like a wonderful, hedonistic utopia; until you find out what goes on behind the scenes.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Actually, it's a Crazy Cat Old Man.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Subverted.
  • Death's Hourglass: The life crystals.
  • The Ditz: Holly 13 (Farrah Fawcett's character)
  • Domed Hometown
  • Earth All Along: Logan and Jessica make it to the surface only to find the ruins of Washington, D.C.
  • Elaborate Underground Base
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: Renewal. Everybody believes that some who sacrifice themselves in Carousel at age 30 are granted "Renewal", presumably reincarnation. (One draft of the movie's script implies that Logan is named "Logan 5" because he's the 5th renewal of the original Logan, though in the movie itself there is a Logan 6 without Logan 5 having died, so that's probably not true anymore) But the sordid truth is, it's a made-up quasi-religion to keep the population under control, and to encourage everyone to voluntarily kill themselves while still in the prime of life.
    • The notion of Renewal may have sprung from Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars. In that novel, people in the utopian city of Diaspar live for a thousand years, then turn themselves in to the "furnace of creation" which destroys their bodies but retains all their memories. They are reborn a random number of thousands of years later, so that they can meet all new people and not get bored by an eternity of immortality.
  • Fanservice: "Let's take out clothes off quick before they freeze on us". What.
  • First Time in the Sun
  • Free-Love Future
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: A unexpected point of realism here.
  • Ghost City: Washington, D.C.. The only living residents are an old man and a bunch of housecats.
  • Growing Up Sucks
  • Hologram: In the scene where Logan is interrogated about Sanctuary, the main computer creates holograms of his head that express his thoughts.
  • Humans Are White: All the citizens of the city are conspicuously white.
  • Human Resources: Ancient Keeper Box seemed to make it clear that a) the "fish, plankton, and protein from the sea" that he was supposed to store for the cities had stopped and b) Runners had started showing up in time to be frozen. We may have a Soylent Green moment here. In the shooting script for the movie, there were 1056 people frozen in the chambers that Box tended. This is exactly the same as the number of unaccounted runners shown by the computer earlier.
  • Insane Troll Logic: It's basically Box's operating system.
    "Fish, plankton, sea greens... PROTEIN FROM THE SEA!"
  • Knight Templar: Francis 7's mad pursuit of Logan and Jessica, far in excess of his duties as a Sandman, was fuelled by his unwavering belief in Renewal. He goes crazy when he sees that his lifeclock has presumably turned clear white outside the City, which contradicts everything he believes in.
  • Living Relic
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The City's central computer. When it goes, the whole city goes with it. Admittedly, Logan did shoot out a support beam from the ceiling, but at worst that should have caused the building to collapse, not caused the collapse of the entire dome network.
  • Logic Bomb: "There... is... no... Sanctuary!"
  • Madness Mantra: It's pretty clear that Box has the robotic equivalent of senility.
    Fish! And plankton! And sea-greens! And PROTEIN FROM THE SEA!
  • Membership Token: The ankh necklaces are used by the Runners to identify each other.
  • Mind Screw: The Logic Bomb scene above.
  • Monochrome Casting
  • New Eden
  • No Blood Ties: The characters don't know their parents and most don't care.
  • Only Fatal to Adults: ...At least, those over 30.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Among other changes, the age of death was raised from 21 to 30 both to simplify casting and, more importantly, so the free-love future wouldn't get the entire production shut down.
  • The Promised Land: Runners believe Sanctuary to be this. In an interesting variation, from the point of view of the audience, it's a Cynical Flavour B; but the characters still see it as an Idealistic version when they finally reach it. Which tells you just how much of a Crapsaccharine World they live in.
  • Recycled: The Series: Not long after the movie, there was a television adaptation that lasted about one season.
  • Released to Elsewhere: Carrousel
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Box.
  • Shout-Out: The Old Man frequently quotes passages from T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.
  • Tattered Flag: Seen where the Old Man lives in what used to be the U.S. Senate chamber.
  • Teenage Wasteland: More in the book than in the movie, but in both cases, the world clearly belongs to the young.
  • Terminally Dependent Society
  • Throw It In: In the final scene when the crowd is gathering in awe around the Old Man, one of the extras gives the Vulcan salute that is of course familiar from Star Trek. The director probably either didn't recognize it or didn't mind it in the least. At the time this film was made, Star Trek was still just some obscure cancelled TV show from The Sixties and had yet to catch on with the general public. It wouldn't have it's own official revival until three years later.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Holly 13
  • Utopia: ...Technically.
  • Vapor Wear: Several people, especially Jessica 6. The female costumes were utterly impractical as clothing. Actresses had to have their costumes sewn shut around their bodies so that they wouldn't have any visible zippers or buttons.
  • Veganopia: The characters are horrified to discover that people used to raise animals for food.
  • We Will Have Euthanasia in the Future: Again, Carrousel.
  • What Happened to the Mouse??: What happened Logan 5's infant son, little Logan 6?
  • You Are Number Six: Characters are named "Name X", as in Logan 5, Jessica 6...
  • Zeerust

King KongFilms of the 1970sThe Man Who Fell to Earth
Man-Eating PlantImageSource/Live-Action FilmsAscetic Aesthetic
CarrieHugo AwardThe Man Who Fell to Earth

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