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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 seems to be in store for LOGAN'S RUN ($25). 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. It's kind of fun to think what digital effects and preconceived notions from the year 2000 (well, almost) would do with the same story.

I still remember going to see LOGAN'S RUN in the theater and enjoying it immensely. 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 runners. 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 find a place known as sanctuary. Logan has no choice but to carry out the assignment after the central computer changes his 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 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.

MGM Home Entertainment has done a great job of bringing LOGAN'S RUN to DVD. LOGAN'S RUN is offered in the Letterboxed format and the presentation includes the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. The transfer frames LOGAN'S RUN close to it theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, without any discernable cropping. For the most part, the presentation is very pleasing; with only minor markings on the film element to belie its age. Film grain was apparent in a couple of places, but otherwise it remained in check. Image quality was surprisingly snappy, with everything appearing quite sharp and nicely detailed. Colors reproduced with amazing fidelity, offering good saturation without any signs of distortion. Digital compression artifacts were never overt, thanks solid DVD authoring.

LOGAN'S RUN has been given a new Dolby Digital 5.1 channel mix, that I found to be a total delight. The mix utilizes all of the discrete channels to highlight Jerry Goldsmith's score as well as the film's electronic sound effects. No one will confuse this track with a recent release, but the re-mix greatly enhances one's overall enjoyment of the film. A French monaural soundtrack has also been included as have English and French subtitles.

The interactive menus include a bit of animation plus sound and offer one access to the DVD's supplements. Supplements include an 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 Behind-The-Scenes featurette and theatrical trailer fill out the supplements.

LOGAN'S RUN remains a highly entertaining science fiction movie that genre fans are certain to enjoy. MGM Home Entertainment has created a great looking and sounding DVD. Recommended.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 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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