NO! Don’t go in there! You don’t have to die! No one has to die at 30! You could live! LIVE! Live, and grow old! I’ve seen it! She’s seen it!
Despite the dated costumes and effects, Logan’s message stands up pretty well after all these years. The dystopia of Logan’s Run offers a startlingly relevant commentary on the present.
In Logan’s Run, we’re presented with a society of near perfect obedience to an armed technocracy. People are able to enjoy endless comfort while indulging every decadent urge in a glistening, bacchanalian techno-utopia. The catch, of course, is that you have to go to Carousel at age 30 to be “renewed.”
Every strategy necessary for the establishment of a society of sheep is implemented. Children are raised in state nurseries and have no knowledge of their parents. There is no contact with the natural world nor does anyone engage in any kind of labor. People are able to satisfy their sexual appetites with transporter-like technology which seems like Tinder taken to its logical conclusion. Subsequently, no one forms adult relationships or discovers true intimacy. Gun control reigns supreme because Sandmen are the only ones allowed to carry firearms and they are assigned to kill all dissidents without exception.
Anyone who gets any funny ideas about the social order and tries to escape is branded a “Runner” and is marked for “Termination” by the Sandmen.
The depth of the disconnection and disregard for human life is perfectly captured in the film’s first Carousel sequence. Citizens cheer as bodies explode while Logan and Francis hunt down a Runner with cruel taunts.
Logan 5 finds the tables turned when he is ordered to seek “Sanctuary” by the state command system which manifests as an icy, robotic female voice.
Logan enlists the help of Jessica 7, a woman he initially met on the Tinder transporter system. Since affirmative consent laws have apparently achieved total perfection in this world, Logan does not rape her on their first meeting despite his deep desire to get laid. Laws against free speech, triggering words and microaggressions have also been perfected because when Jessica starts asking questions about why people run and whether or not he kills, Logan gets really uncomfortable.
They flee the city and are doggedly pursued by Logan’s former partner, Francis 7. Their quest leads them to the ruins of Washington DC where lovable old coot Peter Ustinov is aging gracefully with his collection of cats. Logan and Jessica realize that the system was built on lies, but the symbolic decrepitude of the Capitol is meant to remind you that Real Freedom is secured by a good ole fashioned constitutional republic. It’s a critique of the state, but it’s not that anti-state. Logan even gets to vanquish Francis with an American flag in a climactic fight scene. True believer in the State right up until his dying breath, Francis looks at Logan and says “You’ve been renewed!”
Upon returning to the city, Logan is subjected to one of the most gloriously psychedelic interrogations ever. Naturally, the system could not withstand the truth, and the whole thing collapses with astonishing ease.
There’s a lot of good stuff here. A State which has anesthetized and infantilized the public with promises of comfort and subsidized “necessity”. The suspension of adulthood and adult relationships replaced with dreams of never ending sex, beauty and youth. A police state with a license to kill. The almost complete absence of curiosity, debate, discourse and real free speech.
Oh, and Farrah Fawcett, too.