Remake Logan’s Run!

logan's run

The 1976 movie Logan’s Run is based on a book by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. The film follows the journey of Logan 5 (Michael York), a “sandman” who is an enforcer in a futuristic, dystopian society that is obsessed with youth. It’s so obsessed that when a citizen turns thirty years old he or she undergo “renewal” but are actually euthanized. While many in this domed, underground society (actually a stand-in for a mall in Texas) accept their fate, some called runners choose to flee and keep living. Logan and other sandmen are tasked to track down these runners and killing them.

During an investigation, Logan learns of a place called Sanctuary, which offers a haven for runners. The computers who rule his society give Logan a mission to find Sanctuary. In order to infiltrate the runners, Logan’s life schedule is advanced to the age of thirty, subjecting him for renewal.

logan jessDuring his cover as a runner Logan falls in love with a dissident, Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter) and learns the truth about Sanctuary and his way of life. In a typical story fashion, Logan genuinely questions his belief system and of course, turns against his society.

I’ll be the first to admit that Logan’s Run is kind of kitschy and dated. Those scenes in the mall um… future city have that funky ’70s feel but I loved the message which resonates with our society. I mean look around, see how we’re obsessed with looking young and beautiful. Facelifts, tummy tucks, nose jobs. There was even a scene in the movie where Logan visited a high tech plastic surgeon located in a mall who used lasers to rejuvenate customers. old manAnother theme is how society devalues old people. One of the best moments in Logan’s Run is when Logan and Jessica meet an old man (Peter Ustinov) in the ruins of Washington, D.C.. They are shocked to see someone so old, they actually wonder why his face is “cracked”! Yet the old man shows them that life goes on beyond thirty.

That is why Logan’s Run should be remade. Its subject matter is still relevant to our times and may teach some viewers a lesson or two. I haven’t read the book, but it’s supposed to be different than the movie. For instance, Logan is much younger in the book since the day of renewal is when one turns twenty one. But the basis of the story is solid. There is little that needs to be done with the story, just update the effects and film it anywhere except a mall!

ruins

It would be a fun idea to cast Michael York as the old man living in the ruins of D.C.–the production design showing the wrecked buildings and overgrown vegetation was excellent btw. There have been many attempts to remake the movie and they all failed. Bryan Singer, sandman gunTron: Legacy director John Kosinski and Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn were going to direct a remake at one time or another. With the latter director, Ryan Gosling was to star in the remake. Well all those plans fell apart, but it’s encouraging that quality filmmakers have shown interest in remaking Logan’s Run.  It seems to be a matter of timing. So hopefully it will be remade someday.

Annette DeForrester

Remake The Black Hole!

Ever since I spotted that poster from The Black Hole in Tron: Legacy, I can’t stop thinking about that old Disney film.

The Black Hole was one of the earliest films I remember seeing as a kid back in 1979. The movie borrows plot lines from several classic works like Moby Dick and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. But the core story is rather simple and effective. The crew of an exploratory spaceship encounter a long-lost spaceship near a black hole in space, but it turns out it’s not abandoned. The commander of the huge derelict craft is obsessed with entering the black hole and finding out its secrets. As these tales go, the commander is insane and won’t let anyone get in his way not even the crew of the would-be rescue ship.

With all these pointless and gratuitous remakes being made (I’m looking at you Total Recall and soon Robocop), The Black Hole is one film that needs a remake or some kind of sequel at least.

Sure it’s got head-scratching flaws and scientifically it doesn’t make sense. For instance, why is it when the ship starts to get closer to the black hole, characters are able to survive outside the space ship without space suits, breathe air and even talk to each other? This is really confounding when earlier in the film, when the same characters are in a huge greenhouse, the structure is compromised, leading to air escaping and freezing temperatures. The robots they were fighting had visible signs of frost, yet the humans get along fine in the melee.

Then there is the ending sequence. It needed to be more spelled out. Is the black hole a gateway to heaven and hell? Then what happens at the very end? I guess it’s supposed to be one of those philosophical endings that can be debated but it throws off the tone of the film which was part mystery, part shoot-em-up.

The Black Hole is not the greatest movie ever made but it still fires up my imagination to this day. The special effects were great, it was even nominated for a special effects Oscar.  I really enjoyed the laser battles with the mad scientist’s robots and the film’s rousing score during those battles. It was an obvious swipe of John Williams but most sci-fi films in that era copied the composer. I also liked the characters, even the cute heroic robots. BTW, the head villainous robot, Maximillian, was pretty damn cool especially when he diced his claws into Anthony Perkins’ character. Too bad no blood was shown! Despite my misgivings about the ending, I liked that the filmmakers decided to be ambitious even if it was frustrating to watch.

A remake would have the same plot line: spaceship crew finds a lost spaceship with a nutty scientist bent on exploring a black hole; lives be damned, the gaining of knowledge is more important! But a remade Black Hole would be much more scientifically accurate. In this day and age it would have to be. The elements are right there for any enterprising filmmaker to improve upon the original. Combine that with some spectacular special effects and production design and we could wind up with a remake that surpasses the original.

Waldermann Rivera

Remaking Sci-Fi Films

People have been grumbling lately about remakes or reboots and their validity. The common gripe is that many of the remakes are unnecessary and don’t offer anything new. The new version of Total Recall is a topical example. For producers they offer, in theory, a way to bring in new audiences without trying to explain what happened in the original films and supposedly improve on the original films’ concepts. In the case of Total Recall, it’s hard to justify the remake having nothing to do with Mars and all of its outlandish mutants. But that’s for viewers to decide.

While there are some remakes that are outright duds (still cannot forgive anyone involved with the tepid Rollerball remake), some are actually excellent and outshine the original (the 1986 remake of The Fly comes to mind). Whether or not the reboots/remakes are good or add anything comes down to the talent and vision behind the scenes. But that’s not a guarantee. Look at Tim Burton’s remake of Planet Of The Apes which was a big disappointment. It had the talent but somehow it didn’t gel together. Gone was the original’s poignant social commentary although the makeup was better. OTH, years later, Rupert Wyatt, a virtual unknown, helmed the surprisingly great Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, and the film functioned as any good reboot should: it kick started the dormant franchise. Another film, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, will be out in 2014.

  

When successful, reboots/remakes take the franchise into a new direction and sometimes make viewers forget about the validity of the originals. Going back to The Fly, director David Cronenberg’s remake reinvented the film’s premise with  updated science and the result was terrifying. The main character Seth Brundle had his gene sequence rewritten and was morphed into a sickening human/insect hybrid that spat acid. Consider that in the original where a human’s head was transplanted onto a fly, while the human body ended up with the insect’s head; it’s obviously hokey. But the original film was very well done for its time and the horrifying reveals at The Fly’s end still work.

Unfortunately there are many remakes that are DOA. Last year, two remakes of ’80s classics (Conan The Barbarian and Fright Night) were box office failures. That wasn’t necessarily a reflection on the films’ quality. A lot had to do with marketing and when they were released. Both films were dumped into the tail end of summer when the fervor for movie going dies down. Some remakes are failures just because they are so poorly executed or the changes made to them are unpopular. Fans quickly catch on and without their support the films will die a quick death in theaters. Look at the American remake of Godzilla. Diehard fans complained about how the giant behemoth was re-imagined. Gone was his distinctive radioactive fire and force-of-nature quality. Then there are the various remakes of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. While the 1978 version was successful the ones that followed (Body Snatchers and The Invasion) produced shrugs from viewers. The same thing happened with The Thing. John Carpenter directed a superior remake of Howard Hawkes’ 1950s classic but it was remade again last year and was quickly forgotten. Other remakes are bonafide hits but reap scorn for various reasons. Case in point Steven Spielberg’s remake of War Of The Worlds and Peter Jackson’s King Kong. More often than not, remakes turn out to be unremarkable and are quickly forgotten. The list of such films is long and includes The Island Of Doctor Moreau, The Time Machine, and Invaders From Mars.

We shouldn’t automatically dismiss remakes (as some have done with the new Total Recall). There is always the chance that they will present new ways of looking at a film’s concept and take it into a new direction. They help keep franchises alive or revive the popularity of the originals. The bottom line is that with Hollywood, which is prone to run out of ideas quickly, the easiest thing to do is to recycle old ideas that worked in the past. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Lewis T. Grove