DVD Reviews - 2001 A Space Odyssey and Logan’s Run

      Date posted: December 31, 1969

2001: A Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, director; MGM Home Video;
Dual Layer Non- Anamorphic 2.35:1 Widescreen;Dolby Digital 5.1 English,
Mono French, Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; 139 Minutes

Logan’s Run: Michael Anderson, director; MGM Home Video; Anamorphic
2.35:1 Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Mono French, Subtitles:
English & French; 119 Minutes

      These two MGM movies fit well together as a review pair, both Sci-Fi, both big-budget, and both full of special effects. Though called a classic, the 1968 2001 least stands the test of time, in my view. It is overly long, ponderous, pretentious, full of bloated symbolism (starting with those stupid apes). What else can you say about a film that is dominated by a bland-voiced, neurotic computer?

      Nor is it served all that well in its DVD release, the extreme widescreen non-anamorphic transfer literally wasting half the screen and potential resolution. And Keir Dullea’s wooden performance seems to have hardened with time. I’m afraid I now find the film more comic than anything when it’s not simply boring, the only other break from these some visually and musically beautiful sequences. Plot? Forget it. And the only real special feature is a contemporaneous press conference with Arthur C. Clarke, which offers some insights into the film and his original novel. Logan's Run

      Logan’s Run, on the other hand, maintains a freshness and a kind of innocence that we perhaps haven’t known since 1976, when it was made. About a post-apocalypse closed-in city in the 23d Century that vaporises all citizens after they reach 30, it gives new meaning to the phrase, “Never trust anyone over 30.”

      Michael York is Logan, a “Sandman” who catches the “runners”, those unfortunate 30-somethings trying to evade their fate. But he is fast approaching the deadly age himself (and actually looks older), as is a woman played by Jenny Agutter. Together they plot their escape to the outer world, and end up in a decayed and overgrown Washington D.C. to encounter a fuddly Peter Ustinov, who tells them about the real world.

      Beautifully shot, with seamless futuristic effects, Logan’s Run has impeccable picture quality (MGM did use the anamorphic technique here) and superbly vivid colour. The film’s qualities of fantasy and the pleasure world of the domed city make it a good counterpoint to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner with its similar theme; I doubt that Scott could have framed his grimly violent view of the future without Logan’s Run preceding it.

      A major improvement on the stereo earlier releases of Logan’s Run is the re-mixed Dolby Digital soundtrack, which is atmospheric and has surprisingly good sound for the time, quite superior to that of 2001. Special features include a documentary on the film’s making that is a nice 70s period piece, with booming-voice narrator and a hyperbole-ridden look at all the technical innovations employed in making the film’s special effects work. This film, like all of the James Bond movies, is still fun to watch.

Andrew Marshall

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