Today I am going to recommend a couple of science fiction movies I have recently viewed. In order to view them we are going to have to hop in our time machine (method of time travel is optional, a supped up DeLorean, the TARDIS, or a sling-shot around the sun in a Star Ship at warp 9 should suffice). If you don’t have access to any of those modes of transportation you can just use Neflix like I did.
Planet of Dinosaurs:
This is a low…low budget movie that came out in 1978. It starred a group of no-name actors and was produced and directed by Jim Shea. The highlight of the movie are the stop-motion Dinosaurs. Are they as good as those done by Ray Harryhausen? No, but they are not bad. Those that are used to the CGI will find them not up to parr but I think the stop motion dinosaurs are part of its charm. The premise is pretty simple. At some future date a space ship carrying a crew of people crashes on a mysterious planet filled with prehistoric dinosaurs. The name of the game is survival.
Now the acting is stiff and deplorably bad. In truth I was waiting for this movie to turn into a porno. The women are hot and dressed sexy, the men have longer shaggy hair and 70s porno mustaches. They are also wearing 70s jogging suits meant to look futuristic. The stilted dialog and bad acting leads to scenes of flirtation among the actors. Just when you think something romantic is going to happen a dinosaur comes along to ruin the ambiance.
So why am I recommending this movie? It has charm to it. If you can get beyond the acting the story is pretty well told. There is tension and plot twists and fight for power within the group and it really engaged me to the point where I wanted to see how it would end. There is some nostalgia for me too because a majority of the movie was filmed at the famous Vasquez Rocks where such notable Star Trek episodes were filmed, namely “Arena” the episode where Captain Kirk fights the Gorn, and also parts of the most recent Star Trek movie by JJ Abrams was filmed there. The movie is unintentional funny and if you like to be entertained that way then you just might like this movie.
I finally got around to seeing this film. Is it a classic or just memorable? I am not sure. Either way it doesn’t matter, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I had heard about the premise prior to viewing and as I have said before on this blog I generally do not care for movies with real dark dystopian views of the future. This movie is one of those exceptions. The movie cam out in 1976 and was directed by Michael Anderson and starred Michael York, the luscious Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Farrah Fawcett and the scenes stealing Sir Peter Ustinov. Avery good cast. The movie is based on the novel by the same name.
In this version of the future, set in the 23rd century, people live in a city inside of a dome where all their needs are taken care of by a computer. They do not have to work so all of their time is spent on hedonistic pursuits. So what’s the catch? You only get to live until you’re 30! Imbedded in the hand of each person is a crystal. It is clear when you’re born and changes colors as you age. When you reach the age of 30 it turns red and when it is your time to die it begins flashing. People who are scheduled for termination go to this elaborate ceremony called carousel where they float to the top of this room and are vaporized. People believe that in carousel they are renewed, reincarnated, back to life. Those that do not willingly go to carousel try to escape and are called runners. Those who try to catch the runners and terminate them are called Sandmen. At one point, Logan, is told by the computer to become a runner to see if the runners that do escape make it to a place called sanctuary.
That is all I will tell you about the plot, I do not want to spoil the plot if you choose to view this movie. I love the 1970s. Those were my formative years. I was a teen through the majority of the 70s and I have loved the films and the music from that era. Every movie carries the look of the time in which it was filmed, even if the film was trying to depict the future as this movie does. The art concepts of the future in Logan’s Run sure look like the 70s to me and that is part of the appeal. Sure they look a bit silly by today’s standards but the overall look is part of the charm of the film. Plus seeing the beautiful Jenny Agutter scantily clad, or not clad at all, is a sight to behold. Seeing Peter Ustinov in this movie as a bumbling old man is a delight. I can’t think of a bad film he has been in. Even if he was in a bad film he has never acted poorly. I think the same goes for Michael York, another British actor who is great in everything he does.
The special effects are pretty good and the use of models for the city still hold up despite the fact that you can tell they are models. I think it reminds me of what Ray Harryhausen said in keeping a bit of fantasy in these types of movies instead of hard realism which can enhance the emotional aspect of the viewing process. Even though gritty realism is in vogue in Hollywood, you can look to movies such as Logan’s Run and realize that you don’t have to revert to gritty realism to tell an exciting, gripping and adventurous story. The realism of the dystopian future in Logan’s Run is on the level of a typical Star Trek episode.
There you have it. A couple of flashes from the past. I think most would enjoy Logan’s Run, although I must remind people that movies were slower paced back then, so you might need to take that into account and Logan’s run does have a few slow moments. Planet of the Dinosaurs may be more of an acquired taste, but if in the coming weeks and months and you’re looking for something to watch on a cold raining or snowy day, give one or both of them a chance and let me know what you think!
Posted on September 24, 2012, in Movie Recomendation and tagged Carousel, Farrah Fawcett, Gorn, Jenny Agutter, JJ. Abrams, Logan's Run, Michael York, Planet of Dinosaurs, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Sandman, Star Trek, Vasquez Rocks. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.