Nothing to complain about regarding the premise, which is great. People are all young in this post-apocalyptic, futuristic utopia, and only reach thirty. They’re colour-coded as they age, making for some bangin’ costumes around a central theme of slender limbs and unfettered breasts, and at 29 are ‘Renewed’ (read: exploded and killed) by a Carousel that whirls them ridiculously around as they happily stretch their limbs out, waiting for oblivion.
They have cool red crystals in their palms that start blinking when it’s nearly carking time. That’s when they know that soon they willingly give themselves up to the clearly benign Carousel.
If they feel in any way suspicious about this process, and decide to ‘Run’, the poor fools get shot, or ‘Terminated,’ by police equivalents, who have cool explody guns, before they get as far as the next gleaming white staircase.
Logan, one such enforcer, begins to doubt about the whole thing when he hears about the possible existence of a world beyond the bubble, from a woman who appears on the complex’s prostitute/sex slave conveyor belt-type-thing (I know, right?!!)
As you will now be realising, this is perfectly, reliably old-school sci-fi for those who have the itch to see other worlds and otherworldly objects (and hot 70s girls without bras). For example, the people in this world have cars that whiz through the air in glassy tubes, which every good sci-fi movie should feature regardless of subject.
Everyone in this world is notably thin and sexy seeing as you never see anyone do any exercise except wander languidly about being young. However, you never see them eat either, so I guess it’s fair.
The sets are very cool. From the split-golf-ball ‘bubble’ world the majority of the movie is set in, to the post-apocalyptic ruins of the outside world, the movie uses scale excellently to set scenes and goes blissfully nuts with ‘advanced’ computers and sci-fi devices, cars and other machines that don’t need to be explained (or indeed explainable) to serve their purpose.
The average fan doesn’t need an explanation either, if it’s stylish enough, and anyway you expect old sci-fi movies to make the impossible possible without even approaching actual science. It’s hardly H.G. Wells, but it’s part of their charm and part of why you watch a movie like this in the first place. After all, movies are about escapism.
The old man character, if you get as far as him, is the best character of the lot, and may or not be the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz movie. I couldn’t be bothered checking.
The female lead is pathetic. She can’t even scream at a critical moment when she is in trouble, let alone do anything sensible like carrying a weapon or using one. She merely gapes in astonishment, thereby ensuring that she will go down in history as yet another lame movie bitch who couldn’t lift a finger (or a tonsil) to save herself or anyone else. Her talents are: holding hands, taking her clothes on and off, and looking hot no matter how dirty she gets.
When the male character chooses a spectacularly unsuccessful way to prove to their colourful peers that there really is a world outside where people can and do get old (they have an old man to prove it, but choose to get in via a route they can’t take him, so they rely on shouting crazily at people), the female character decides she will help by shouting the exact same thing that has already proved unsuccessful.
Everything takes a few minutes too many in every scene for my 21st-century sensibility, so that by the end you are wanting to shout GET ON WITH IT at the screen. After you’re halfway through, the scenes just aren’t interesting enough to be so drawn-out. My housemate suggested I call this review “Logan’s Walk”.
However, if you are a vintage sci-fi lover who loves cool sets, atmosphere, hot bodies, lasers, explody guns, inexplicable silver robots and feet that can stand bare on snow and remain uninjured, this is the movie for you and it famous enough that you should really see it.
I do recommend watching it, but I don’t necessarily recommend finishing it.
NB: If you like the premise but not the sound of the movie, then I recommend reading the 1993 young adult/kids book called The Giver by Lois Lowry. This has some similar plot and style elements but much better execution and conclusion. It also develops the thematic material a lot more strongly. Don’t be put off by the age category – people of any age would enjoy this book if they are interested in the subject matter.