Millennium (1989) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

How did MST3000 miss this film?

Cheryl Ladd plays a visitor from 1000 years in the future, a time so hopeless and forlorn that the human race has despaired of its existence, and cares about nothing except really elaborate hair-dos. All earthlings are barren, so the last human generation is trying to save the race. Having mastered time-travel, they decide to kidnap people from the past (our time), and ship them into the even more distant future. In order to avoid any time paradoxes, they only capture 20th century people who were just about to die anyway, and replace them with identical fresh corpses from their own world, so that the past will continue unchanged. It seems that the perfect place to pull off this switcheroo is on an airliner which is just about to crash.

A thousand years in the future, the last generation of humans looks exactly like the cast from The Wiz, minus the munchkins. Cheryl Ladd is the main time-traveler, and she has her own personal robot who looks exactly like the Tin Man. She reports to a guy who looks like the Cowardly Lion in a futuristic wheelchair, and she talks to a bunch of wizards who counsel her to ignore the people behind the curtain, not to mention the guy holding the boom mike. They seem to have some gaps in their science. Although they cannot cure their own infertility, they can move freely through time and have the technology to create exact replicas of 20th century humans, right down to fingerprints and dental records.

They have one great fear in their time-meddling. They must not create a time paradox which will cause them never to have existed at all. You would think that such an occurrence would simply cause them to disappear quietly, but such is not the case. Instead, when they do finally create a time paradox, it causes sirens to go off, while robot voices say "danger, Will Robinson", and people start running about helter-skelter, while the camera jiggles very fast to simulate a "time quake". Furthermore, when they create the paradox which destroys them, it does not cause all their work to be undone. Indeed, while the paradox is slowly unraveling their world, Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd are able to escape into the really, really distant future.  At least I guess that's where they are. They get into some big building, then walk into a light, then we see some hallucinogenic special effects like the ones in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and then we see Kris and Cheryl making nice-nice in some really orange light.

This is a very forgiving paradox that gives almost everyone time to escape by walking away in single file. It doesn't seem like a real paradox at all. Maybe it's just a mild enigma, or a puzzlement, if you will.


Cheryl Ladd does not get naked, but she spends a lot of the film in a man's shirt open in front, with no bra. Ladd and Kristofferson do a shirtless scene at the end, but nothing much is visible.

Kris Kristofferson plays a 20th century investigator for the NTSB who falls in love with the time-traveling 30th century Cheryl Ladd, and eventually joins her in her own time, at least for the twenty or thirty seconds it lasts until his presence there causes the entire cosmos to unravel. Dan Travanti provides the character necessary in all cheesy 1960esque sci-fi stories - the scientist who has figured out the whole plot and keeps explaining it to the other characters so we in the audience can understand it. Since Travanti is not present in the 30th century scenes, Ladd's personal robot performs the exact same function in that era, explaining to Ladd things that she must have known, but that the scriptwriter needed us to know.

Although the IMDb comments indicate that some people seemed to like it, this movie couldn't be a lot worse.

  • Production values are about on a par with Plan 9. The long shots of airplanes are obviously models, and the cockpit shots look like they take place in somebody's breakfast nook in 1959. As for the mid-air collision, I've seen better F/X on Dark Shadows.
  • The acting is - well, the stars are Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd, which tells you about all you need to know.  Kristofferson walks around trying to look like an expert, which means that he squints his eyes a lot, seems always to be in pain, and growls to every reporter about how he'll have a better answer in a couple a days. Maybe they told him he was playing Shake Tiller in "Semi-Tougher".
  • The paradox concepts are just plain silly, and the entire future earth looks like it takes place entirely in one shabby warehouse, as in those cheapazoid Czechsploitation films from Lloyd Simandl.
  • About a quarter of the running time repeats earlier scenes from a different point of view, without really adding anything significant the second time.
  • Using the robot's and the physicist's dialogue as an ersatz voice-over was a seriously clumsy way to provide plot exposition.
  • The final voice-over was as follows: "This is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning"

The screenwriter, John Varley, is a science fiction author who has written several novels and has been honored with both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Millennium is based on his 1977 short story "Air Raid," which he later expanded into a novel Millennium, published in 1983.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1. It's a solid transfer.

  • There is an alternate ending about five minutes long, full screen format, quality not as good as the film proper.

Varley himself adapted his story for this 1989 film, an act which should have caused the Hugo and Nebula people to revoke all his awards, strip off his S/F epaulets, and break his pen over their knees, ala the opening scene in Branded.

Poor Varley may have done well in print, but the whole movie thing isn't really workin' out for 'im. Millennium is sheer genius compared to his other credit at IMDb. His only other story listed is "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank", a Raul Julia film which has the 11th worst score of any movie in history (2.2/10), tied with Leonard Part 6 and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, and worse than the 2.3 earned by Shaq's classic, near-Shakespearian performance in Kazaam.

The Critics Vote

  • Apollo 45/100

The People Vote ...

  • It grossed six million dollars in the USA


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this film is a C-, based on the fact that some SF fans found it watchable, and even found elements of it coommendable. I surely didn't. If you're not a SF fanatic, skip this dreadful mess, unless you're planning to fire up a doobie before watching it, and even then you'll only enjoy the "future" scenes.

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