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Rated PG-13
Copyright 1989 Gladden Entertainment
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 4 November 2006

The Characters:  

  • Bill Smith - Kris Kristofferson! Egad, did he specifically look for movies that involved bedroom scenes?
  • Louise Baltimore - A covert operations specialist from a thousand years in the future. By then, as some have predicted, sex is a lost art. On the other hand, if people must smoke that much in the future, it is not as if they have any time for kissing.
  • Dr. Mayer - Curiosity killed the Nobel Prize Winner. With a stunner. In the living room.
  • Sherman - He is Louise's personal robot. Obliterated by a timequake.
  • Coventry - Freaky little guy who rolls around the dark tunnels and cramped spaces of wormhole operations in his powered wheelchair. Electrocuted.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

With a terrifying crunch, a Boeing 747 is damaged by a midair collision with a DC-10. The pilots fight to control the aircraft as the engineer goes aft to evaluate how much damage was done to the wing. Strange, because the DC-10 came in from above the 747 and seemed to be on a level flight path. A casual observer would expect the aircraft's tail to have sustained the worst damage, not a wing. Maybe the DC-10's engine fell off and ripped away part of the 747's wing? (DC-10s used to do that, you know.) When the engineer opens the hatch to the passenger cabin, he stops, transfixed by what he sees.

Bill is an accident investigator with the FAA. Through an interview with the air traffic controller and review of the cockpit voice recorder, it is easy to pinpoint the cause of the crash. The air traffic controller was suffering from a severe headache and juggling too many incoming flights. He accidentally placed the 747 and DC-10 in the same approach path. However, there are a few strange facts. Some digital watches recovered from the hundreds of bodies are running backwards. Also, on the voice recorder, the engineer can be heard screaming that all of the passengers are dead, burned up. This is prior to the crash. The man's reaction is an oddity, but of no concern to Bill. His focus is averting further disasters. The sad investigator determines that the mishap was caused by human error and a lack of technology to prevent such errors.

One man does ask some strange questions during the initial press conference. Dr. Mayer inquires if anything out of the ordinary or inexplicable was discovered. The physics genius already knows that strange events or artifacts can be associated with some airline crashes. He believes that, in some manner, time travelers are present just prior to the events. (None of this is revealed to the audience, yet.) What the esteemed doctor cannot do is openly ask, "Did you find any evidence of time travelers or temporal distortion?"

Among all the debris and dead bodies Bill notices something else. That would be Louise, dressed in her prim flight attendant uniform. He notices her because the woman keeps staring at him, almost like he is a juicy piece of steak. After bumping into her on the escalator again, the two leave the airport. First, they drive to a restaurant (Louise is obviously hungry), before the pair end up in Bill's hotel room. Yes, they do exactly what lonely people did back in the 80's; they screw each other's brains out. There were apparently a lot of lonely people during the 80's.

After the sex, Louise begins acting very possessive. She begs Bill not to go in the next day, pleads her new beau to stay with her, and even cancels his wakeup call. None of this sways the workaholic. However, he only takes a few steps away from the hotel room before going back in. The mysterious woman is gone! Later that night Bill meets Louise again. He finds a strange blinking object among the piles of 747 wreckage. While examining the stunner, he causes it to discharge and finds himself momentarily paralyzed. Louise, looking much different, materializes out of a blue gateway with two other women. The time travelers babble for a few moments before grabbing the stunner and jumping back through the gateway. Bill hardly has time to gather his wits before Louise is gone again. I bet he wet his pants while stunned, too.

If I could count the times I have had a day like that. Oh boy.

Returning to her own time, Louise is afraid of what will happen when the paradox created by Bill stunning himself and seeing her turns into a timequake. She endures a short berating from Coventry before the timequake arrives. The quake is not all that bad, just some shaking and blurring effects. However, it was obvious to Louise that Bill had seen her before, something she has yet to experience. The truth is transparent to anyone with a doctorate in time travel: Louise will, in her future, travel back in time to meet Bill.

A skewed pro-smoking angle is presented by the film. The humans living in the time that Louise comes from must smoke. The cancer sticks are treated in some way to provide protection to their lungs, both from the poisoned atmosphere of the future and our thick primordial soup of the twentieth century. Smoking is good for you; it protects your health! How much did Phillip Morris pay for that little plot point? The future smokers also casually toss their butts away. The burning refuse is instantly disintegrated by some sort of laser beam system. Bizarre. I would be deathly afraid of a malfunction in the automatic laser rubbish zapper. Imagine dropping a contact. Zap! All gone! "Dammit to Hell!" Plus, they cannot have those in every single room, can they?

The people from the future are rescuing would-be plane crash victims to help the human race survive. Everyone in Louise's time is sterile. By snatching people who are about to die anyway, they avoid paradox and secure a breeding population. (I imagine a chartered flight full of nursing home residents would not be rescued.) Commercial aircraft crashes are well documented, allowing the time travelers to get a fix on the target. It all makes a sort of sense when you think about it.

Each time a rescue mission is executed, Louise and her team must take the plane, like in "Air Force One," but with less shooting. They dress like the stewardesses and are gated aboard into a vacant area, such as a lavatory. Then, careful not to raise the alarm, the operatives set about replacing the crew (except, in some cases, the flight deck) and stunning the passengers unconscious. Once everything is under control, a temporal gate is used to engulf some part of the aircraft, the rear in the operation we see, and the passengers are moved off. Shambling duplicates march aboard that match the passengers in every respect and the aircraft is allowed to complete its journey into infamy.

The modus operandi might be made more difficult in today's world, with the availability of DNA testing. Of course, that could be easily explained away by the future travelers using cloned bodies. Okay, not that easy, because now they have to obtain a tissue sample from every crash victim prior to the mission. Why the digital watches discovered are all running in reverse is now explained. I guess. Tell me again why replica digital watches from the future would run backwards? Also, the largest paradox of all is how they replicated everything on the passengers. The simplest solution would be stripping them naked as they exited the plane and using those clothing and articles on the duplicates, but that is not what we see.

Perhaps the most engaging part of the movie happens when Louise goes back in time to prevent Bill from ever finding the stunner. We see their meeting and night together from her perspective this time, including sections that were not hinted at earlier. At first I was put off, because my memory is adept enough and I detest it when movies show me the same scenes again. Despite my predilection, this section of the plot could be my favorite part of the movie. Bill is along for the ride (literally, in more ways than one), but watching the girl from the future stumble her way through seducing and trying to divert Bill is quite entertaining. Sadly, as we watched earlier, she is not successful. Her failure sets up a sequence of events that forces an emergency evacuation of the future. I must say, the people taken off the airliners are astoundingly calm and carry out the exodus with no confusion and in record time.

"Millennium" is a film that moves along at a brisk pace. It is interesting to analyze, because so much occurs in a relatively limited amount of space and time (exempting thousand-year wormholes). Like I said, the movie even backtracks over some scenes that we already watched, but shows facets that were hidden before. The effect is nothing so deep as the plot of "Rashomon," though it is surprisingly interesting.

The plot is also very tragic. This is owing to the main subject matter, airline disasters. In this day and time, these are often the subject of news stories and even documentaries. Between the events of September 11th, 2001, and the tragedy of TWA Flight 800 (until two months ago I lived about thirty minutes from the memorial at Smith Point Park), many of us have had time to consider the chilling thought of being totally at the mercy of forces outside our control. We can imagine ourselves strapped into a flimsy seat as engineering fails or human action again focuses on the destruction of others.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Time travel causes digital watches to run backwards.
  • Getting in the mood is difficult when you look at crash victims all day.
  • Adolf Hitler has (had, will have) temporal physics on his side.
  • Flight attendants are trained by the secret service.
  • Guys: at night, as we sleep, our girlfriends and wives smell our clothes.
  • Temporal gateways, in addition to providing conduits through time, also straighten up messy hotel rooms.
  • Never store your elders in pure hydrogen gas.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 6 mins - Bill, you are stepping on people pieces.
  • 23 mins - Hence the phrase, "Coming on like a horny airline stewardess."
  • 30 mins - Just another figment of your diseased mind, Bill.
  • 58 mins - I wonder if a ball-peen hammer could improve Sherman's aesthetics.
  • 62 mins - Louise is wearing a very tight gray skirt. Look at it go! Boing, boing, boing...
  • 64 mins - The man at the console is in denial about his sexual orientation.
  • 65 mins - What is so unusual about Louise's driving?
  • 90 mins - For a fleeting moment I wondered how David Bowie fit into the rest of the film.
  • 97 mins - In times long past this facility was a laser tag establishment.


  • Bill (talking about Dr. Mayer): "He's the last guy I'd expect to find out here."
    Roger: "Yeah, actually he's not. He's been to several Midwest crashes. That big one in '79 at O'Hare - he was all over that."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note millennium1.wav Louise: "There was a little problem."
Sherman: "Those words will be engraved in the annals of understatement."
Louise: "Your mother was a cash register."
Sherman: "And she turned a tidy profit, too."
Green Music Note millennium2.wav Coventry: "A paradox, Louise! You've changed the past! I know damn well we can't change the past! It catches up with us, we change."
Louise: "Well, we haven't changed much. We're all still dying, this place still stinks, and you are still as ugly as ever."
Green Music Note millennium3.wav Bill: "That's a real habit you got."
Louise: "What habit is that?"
Bill: "I've never seen anyone eat and smoke at the same time."
Green Music Note millennium4.wav Control Voice: "Paradox! Timequake! Force: infinity!"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipmillennium1.mpg - 2.5m
Mrs. Baltimore and her team were conducting a smooth insert and snatch operation when it all went wrong. Turns out that the reason this plane crashed was a hijacker opened fire in the cockpit. One of the future operatives takes a bullet for the team.

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