Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Starting the new year off with a bang; in the world of time-travel science-fiction, 'MILLENNIUM' is a delicious cheese-whip supreme.

If it strikes you as a little strange that a big-budget sci-fi extravaganza aspiring to be first out of the gate with the millennial doomsday theme starred Cheryl Ladd and Kris Kristofferson, you're already in the right mood for the 1989 time-travel howler Millennium. The fun begins when airline-disaster investigator Kristofferson meets mysterious airline employee Ladd while checking out the wreckage of the latest crash. Because Ladd, done up in an appalling perm and enough eyeliner to outfit a pack of raccoons, looks like she's about to shoot The Donna Mills Story, you first suspect Kristofferson might be the weird one — he invites her to dinner. Then Ladd chain-smokes while eating, a dead giveaway that she's the movie's space case. And that's before she has sex with Kristofferson and gushes, "You're the best thing in a thousand years!" Apparently well aware he's not that good in the sack, Kristofferson responds, "The first rule is: Don't go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself. You're right up there on the top 10 of my Weird List, lady." To which Ladd replies, "If you knew me better, I'd be number one." Then, when Kristofferson's back is turned, Ladd disappears — literally.

Wandering alone in the plane wreckage the day after this romp, Kristofferson comes upon what looks like a futuristic set of brass knuckles. And indeed, when he touches it, he's knocked out! Then, lo, a tacky blue hologram appears in the air, and Ladd steps out of it in S&M Tinkerbellesque regalia with a hairdo shaped like a giant Foster's Freeze soft ice cream swirl. Yes, Ladd is actually a human visitor from a thousand years into the future. She's here on a mission to — well, let her tell it: "We're all dying. We can't have children anymore. We steal people from the past and send them somewhere else to start over, to give them a second chance." That's right: Ladd takes airline passengers who are about to crash and transports them to the future. But what about the dead bodies found after the crash? Ladd simply brings a supply of look-alike corpses from the future to leave behind in the live passengers' seats. Ah, but how does she get the passengers to cooperate? Well, that's what the brass knuckles are for, dummy.

Alas, two of the stunner devices were left behind on this latest crash and Ladd's got to retrieve them or "a paradox" will occur and destroy the future. A what? As Nobel Prize-winning physicist Daniel J. Travanti explains, "Say you build a time machine, go back, and murder your father when he was 10 years old. That means you were never born, and if you weren't, how did you build the time machine?" See, this is why Ladd was willing to sleep with Kristofferson – she thought he had the devices. So when Kristofferson sees the futuristic Ladd in the plane wreckage, she's still after the stunner, which she finds and takes with her in her tacky blue time-travel hologram before Kristofferson can ask her on a second date. Later, it turns out that Dr. Travanti has the second scanner, but when Ladd appears from the future this time, Travanti accidentally zaps himself to death with it. For reasons you really don't want to know, this causes the dreaded paradox, which compels Ladd to take Kristofferson back to her future world, where everything is rapidly coming apart — which is hardly surprising since it's one of the cheapest-looking sets ever seen in a sci-fi pic. Just before the world explodes, Ladd resets the time-travel dial so she and Kristofferson can go even further into the future — in hopes of more convincing production design, better scripts and more flattering hairstyles.

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