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Millennium (film)

Millennium (film)

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Millennium is a 1989
1989 in film
-Events:* Batman is released on June 23, and goes on to gross over $410 million worldwide.* Actress Kim Basinger and her brother Mick purchase Braselton, Georgia, for $20 million...

 film directed by Michael Anderson
Michael Anderson (director)
Michael Joseph Anderson, Sr. is an English film director, best known for directing The Dam Busters , Around the World in 80 Days and Logan's Run .-Early life:...

 and starring Kris Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson
Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson is an American musician, actor, and writer. He is known for hits such as "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times", "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down", and "Help Me Make It Through the Night"...

, Cheryl Ladd
Cheryl Ladd
Cheryl Ladd is an American actress, singer and author. Ladd is best known for her role as Kris Munroe in the television series Charlie's Angels, hired amid a swirl of publicity prior to its second season in 1977 to replace the departing Farrah Fawcett-Majors...

, Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy is a Canadian actor. He is best known for his role as Dr. Sid Hammerback in CSI: NY and playing Charlie in Land of the Dead.-Early life:...

, Brent Carver
Brent Carver
Brent Carver is a Canadian actor.Carver is known for a variety of stage and film roles, including The Wars, Kronborg: 1582, Lilies, Larry's Party, Elizabeth Rex, Millennium, Shadow Dancing, and Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love...

, Al Waxman
Al Waxman
Albert Samuel Waxman, CM, O.Ont was a Canadian actor and director of over 1000 productions on radio, television, film, and stage...

 and Daniel J. Travanti
Daniel J. Travanti
Danielo Giovanni "Daniel J." Travanti is an American actor best known for his starring role as Captain Frank Furillo in the 1980s television drama Hill Street Blues.-Biography:...

. The original music score was composed by Eric N. Robertson
Eric Robertson (composer)
Eric Nathan Robertson is a Scottish composer, organist, pianist, and record producer who has been primarily active in Canada. A two time Gemini Award winner, he has composed more than 60 film scores and written music for a number of television series in Canada and the United States...

. The film was marketed with the tagline "The people aboard Flight 35 are about to land 1,000 years from where they planned to."

Millennium is based on the 1977 short story "Air Raid" by John Varley
John Varley (author)
John Herbert Varley is an American science fiction author.-Biography:Varley grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, moved to Port Arthur in 1957, and graduated from Nederland High School. He went to Michigan State University on a National Merit Scholarship because, of the schools that he could afford, it...

. Varley started work on a screenplay based on that short story in 1979, and later released the expanded story in book-length form in 1983, titled Millennium
Millennium (novel)
Millennium is a 1983 science fiction novel by John Varley. Varley later turned this novel into the script for the 1989 film Millennium, both of which are based on Varley's short story "Air Raid", which was published in 1977. It was nominated for the Philip K...

. After four different directors, a film was finally released in 1989.

Plot


The film begins in the cockpit of a U.S. passenger airliner (Boeing 747), shortly before they are struck from above by another airliner (McDonnell Douglas DC-10) on a landing approach. The pilot handles the airplane as well as he can while the flight engineer goes back to check on the passenger cabin. He comes back in the cockpit screaming, "They're all dead and burned!"

Bill Smith (Kristofferson) is a National Transportation Safety Board
National Transportation Safety Board
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine...

 investigator hired to determine whether human error is the cause of a collision of two jumbo jets, both of which crashed. He and his team of investigators are confused by the words on the cockpit voice recorder
Cockpit voice recorder
A cockpit voice recorder , often referred to as a "black box", is a flight recorder used to record the audio environment in the flight deck of an aircraft for the purpose of investigation of accidents and incidents...

 because there had been no fire on board before the plane hit the ground. At the same time, a theoretical physicist
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

 named Dr. Arnold Mayer (Travanti) has a professional curiosity about the crash, which borders on science fiction. While giving a lecture, he talks about time travel
Time travel
Time travel is the concept of moving between different points in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space. Time travel could hypothetically involve moving backward in time to a moment earlier than the starting point, or forward to the future of that point without the...

 and the possibility of visitors from the future.

Time travelers are, in fact, visiting the present day and stealing passengers from doomed aircraft. Every incursion into the past causes an accompanying "timequake" whose magnitude is proportional to the effects of the incursion into the past. Each "timequake" causes physical damage in the time from which the incursion has been made. This is why they are abducting people who will not be able to impact the future any further and replacing them with copies of those who would have died. Thus, the co-pilot's strange comment came because all the passengers had been replaced with pre-burned duplicates in preparation for the upcoming crash.


While on one of the missions, an operative is shot and loses a stun weapon on board a plane before it crashes. This weapon winds up in the possession of Dr. Arnold Mayer, setting him on the path to working out what's happening. Twenty-five years later, Smith finds a similar artifact in the crash portrayed at the beginning of the film.

Worried that these two individuals of the 20th century might change history by their discoveries, Louise Baltimore (Ladd) travels back to 1989 in order to distract Bill Smith and discourage him from pursuing his investigation further. Louise manages to gain Bill's trust, as well as seduce him into a one-night stand, which she hopes will complete the distraction. However, because of still more errors on the part of the time travel team, as well as paradoxical events, Bill becomes even more suspicious. He soon pays a visit to Dr. Mayer. At that point, Louise materializes from the future and reveals her mission to both of them. In a mishap with the stun weapon, Mayer kills himself thereby causing a major change to the timeline. Louise decides to take Bill with her to the future.

Between Louise's recent visit and exposition in the future, we find that because of pollution, the human population of the future is no longer able to reproduce, except for Louise who's pregnant with Bill's baby, though that fact isn't revealed until the very end of the film. This is why they have been abducting people from the past and keeping them in stasis until a future time when they will be sent into the far future. It is hoped that in this far future, the Earth will have recovered enough that humans can repopulate the planet. The recent incursion results in a force infinity timequake which will destroy the entire civilization of the "present" future and the Gate (time machine) itself. It is decided that it is time to send all of the people who have been collected to the distant future before the Gate is destroyed.

Bill and Louise step through and disappear into the Gate, which takes them to another time and another place, in order to save their lives, and to fulfill a destiny to repopulate Earth. A simple, but poignant, message is recited by Sherman the Robot, quoting Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, in the closing seconds of the film. As the blast wave of the gate being destroyed vaporizes Sherman he states, "This is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning" as the scene transitions to the sun rising above the clouds. The message implies the philosophical underpinnings of the story in that life is cyclical and starts anew with the death of the old, the true balance of universal existence.

Cast

  • Kris Kristofferson
    Kris Kristofferson
    Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson is an American musician, actor, and writer. He is known for hits such as "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times", "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down", and "Help Me Make It Through the Night"...

    : Bill Smith
  • Cheryl Ladd
    Cheryl Ladd
    Cheryl Ladd is an American actress, singer and author. Ladd is best known for her role as Kris Munroe in the television series Charlie's Angels, hired amid a swirl of publicity prior to its second season in 1977 to replace the departing Farrah Fawcett-Majors...

    : Louise Baltimore
  • Daniel J. Travanti
    Daniel J. Travanti
    Danielo Giovanni "Daniel J." Travanti is an American actor best known for his starring role as Captain Frank Furillo in the 1980s television drama Hill Street Blues.-Biography:...

    : Dr. Arnold Mayer
  • Robert Joy
    Robert Joy
    Robert Joy is a Canadian actor. He is best known for his role as Dr. Sid Hammerback in CSI: NY and playing Charlie in Land of the Dead.-Early life:...

    : Sherman the Robot
  • Lloyd Bochner
    Lloyd Bochner
    Lloyd Wolfe Bochner was a Canadian actor, usually playing the role of suave, rich leading men.- Career :...

    : Walters
  • Brent Carver
    Brent Carver
    Brent Carver is a Canadian actor.Carver is known for a variety of stage and film roles, including The Wars, Kronborg: 1582, Lilies, Larry's Party, Elizabeth Rex, Millennium, Shadow Dancing, and Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love...

    : Coventry
  • David McIlwraith
    David McIlwraith
    David McIlwraith is an actor who has appeared in numerous television series and in several movies since the 1970s. He co-starred in the 1993 television series White Fang. In 2005 he appeared in the television movie Living With the Enemy. In 2006 he appeared in the feature film Hollow Man II.-...

    : Tom Stanley
  • Maury Chaykin
    Maury Chaykin
    Maury Alan Chaykin was an American-born Canadian actor. Best known for his portrayal of detective Nero Wolfe, he was also known for his work as a character actor in many films and on television programs.-Personal life:...

    : Roger Keane
  • Al Waxman
    Al Waxman
    Albert Samuel Waxman, CM, O.Ont was a Canadian actor and director of over 1000 productions on radio, television, film, and stage...

    : Dr. Brindle
  • Lawrence Dane: Captain Vern Rockwell
  • Thomas Hauff: First Officer Ron Kennedy
  • Peter Dvorsky
    Peter Dvorský
    Peter Dvorský is a Slovak operatic tenor. Possessing a lyrical voice with a soft, elastic tone, and warm and melodious timbre, Dvorský's repertoire concentrates on roles from the Italian and Slavic repertories....

    : Don Janz
  • Raymond O'Neill: Harold Davis
  • Philip Akin
    Philip Akin
    Philip Akin is a Canadian actor who has been active for over thirty years in stage, film, and television. He has had featured roles in major American films such as The Sum of All Fears, S.W.A.T., and Get Rich or Die Tryin’...

    : Kevin Briley
  • Susannah Hoffman: Susan Melbourne
  • Victoria Snow: Pinky Djakarta
  • Claudette Roche
    Claudette Roche
    Claudette Roche is an Award Winning Accent/Dialect Coach and professional actress based in California.-Roche's Accent Coaching and Acting Career:...

     (as Claudette Roach): Inez Manila
  • Bob Bainborough
    Bob Bainborough
    Bob Bainborough is a Canadian actor. He is known for playing the role of Dalton Humphrey in the Canadian comedy series The Red Green Show, and appearances on History Bites...

    : Investigator
  • Cedric Smith
    Cedric Smith (actor)
    Cedric Smith is a British-Canadian actor and musician. He played Alec King in the CBC television series Road to Avonlea and was the voice of Professor X in the X-Men TV series.-Music:...

    : Eli Seibel
  • Edward Roy: Gantry Controller
  • Gary Reineke: Carpenter
  • Michael J. Reynolds
    Michael J. Reynolds
    Michael J. Reynolds , Garda Síochána 17673G and recipient of the Scott Medal, 1945-1975.-Incident at St. Anne's Park:A native of Kilconnell, Ballinasloe, Reynolds was one of a number of Gardaí who responded to an armed robbery at the Bank of Ireland, Killester, Dublin, on the afternoon of 11...

    : Jerry Bannister
  • Chapelle Jaffe: Council Chamber Member, Stockholm
  • Christopher Britton: Council Chamber Member, Buffalo
  • Gerry Quigley: Council Chamber Member, Khartoum
  • Leonard Chow: Council Chamber Member, Beijing
  • Jamie Shannon
    Jamie Shannon
    Jamie Shannon is a Canadian actor, director, writer, producer, and voice artist, best known for his work in the Canadian television series, Nanalan.-Career:...

    : Young Bill Smith
  • Yank Azman
    Yank Azman
    -Early life:Azman was born in a displaced persons camp in Bad Wörishofen, Germany to Cesia , a sales clerk and Kuba Zajfman, a tailor and furrier, Holocaust survivors from Chmielnik, Poland...

    : Evacuation Leader

Production


After four different directors, a film was finally released in 1989.
Millennium's production designer, Gene Rudolf, had to produce a future setting that implied putrefaction and atrophy.


The largest set was the time-travel center for Louise Baltimore's operation. Rudolf created rusted catwalks that traversed a large open space. Buildings crumbled and exposed their infrastructures. The walls were painted dull green, black and coppery. Rudolf wanted the future to look dirty, sick and poisoned.

Several scenes are set in the vault for the decrepit council members overseeing the time travel operation. Rudolf designed their chamber as a semicircle of seven transparent, upright cylinders, each serving as a life-support device. Four of the cylinders held actors. The others were filled with bodily organ props and medical equipment that served as the last still living remnants of these members.

To create the time-travel effects of the Gate itself, cinematographer René Ohashi produced the ghostly shimmering lights by spinning metal wheels covered in Mylar.

Since actual aircraft could not be sent through the set, miniature models and a full-size mock-up of the tail-section of a Boeing 707
Boeing 707
The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

 were used. Optical effects were used to make the planes look as if they were entering the set.

The penultimate scene took place in a contemporary American home. Rudolf's set was dominated by large horizontal windows. The room was filled with clocks, hourglasses and navigational equipment, in line with Dr. Arnold Mayer's fascination with time travel. Emmett "Doc" Brown
Emmett Brown
Doctor Emmett Lathrop "Doc" Brown, Ph.D. is a fictional character and one of the lead characters in the Back to the Future film trilogy, in which he is the inventor of the first time machine, which he builds out of a DeLorean sports car...

 in Back to the Future
Back to the Future
Back to the Future is a 1985 American science-fiction adventure film. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Steven Spielberg, and starred Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson. The film tells the story of...

and George, the time traveler in The Time Machine
The Time Machine (1960 film)
The Time Machine is a 1960 American science fiction film based on the 1895 novel of the same name by H. G. Wells in which a man in Victorian England constructs a time-travelling machine which he uses to travel to the future...

both had similar homes filled with clocks due to their fixations on time travel.

The scenes shot in the airport terminal buildings were actually shot at Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport
Toronto Pearson International Airport
Toronto Pearson International Airport is an international airport serving Toronto, Ontario, Canada; its metropolitan area; and the Golden Horseshoe, an urban agglomeration that is home to 8.1 million people – approximately 25% of Canada's population...

, in the former Terminals 1 & 2. For the outdoor shot where Baltimore (Ladd) steals the car, two-way traffic was run in front of the Terminal 2 arrivals level where it is ordinarily a one-way road.

Re-releases


On the VHS of the film is simply an ending showing the sun rising over clouds. The DVD version, released around 1999, swaps the VHS ending in favor of one showing the two main characters from underneath floating in water. From there, it switches to a view from one side showing them embracing nude, with nothing especially visible. The DVD version has four special features including an alternate ending.

External links