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Thanks to its intriguing structure and story line, MILLENNIUM ($25) is an enjoyable "B" science fiction movie that has developed a small cult following in the decade since its theatrical release. Sure the movie starts to unravel in the last reel, but for the most part MILLENNIUM delivers the goods.

A thousand years in the future, humanity is dying out due to their disregard for the environment. Hoping to preserve the species, the few remnants of humanity have created a device that allows them to travel into the past, so they can remove the people from the doomed aircrafts before they crash. It may sound preposterous, but the idea actually plays well enough during the course of the movie. MILLENNIUM stars Kris Kristofferson as Bill Smith, the chief NTSB investigator assigned to determine the cause of a mid-air collision between two jumbo jets.

The investigation appears routine, until a couple of anomalies are discovered amongst the wreckage. First, all of the digital watches that survived the crash are somehow running backwards. Second, Smith finds a device of unknown origin inside a mangled piece of metal. MILLENNIUM also stars Cheryl Ladd as Louise Baltimore, a woman from the future posing as an airline hostess to recover the device that Smith found in the wreckage. Daniel J. Travanti portrays Dr. Arnold Mayer, a noted physicist who comes to suspect the true nature of what is occurring on the airliners before they cash. The cast of MILLENNIUM also includes Robert Joy, Lloyd Bochner, Brent Carver, David McIlwraith and Maury Chaykin.

MILLENNIUM has been released on DVD by Artisan Entertainment in a good looking Letterboxed presentation that includes the 16:9 component for wide screen televisions. The transfer correctly frames the film at 1.85:1 and doesn't appear to be missing anything from the extreme edges of the image. MILLENNIUM was produced in 1989 and the cinematography has that "smoky" eighties look that prevents the DVD from offering the kind of razor sharp image quality that one would find in a brand new film. Now I don't want to give the impression that MILLENNIUM lacks detail, in fact the transfer has very good detail, even in the darker sequences. Colors are nicely saturated and the flesh tones appear fairly natural. There are moments in the film in which some of the hotter hues could have been problematic, but the DVD handles them without any evidence of chroma noise or distortion. Digital compression artifacts remained in check throughout the presentation.

The Dolby Digital soundtrack decodes to standard Dolby Surround. Since I've been spoiled by Dolby Digital 5.1, standard surround tracks tend to sound subdued to me. However, the track offers some channel separation across the front soundstage, and fairly natural dialogue reproduction. The surround channels aren't aggressively deployed which is fairly standard for Dolby Surround. Still, there is good deal of ambience and music coming from the rear, which fills out the sonic environment. The surrounds also provide the occasional distinct sound effect. Spanish subtitles and English captioning have been provided on the DVD.

The interactive menus contain a bit of animation and sound and are nicely designed. Through the menus one can access the standard scene selection features, plus a theatrical trailer, production notes, cast biographies/filmographies and an alternate ending for the film.

MILLENNIUM isn't the greatest science fiction outing ever, but it proves to be a lot of fun. Artisan Entertainment delivers a DVD that fans of the film are certain to enjoy and will want to add to their collections.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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