Millennium (1989) Poster

(1989)

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Science Fiction for Science Fiction Fans
bneyman7 November 2002
Millennium is one the few movies about time travel that stays true to the original source material. This far-out John Varley narrative is brought to the screen as faithfully as can be imagined. If you've ever wondered what really happens during so-called "natural" disasters, this is the script for you. The film is pure science fiction -- fun to watch, but impossible to understand unless close attention is paid. Stay awake and you'll be astonished by this story. Kristofferson and Ladd are surprisingly well paired, and the time-traveling Ladd is 100% believable in this mind-bending scenario. The sole jarring note is the voice-over coda at the end of the film -- an un-credited Churchill quote that sounds comical and out-of-place. This is one of the most under-appreciated movies of the '80s.
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6/10
A mixed bag
Nilsosmar11 August 2007
Millennium is mixed bag. The script is reasonably good - not too exciting, but thoughtful and well constructed. But there are some problems that drag the movie down.

The romance/relationship at the heart of the story is not bad, and has been unfairly panned. It's actually one of the strengths of the story. Kristofferson does a good job of playing a rather dull character without a lot going for him... a working stiff without much of a life, who wakes up a bit when he meets Cheryl Ladd's character.

Ladd underplays her part nicely, with a nice understanding of the nuances and double meanings of some of her dialogue. The directing is fine, low key, and the editing is good (apart from the ending, which I doubt was the editor's choice). The script sparkles most when it deals with Ladd's character, her difficulties in communicating across a profound cultural barrier, her inadvertently humorous faux pas when interacting with a world very different from her own. The "cigarette scene" in the restaurant is a classic.

There are some problems, mainly around the ending, some of the acting on the part of the minor characters, and the character of Sherman. I won't reveal the ending, but I will say it was disappointing, and probably responsible for the cool reception the film received. The robot Sherman is poorly designed and conceptualized, and drags down the rest of the story. It's not a question of budget, in Sherman's case, but of someone without a good intuitive feeling for science fiction concepts, making decisions about that character. He's not campy, to my mind, he's an embarrassment.

Some people posting here have complained about the dialogue. I think they may be missing the profound reason for Ladd's character's odd choices of words, and what the words reveal about her. Others have complained about the scenes that are shown twice, telling the same story from different points of view. I can understand that people looking for a more action packed movie could have been bored by these scenes, but they do reveal key information; they're not just reruns of the first, they're revelations. They're an effective device for showing the parallel but very different points of view of the key characters.

In sum, Millennium is a reasonably good but not great movie. It's frustrating because a genuinely good movie could be made from the existing footage if the robot was redone (redesigned digitally after the fact and given a better voice and better dialogue), and if the final voice-over was omitted. But I still like watching it and appreciate the elements that are successful in the movie.
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8/10
Good "B" Film
Criti-Size18 August 2004
This film is not as bad as the comments here indicate. Good premise and a few comedic touches enhance this time travel tale starring Cheryl Ladd (who, in my opinion is an very underrated actress) and Kris Kristofferson. I have to admit that although the (not so) special effects could have been better and the last line at the end should have been left out, it's still a memorable film that will entertain most time travel fans. Exterior scenes were filmed in Toronto although the setting is supposed to be Minneapolis.

I wasn't expecting much so maybe that's why I enjoyed it.

"Take a chance, Louise"

7/10
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8/10
Great sci-fi!
bbbl673 August 2003
The ratings on this movie are very poor, but don't be fooled this is a great movie. As I was watching this movie, I actually expected most people wouldn't get it because time-travel pictures are usually too confusing for people with linear minds. If a movie doesn't travel in a straight line from beginning to end, then linear people start hyperventilating. Time travel concepts require a slightly more abstract mind to follow properly, and more than a 2-second attention span.

There was some good comedy in the movie. For example the android Sherman, who looked like he came right out of a 1950's B-movie. Then there was the joke about how the people from the future had to smoke in order to stay healthy, otherwise the air in the past was too clean and pure for them. You disposed of the cigarettes by just tossing them over your shoulders and a point laser would shoot at it and disintegrate it instantly. Also this was definitely a 1980's movie, you could tell just by the hairstyles, which were good for a few laughs.

And for a movie made on the cheap, the special effects weren't half-bad. They certainly weren't comparable to today's CGI effects, but they were of a generation of special effects that made Star Wars so successful.

Their interpretation of time travel concepts was also very interesting. For example, they chose to represent time paradoxes as "temporal quakes". I suppose this was done as a dramatisation technique to show the audience how serious a temporal paradox was in terms they could commonly understand (i.e. like an earthquake).

Don't be fooled by the linear minds giving this movie a bad review, if you have an abstract mind, then you'll love this movie.
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One of the few real "B-movies" of the '80s--and a good one.
xavrush8922 October 2003
There seems to be some dispute here as to whether this is a good movie or not, and it all depends on what you expect going into it. If you go see (or rent) a sci-fi movie based on an obscure short story directed by the man who had Bo Derek battling a whale in "Orca" twelve years earlier, you have to expect some campiness. Just sit back and enjoy it. The premise of the story is actually quite good, with a little environmental message slipped in. In execution, the people behind this movie must have known that they did not have the budget for a special effects-laden thrill ride, so they decided to take the stylistic approach of making it with one eyebrow raised, a bittersweet melodrama that happens to have a few plane crashes and laser beams. It's "The Goodbye Girl" with time travel. How else do you explain the smarmy robot's flat line delivery, Cheryl Ladd's hairdo, the flight attendants' costumes? Camp, camp, camp. But at the same time, the "paradox" concept gives the mind something to chew. I think director Michael Anderson knew exactly what he was doing. Had this film been marketed differently, it would have easily recouped its budget. I think it's right up there with 1982's "Q"!
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10/10
Mind Blowing Movie!
wwoodyard10 March 2008
If you like sci-fi because it gives writers the chance to provide plots that make one think outside the square and provide concepts that make you stop and ponder even weeks or years later, then this movie is definitely for you! Indeed, I guarantee you will enjoy it and perhaps even come to love it as I have despite its obvious shortcomings.

If you like nice tidy productions with crisp acting and wonderful cinematography and wish to see something not very taxing on the mind, stay away from this movie! It is not a "beautiful production", the acting does leave something to be desired and the production leaves much to the imagination. But then that can sometimes be a good thing as I personally think not enough is left to the imagination in the motion pictures of today. After all my imagination, and I'm sure yours also, is a far more interesting place than 99.9% of what the film industry thinks is inspirational! But more importantly, it's the beautifully conceptual plot... the wonderful wonderful plot that really makes this movie many times over.

By my rating of this film you can clearly see which camp I sit in. I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did. If you are a fan of sci-fi, then this film is a mind blowing MUST SEE! If you are not a fan of this genre then sadly I am afraid there is not much for you here. Otherwise ENJOY.
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10/10
Maybe I'm a nut...but I liked this film.
localman-28 April 2000
It is campy, no doubt, and there are a couple of scenes that try to take themselves seriously and fall flat, but overall I thought it was a clever, original film with lots of sci-fi fan humor and a bunch of unexpected but meaningful plot twists.

If you like campy, idealistic sci-fi you might want to give it a shot.
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10/10
A Classic
rbirge-124 February 2006
This is one of the best science fiction movies of recent history. Although it has its share of flaws (special effects are weak and the acting is mixed), but the plot is excellent and the concepts and implications introduced regarding time travel creative and thought provoking. The movie starts out with a plane that is in the process of falling out of the sky due to a midair collision. The copilot exits the cabin to find all of the passengers are already dead. The question is why, and neither we nor the main character, know the answer until later on in the story. But from this point on (and this is no spoiler as it happens in the first three minutes) all those who love stories about time travel, and the paradoxes and potentials therein are in for a great ride. The short story that this movie is based on (Air Raid) is also a classic and worth reading, but hard to find.
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10/10
Cheryl Ladd shines
AJSteele18 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Millennium" is an 80s sci fi masterpiece that examines time travel with such uniqueness that any and all cheese connected to the era becomes a worthwhile embrace. I don't think the concept of using airplane victims to preserve our future has ever been put on film, but it gets delivered pointedly in this back shelf treasure.

The film really works and with Cheryl Ladd giving the performance of her career, you get time travel with sex appeal and sincerity. Ms. Ladd had the potential to be a Holllywood film star, but either by choice, talent or fate, she ended up in Hallmark movies and sub par TV shows. This movie proves however that my prior sentence has no place in this universe. She sells the character of Louise Baltimore from the future in the most convincingly appealing of ways.

Kris Kristofferson is also on his game while Daniel J Travanti has some powerful sci fi grounding scenes. An offbeat future world containing a weird array of thought provoking characters including a believably fake robot named Sherman (that is the epitome of 80s cool to look at) should satiate your distant future doldrums.

The story flows logically with limitations while the wonderfully natural aura of the film dumps paradoxes, time travel gates, duplicate persons, swirling colors and retro future technology into the thought pleasing synapses of your brain. 1989 was a good year because of this flick. Creative brilliance all around from directing to acting. Engrossing and ahead of its time. Lets get some behind the scenes snippets and directors commentary with Cheryl Ladd chiming in before the world ends. Ah, Millennium!
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If you like stories about time travel, you'll love this
Tommy-O12 July 2000
This is a neat "what's going on here" mystery with plenty of clues, if you watch closely. The time travel premise is great and the story is told from the perspective of present day. That is, until the secret is revealed. Then the mysterious parts are retold, in flashback, from the perspective of the future. Kris is OK, Cheryl is wonderful (as usual), and Travanti almost steals the show.
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8/10
Where have I seen that girl before?
bkoganbing1 May 2014
Somewhere in the distant future where if we think we're breathing polluted air you should see what Earth is dealing with in 3089. Some fairly healthy specimens relatively like Cheryl Ladd are treated like pampered pets because they have to do some time traveling.

This trip takes her to 1989 when Millennium came to the theaters. To keep the species going these travelers are taking trips to reported plane crashes where they remove the passengers before the crash and replace them with already dead ones from their future. When the dead ones were around they were sterile anyway, Cheryl happens to be sterile also.

There carefully prepared project goes totally awry with a trip back to a 1963 crash that is impacting on the future. A trip to 1989 where Kris Kristofferson is the National Transportation Safety Board investigator screws things up even further as Kristofferson is certain he's seen Ladd before.

The third principal player in the cast is Daniel J. Travanti a famous physicist who has an interest in time travel and has got the scent of something not right with these crashes. What Travanti does is totally mess with the future of planet Earth as Ladd knows it.

Although some have trashed Millennium I've found it to be a thought provoking movie about time traveling and about our lax attitude toward the environment which gives Ladd the future she lives in. There's also a nice performance by Robert Joy as Ladd's android in the future who's more human than Commander Data of Star Trek The Next Generation. He's got quite the wit. But in the end he's a disposable machine.

Check this one out.
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10/10
Amazing. If you can't think in 4 D. stick to easier movies.
rto1-18 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A guy who smart in real life (Kris Kristofferson) plays a very smart guy in this movie, The very open-minded and observant Bill Smith, is an investigator who is finding a few little impossibilities as he investigates a plane crash.

Meanwhile Daniel J. Travanti, of "Hill Street Blues" fame as Captain Frank Furillo, plays a physicist, Dr. Arnold Mayer, who lectures about time travel, and people from the future. Do these theories (conjectures), explain some of those "little impossibilities". (Sure they do!)

But does Bill care? He has fallen in love with a girl... then loses her ... then he finds her again, when the two have never met (from her point of view.) Got that? If you are sure that you could never "get that", don't watch this movie... and tear up your Mensa application. This movie is too smart for you.

If you can follow the 4D logic, an impossible mystery is solved, the universe is saved, kind'a saved. And Bill gets the beautiful girl(who smokes three packs of cigarettes an HOUR.) This unusual time traveler is played by Cheryl Ladd (who was the last of the original "Charlie's Angels")

There are a few clever sub-plots.

This is a GREAT movie
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5/10
Interesting sci-fi
jamiecostelo5816 December 2006
Millennium is a movie that does not fully convince as a sci-fi probably because of the rather tired romance plot added to the script. It does however have a rather intriguing storyline; two passenger planes collide in mid air, and ominous effects start to abound upon the investigating officer. His enquiries are further enhanced by premonitions of an attractive young woman who may hold the key to why the crash happened...

Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd prove themselves as credible film stars, but their talents are hampered by the poor overall impression given out by Millennium. The script is not the last word in brilliance, and that simple romance plot we witness leaves a lot to be desired. Add to that rather tame special effects and a sudden uninspiring ending, Millennium is certainly no masterpiece and will be easily forgotten.

An interesting premise proves a let down for an avid film fan like myself but is lifted up by Ladd, who proves she can portray a character far beyond Angel Kris Munroe. 5/10.
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Romance, Time-Travel, Mystery, Sci-Fi at its Best!
Benedictus Logodox4 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This 20 year old is one of my all time Sci-Fi faves. First it has Cheryl Ladd at her most beautiful. Kris Kristofferson as a love interest. Time-Travel laid out in a fascinating manner. An adorable robot person. Daniel Travanti as a foil. Incredible transport of about to crash airliners to the future in order to save the folks and repopulate the Earth at an earlier time. Am amazed that this movie is classified by many as a "B" movie. The plot involves the entire lifetime of Kris's character and it is just wonderful how it pans out. Unfortunately its name will stand out less because of so many titles using the same. This one is VERY COOL!
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8/10
An Underrated Sci-Fi Movie
makiprettywoman39 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I ran into this movie called Millennium. I read the synopsis. It mentioned time travel and people being abducted. That sounds like an interesting movie. You have Kristofferson who plays Bill Smith an investigator. He investigating a jetliner that crashed and trying to figure out what happened. At first you may be a little confused. You wonder what exactly happened to the people on that plane. Eventually you find out these people have been abducted by this woman Louise whose is played by Cheryl Ladd. It turns out there is a problem in the future where they need to people to repopulate earth. Just the whole idea of time travel and people being abducted it sucks you into this movie.

There are some strange things in this movie. For some reason in this movie a lot of people smoke. There is this premise where all the people from the future must smoke. Like smoking is considered healthy to people. If this movie were made today would it still be rated PG-13? There ends up being this love story between Bill and Louise. I don't know why they choose to have a love story in this movie. I don't think the love story really detracted from the movie.

There are some things in this movie that makes it really good. You have an android named Sherman which adds some comedy to this movie. He provides a lot of good one liners in this movie. He reminds of 3-CPO from the Star Wars Movies. There is some things that make me want to watch this movie over and over again. I could care less if some of this movie looks cheesy or doesn't exactly make sense. I would watch this again.
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8/10
One of the Most Original Sci-Fis of the Cinema History
Claudio Carvalho16 March 2015
After the crash of an airplane with a great number of casualties, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator Bill Smith (Kris Kristofferson) is in charge of the investigation. He meets the gorgeous and singular Louise Baltimore (Cheryl Ladd), who is a time traveler, in the hangar where he is examining the debris of the airplane and is immediately educed by her. They have one night stand and on the next morning, Louise tries to convince him to stay with her, but the reluctant Bill goes to the hangar. While snooping around in the debris, Bill is attacked by Louise, who does not seem to recognize him, and her friends. Soon Bill learns that Louise is a time traveler from one thousand year from the future, when the population is sterile, and replaces the passengers from airplanes that will crash by corpses with the same characteristics. However they have to be careful to avoid paradoxes in time that may destroy their world.

"Millennium" is one of the most original sci-fis of the cinema history, with a story that is unique. The plot is very well-constructed with humor, and Cheryl Ladd is extremely beautiful. There are flaws that are not relevant, maybe due to budget restraint, but the story is excellent and unforgettable. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Millennium - Guardiões do Futuro" ("Millennium – Guardians of the Future")
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8/10
How Sad…
runner-159 March 2003
No not how sad this movie is but how sad it is to see that the average viewer of this movie has neither the intelligence nor attention span to see this movie for what it is. A great sci-fi B-movie that remains VERY true to the original story with above B-movie acting and production quality. I read this story over 20 years ago in middle school and was fascinated. When I finally was able to see it as a movie I was pleased with the faithfulness to the short story. Kris Krisstoferson and Cheryl Ladd (I always had a crush on Ladd,) are perfect as Smith and Baltimore, and the time travel aspect was interwoven throughout the story, jumping from present to future to past and much more. I guess this was just too much for some people to follow. (Humm, Just a thought out loud, these same people seem to have no problem with movies like Pulp Fiction doing this.) My only complaints are with the duplicate scenes, while they are necessary to the story line they are too long, they should have been kept much shorter lasting just long enough to fill in the blanks from the first time around. Instead they are actually longer the second time around. And the Strange voice-over at the end of the movie should have been left out, it cheapens what could have been a very powerful ending. Over all I would give this movie a 7.5 if they had left out the voice over at the end it would have gotten a 8.5, but since they don't allow tenths on the rating vote, I gave it a 8.
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8/10
Dated but still a great time travel flick
jeffpk8 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Millennium had production problems but stands up surprisingly well even after all this time. Additionally, the DVD version has the improved end-graphics that were originally intended for the theatrical release.

This is a very ambitious script. Probably the best screen telling of a twisted-world-line story I have ever seen. Unfortunately it failed the rule of 3, a well known film adage:

"Say anything important 3 times. The first time subtly. That's foreshadowing and maybe 5% of your audience will even notice. Next say it directly. That will cover the next 10% of the audience.

For the last 85% of the bell curve, hit them over the head with it."

Millennium explains the divergent world lines of its two main characters through the comments of Sherman the "personal robot" but fails to beat morons over the head with it.

The paradox that causes the disaster at the movie's end is really only stated subtly and once, and left for the audience to reason out. No one ever says "the professor would have invented time travel if the actions of the time travelers hadn't prevented it" but all the clues are there for anyone paying attention.

I agree with others that the "timequake" mechanism is a little hokey but it provided a good way to demonstrate the impending disaster in a way the audience can relate to. After all, spaceships in space make no noise, except in the movies, where they have to to get people to understand that they are moving fast. You seldom here people complain about that license and I see this, while a bit more heavy handed, as fundamentally no different.

All in all an excellent script done quite well considering the sfx of the day and the limits on budget
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8/10
Varley had a good script
vwluke8 September 2005
This was a much better movie than I expected. What I thought was obvious before I saw the movie is that this was going to be low budget, the actors were going to be from TV series, and that it didn't stay in the theaters too long. I was very pleasantly surprised by this film. In fact I liked it better than Star Wars episodes 1-3. I found the romance more believable between Ladd and Kristopherson than between Christensen and Portman. I know that this isn't heavy praise for the acting in Millennium but its just a bit of perspective. I actually read the novelization of the screenplay by Varley and it explains more of the motivations for the characters. This may not be an easy book to find. The short story it was based on is much easier to find.

This film used the film noir aspect of everyone lighting up but managed to explain the smoking for health reasons. If you have a chance to see this movie you should. Just ignore the old tech special effects.
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10/10
Cheryl Ladd ***** (5 Stars)
Pegge Durkin8 January 2008
I really like Cheryl Ladd in Vegas, and in just about everything she does.

She is great in Millennium!! But this movie is tough to follow.

But if you can watch it with a SciFi fan or someone who is really smart its really interesting.

(After the movie talk the conversation continued.) Compared to the explanation of why the Red Shift, and the Theory of Relativity, and the expanding 3 dimension surface of a 4 dimension universe shows that our Universe is only 14.5 billion years old.

AND that there are an infinite AND growing number of universes.

All of a sudden my "really smart person's" explanation of the movie seemed simple.

(There really are people like those on TV's "Big Bang Theory".)

Pegge
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7/10
B-grade science-fiction, but highly enjoyable and well cast...
moonspinner5525 January 2006
Here's a guilty pleasure for science-fiction buffs: Kris Kristofferson plays a plane crash investigator who becomes involved with a mysterious woman (the smoldering Cheryl Ladd, looking quite the fox); turns out she's a time-traveling visitor from the future who rescues doomed passengers aboard crippled airliners, replacing them with lookalike corpses. Intriguing premise gets a decent treatment on a medium-sized budget. The plot threads are wound fairly tight and the story plays out satisfyingly. Daniel J. Travanti is terrific in support as a wily physicist and time travel specialist with a Cheshire cat-like grin; Kristofferson is quite commendable, and Ladd is frequently amazing. A real sleeper, and an entertaining slice of '80s cinema. *** from ****
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10/10
Greatest Movie About Time Traveling Airplanes - EVER
PartialMovieViewer25 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This has to be absolutely the best movie ever made about disappearing airplanes, AND starring both Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd. I cannot think of another movie brandishing such a spot-tinkling plot AND flaunting the same grandest-of-grand cast – talk about stellar quality. I laughed, I cried, I snored, I coughed a smoker's cough – this movie was created for those who absorb brainless fun. This flick is such a joy to watch. Of course, I see that there is a book floating around out there - and I am so – so – so sorry, I did not read the stupid thing. For crying out loud - I totally enjoyed this cinematic extravaganza, so why would I read a book (like every other stinking book converted to celluloid) sooooo much better? Pfffft! Sorry, but I am not some silly little glutton for disappointment or a pretentious twit surviving on self-aggrandizement. Hurray for those who read the book, now get over yourselves. I watch movies to watch movies – not to see what was omitted from a book….sheeesh.
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5/10
Interesting Sci-Fi premise but poor script
Aphex9724 May 2001
This movie is a classic example of how an interesting science fiction idea can be ruined by adding a lame romance subplot into the mix. This movie had a very interesting premise: Two planes collide in mid air and crash. The chief investigator (Kris Krisstoferson) of the accident discovers some very strange elements to the crash. His inquiries attract his attention (and affections) to a mysterious girl, who eventually reveals the truth that people from the future are traveling back in time to steal passengers that are about to die on airplane crashes. They do this to help save the dying human race in a dank apocalyptic future.

While this is a very interesting premise, all the interesting science fiction and mystery elements are unfortunately made nearly worthless by the horrible pacing, extremely poor dialogue, annoying redundancy (we see many of the more boring scenes twice from different perspectives!), and worst of all, the silly romance plot.

I liked the look of the future world in this movie. The production designers did a good job, especially on Sherman the personal servant and on the future elders, who were held together loosely with spare parts in their tubes. However, the dialogue was so cheesy I could only enjoy the excellent scenery when the actors didn't open their mouths to ruin it. The ending of this movie was so horribly cheesy I wanted to vomit. When will Hollywood learn that never every movie needs a romantic subplot and a unrealistic happy ending...

FINAL RATING: 5/10 - The only reason I even give it a 5 is because of the interesting premise and nice production design. Its sad that these excellent elements were ruined by such a poor script.

Noob Aalox
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9/10
Funny black comedy disguised as science fiction
aromatic-21 April 2000
I see by other comments that some people actually mistook this for serious science fiction. You missed the point of this one. This "B" movie is loaded with wry witticisms, take-offs, and inside jokes. Many are too clever to catch in the first watching. My favorite bit is Lloyd Bochner's marvelous take-off on his Twilight Zone character. Another terrific bit concerns the fact that Cheryl Ladd's character has to continually smoke to maintain her "health" because the air in 1980's Earth is too "pure" for her. Too funny.
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Sufficiently different and thought provoking
sat-elite26 June 2004
As below - yes its cheesy, yes the main characters could have done better to stick with their type cast roles (none appear to have suffered as a result though ) , yes its got Tron type effects, and yes its really not to be compared to the blockbusters of the day , BUT

For a decent script movie thats been dispatched to the small screen, it really does have a lot of redeeming features.

Cheryl and Kris put in fine performances to keep the story bubbling along. Nice paradoxes keep the intelligent amused, but will fly over the head of those wanting Independence Day shoot ups.

The love of the robot for Ladd points strongly to where Lexx got the side story lines.

If its on TV make an excuse to see/record it.
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