Taglines: The people aboard flight 35 are about to land 1,000 years from where they planned to.
Bill Smith, chief investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), has been assigned to determine whether human error is the cause of an airline crash. He and his team of investigators are very confused by the words on the cockpit voice recorder by the crew relating to the crash. But at the same time, a theoretical physicist named Dr. Arnold Mayer has a real professional curiosity about the crash, which borders on science fiction.
While giving a university lecture, he talks about time travel and the possibility of visitors from the future. Smith discovers the involvement of an organization of time travellers from a future Earth irreparably polluted who seek to rejuvenate mankind from those about to perish in the past.
Millennium is a 1989 science fiction film directed by Michael Anderson and starring Kris Kristofferson, Cheryl Ladd, Robert Joy, Brent Carver, Al Waxman and Daniel J. Travanti. The original music score was composed by Eric N. Robertson. 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. 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.
About the Story
A U.S. passenger airliner in 1989 is about to be struck from above by another airliner 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 dead! All of them! They’re burned up!”
Bill Smith is a National Transportation Safety Board investigator hired to determine whether the collision and subsequent crash of both aircraft was due to some mechanical fault or human error on the part of either pilot. He and his team of investigators are confused by the flight engineer’s words on the cockpit voice recorder, as there is no evidence of a fire on board before the plane hit the ground. At the same time, a theoretical physicist named Dr. Arnold Mayer has a professional curiosity about the crash, which borders on science fiction. While giving a lecture, he talks about time travel and the possibility of visitors from the future.
Time travelers are visiting the present day and stealing passengers from doomed aircraft. In the future, because of pollution, the human population is no longer able to reproduce, so teams are sent in to the past to abduct groups of people who are about to die and keep them in stasis until they will be sent into the far future to repopulate the Earth. While many people in the future are in poor health, some are healthy enough to successfully pass for 20th Century humans, and are given the best of food and care so that they can successfully infiltrate, using reproductions of contemporary clothing.
Every incursion into the past causes an accompanying “timequake” whose magnitude is proportional to the effects of the incursion. 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 affect the future any further and replacing them with copies of those who would have died. Thus, the flight engineer’s strange comment came because all the passengers had been replaced with pre-burned duplicates in preparation for the impending crash.
While on a mission to 1963, a time travel operative on board a plane is shot before it crashes, losing a stun weapon as a result. This weapon winds up in the possession of Dr. Mayer, setting him on the path to working out what is happening. Twenty-five years later, Smith finds a similar artifact among the wreckage of the crash portrayed at the beginning of the film.
Directed by: Michael Anderson
Starring: Kris Kristofferson, Cheryl Ladd, Daniel J. Travanti, Robert Joy, Lloyd Bochner, Brent Carver, David McIlwraith, Maury Chaykin, Lawrence Dane
Screenplay by: John Varley
Production Design by: Gene Rudolf
Cinematography by: Rene Ohashi
Film Editing by: Ron Wisman
Costume Design by: Olga Dimitrov
Set Decoration by: Jacques M. Bradette
Art Direction by: Charles Dunlop
Music by: Eric Robertson
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: August 25, 1989