Blu-ray Review: Millennium & R.O.T.O.R. Double Feature
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Director: Michael Anderson
Screenwriter: John Varley
Cast: Kris Kristofferson, Cheryl Ladd, Daniel J. Travanti, Robert Joy
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated PG-13 | 106 Minutes
Release Date: February 23, 2016

“The first rule is: Never sleep with anyone who’s crazier than you are. I don’t know if you’re crazier, but you’re right up there on the top 10 of my weird list, lady.”

Directed by Michael Anderson (Logan’s Run), 1989’s Millennium is based on the 1977 short story “Air Raid” by John Varley, who also wrote the screenplay. The film concerns of a group of time travelers from a post-apocalyptic future who travel back in time to steal passengers from doom aircraft. You see, in the future, the human population has been decimated. Because of pollution and other environmental factors, humans are no longer able to reproduce. To combat extinction, teams are sent back in time to abduct people who are about to die in plane crashes and keep them in stasis until they can be sent into the future to repopulate Earth.

Seems like a really convoluted plan, no? I mean, if you have the ability to travel through time, why not go back and reverse the circumstances that led to the demise of our species? It just seems like so much work, disguising time travelers as flight attendants and kidnapping passengers instead of altering history with legislation and/or assassinations.

Millennium is a weird mess of a movie. From its bizarre premise to its low-budget special effects and kitschy production design, Anderson’s film is stuck in that pre-Star Wars era of ’70s sci-fi. Another weird thing? The humans of the future must smoke cigarettes in order to stay alive. Apparently, these future-cigs protect their lungs from the poisoned atmosphere or something. The good news is, if you’re a smoker now, then your lungs are already prepared for the apocalypse! Smoke ’em if you got ’em!

Distributed by Scream Factory, Millennium comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer in 1.85:1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo track. This is the best Anderson’s film has ever looked, if you choose to waste 106 minutes watching it. It’s watchable, I suppose – but it isn’t good enough (or terrible enough) to be memorable.

Synopsis: When safety investigator Bill Smith (Kris Kristofferson) looks into a disastrous airplane crash, he soon makes a shocking discovery – one that will impact the future of humanity itself. The beautiful but mysterious Louise (Cheryl Ladd) may prove to be the key to it all – but can Smith figure out the truth in time?

Director: Cullen Blaine
Screenwriter: Cullen Blaine, Budd Lewis
Cast: Margaret Trigg, Richard Gesswein, Jayne Smith, Michael Hunter
Distributor: Scream Factory
Not Rated | 90 Minutes
Release Date: February 23, 2016

“Let me tell you something, mister. You fire me and I’ll make more noise than two skeletons making love in a tin coffin, brother!”

If you haven’t seen Cullen Blaine‘s 1988 classic, you’re missing out on one of the worst movies ever made. I know that doesn’t sound like you’re missing out on much, but you really are. It’s a movie so amazingly terrible that you can only watch it in awe, wondering who could have made such a thing. The script, by Blaine and Budd Lewis has some of the most bat-shit crazy dialogue you’ve ever heard. Here’s a choice bit:

L.A. Scientist: “Who are we to create such a thing, heroes and villains?”

Captain Barrett Coldyron: “The only difference between a hero and a villain is the amount of compensation they take for their services. At our pay scale, I’d say we’re closer to heroes.”

Huh? What does that even mean? Go home, Coldyron, you’re drunk. R.O.T.O.R. is a weird, low-budget mashup of The Terminator, RoboCop, and Judge Dredd, with slapstick robots, bad acting, and atrocious dubbing. It’s the Troll 2 of sci-fi cinema, a gloriously inept piece of filmmaking that belongs in the “best worst movie” conversation. Thank God for Scream Factory that R.O.T.O.R. is now available in high-definition so that future generations can enjoy this hidden gem and tell tale of its legend.

R.O.T.O.R. speeds onto Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer in 1.78:1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this beloved classic would get this kind of treatment – it looks a billion times better than it has any right to. Scream Factory deserves a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute for their work there.

Overall, this double feature collection is worth picking up for R.O.T.O.R. alone. Instead of wasting time on Millennium, just watch R.O.T.O.R. twice. I wish there were more special features – a full-length documentary on the making of R.O.T.O.R. would be truly legendary – but I won’t push my luck. Scream Factory continues doing God’s work by digging up forgotten flops and treating them like Criterion Collection picks.

Special Features:

– Alternate Ending (Millennium)
– Theatrical Trailers

Synopsis: When corrupt Police Commander Earl Buglar (Michael Hunter) orders the development and construction of the ultimate weapon in the war on crime, robotics expert Barrett Coldyron (Richard Gesswein) warns against the dangers of such a project – and loses his job in the process. But when the prototype R.O.T.O.R (Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research) is accidentally activated, the city is suddenly faced with a rampaging mechanical maniac acting as judge, jury, and executioner – and only Coldyron can stop him!

Millennium Trailer

R.O.T.O.R. Trailer

Blu-ray Cover Art

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