MILLENNIUM BUGS (2023)
Release Date: 02/07/23 [VOD]
Studio: Indican Pictures
"Set in the days leading up to the year 2000, friends Kelly and Miguel - along with the rest of the world - find themselves facing mounting pressures and the harsh realities of their futures."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Director Alejandro Montoya Marín is back, and for those that don't instantly recognize the name, I implore you to seek out the man's talents because you’re missing out. This time around we are treated to a dramedy set right at the end of the millennium and are guided down a path to the new year through the difficulties of growing up, the power to never stop searching for what you truly want in life, and how to eventually come to terms with yourself, especially when finding who you truly are. Alejandro Montoya Marín brings us a deep, sophisticated look at a couple of good friends that are ready to find themselves in a world that hasn't yet found them at the beginning of the end of the millennium.
Montoya Marín bleeds style, a phrase I tend to bring up quite often when discussing his apt use of striking lighting cues, wonderfully paced and cut together transitions, as well as always finely positioned shots that gather the most from his storytelling and performers. The only largely notable flaw that needs to be mentioned is the film's opening sequence; it may be a personal critique deep down in my membrane, but the opening was one of the few shortcomings that failed to capture the time period to the greatest possible degree. Once the first scene is over and the opening credits start to roll in, the Millennium Bugs that myself and so many others will truly dig arrives on the scene.
Fueled with so much heart, Millennium Bugs instantaneously brings out a grin as the friendly duo of Kelly and Miguel make their rounds a couple nights before the end of '99. The film has a high energy to it but casually slows when emotions need to seep in. The rapidly moving plot, apart from the moments of seriousness, is always fascinating as Kelly and Miguel continue to grapple with layers and layers of their friendship while having a "great" night on the town. There's so much occurring at any given moment, and the characters are so difficult to turn away from as they continue to drive deeper down the path they've paved for themselves that when the credits roll and the duo have made up their minds about what needs to happen, you'll want to almost instantly rewatch the film and gather up the little pieces along the way that drove them to their decision.
Speaking of the characters in the film, we are primarily gifted with our two leads, Kelly and Miguel. Katy Erin and Michael Lovato shine bright in their significant roles, offering so much to love about these characters. Kelly and Miguel are the Dante Hicks and Randal Graves of the younger generation; a duo of friends that occasionally have it out for one another, are in most regards different from one another, and need some time for the audience to grow accustomed to their presences. Millennium Bugs is filled with distinct personalities, with side characters all seeming to have huge ones, such as The Captain, the elderly neighbor that Kelly hates for no particular reason, and the HBO comedian that hogs the stage. Some blend well with the main duo while others stand out as fascinating character studies that didn't quite come to fruition. Within the film there's two hidden romances established in the characters' past and while Miguel's sudden collision with an old fling sparks something within him, it seems a little out of left field from what we're aware of his character at that particular moment in the feature. On the other hand, the subtleties of Kelly's romantic backstory lead myself to care more for her emotionally down the road over Miguel's sloppy break, but an emotional turning point on a rooftop in the final act crafts a fine conclusion that acts as a bit of the necessary connective tissue needed to get the full impact from their stories.
Visually, Millennium Bugs is striking. The production doesn't feel as though it's appearing to force its decade through to the audience, but instead that the film naturally resides in the 90s. The best set in the entire film being the video store sections bringing back memories of going out to the rental store to check out the newest releases, another connection with Randal Graves that the film coincidentally has. One moment which arrives in the middle of the film involves sudden drawings and an attempt at animation to depict a scene at play. This scene is over before you know what happened, but it certainly eliminates any thrill that may have been had through the act taking place. Possibly for budgetary reasons the film didn't show this scene in completion, so nonetheless the impact isn't as great as it could have been.
Throughout Millennium Bugs there is an abundance of audio cues to inject yet another purely unique quality to the final picture. The score present in the film functions well, but there are moments where the score comes across as a tad cheesy when in combination with the actions taking place on screen. When it comes to lyrical songs however, and how they're presented, Montoya Marín thus far has been excellent at introducing a vast array of different music into his films. The selection here has certainly left my ears open for more from the bands included within.
Millennium Bugs is destined to be the next great cult classic. It's a film that'll quickly resonate with viewers and give them something new with every repeated viewing. The characters you grow to love by the end and the scenarios they get entangled in throughout will continue to grow to have deeper and deeper meaning with every new sitting with the retro-esque film. Don't let this one slip through, and check out Millennium Bugs like your living in the year 1999.