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12 Monkeys

Terry Gilliam's 1995 science fiction film starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt.

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12 Monkeys - craziness! (take two)

  • Feb 8, 2004
  • by
Pros: Something different for a change.

Cons: Aw, I don't like the end. =P

The Bottom Line: A lil old though it may be, it's a pretty good change from the stuff that's around these days.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

What to watch, what to watch. Hey look, Bruce Willis movies. 12 Monkeys huh? Ok, cool.

It actually wasn't until about midway through the movie that I remembered seeing previews for this movie several years back. Then I was excited - it had looked kinda cool and now I got to see it. Yay!

The beginning is a tad bit scrambled. You might be sitting there thinking "Huh?", but don't worry, things work themselves out. Kind of. This movie was meant to be a bit of a brain tease so that's what you're going to get.

Enter James Cole (Bruce Willis, Die Hard, Armageddon - yay!). He lives in a time where a deadly virus (isn't it always a virus?) has killed 5 billion people (ok, practically everyone) in the year 1996. Now those who are left live underground, as animals have taken over up above. He's volunteered/chosen to go back in time to 1996 to gather information about who let the virus loose and stop it if possible. However, they goofed and instead sent him back to the year 1990. Obviously when he starts going on and on about stopping a virus in the future etc. etc., they lock him up in a mental institution. Crap.

That's where he meets a psychiatrist named Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe, Last of the Mohicans, We Were Soldiers, and Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt, Ocean's 11, Meet Joe Black) another inmate. He has chats with Jeffrey and wouldn’t you know it, ole Jeff’s dad happens to be a scientist whose expertise lies in viruses. But it's going to be a tough road ahead because things keep going awry. James keeps getting taken in and out of whatever time he happens to be in until finally makes it to 1996 – but not after getting shot in the leg from a short run in with World War II. Stupid time travel goof ups.

Once in 1996, he kidnaps Kathryn to help him in his search for information about the Army of the 12 Monkeys - the group that James has been told is responsible for releasing the virus. So who is responsible? Jeffrey? The Army of the 12 Monkeys? Is there a link? Is Jeffery’s dad involved? And if that weren’t enough for James to try and figure out, throughout everything, he keeps remembering things. He can remember Kathryn somehow, and not just from 1990, but long before that – like when he was a kid. But Kathryn thinks he's crazy and delusional – until at one point James vanishes (back to the future) and she finds that some of the things he’s told her have come to pass. And then she finds a picture of him in World War II. Things all start coming together and she realizes that James was right. Now she just has to find him again – somehow.

This movie actually has several ideas in kind of a mish-mosh, but workable way. Animal rights, time travel, insanity that leads to the question of what is real, and science are all interwoven in such an odd way, it works out. At some points in time, you might even be wondering, is James actually crazy…or right?

Oh, and if you don't like Brad Pitt, don't worry because I think he did a fabulous job of being a nutcase. He was definitely an obvious wack instead of Mr. Hot Guy as most people like to think of him as. And Bruce Willis? He does a good job wherever he goes and did very well in this movie. It’s a weird little sci-fi that kept me intrigued, and a few times even made me go "Aww!" due to the *ahem* thing between James and Kathryn. Sorry, Bruce Willis is cute, and I can't deny it. The poor baby. He's in a pretty crappy position.

I thought this movie was pretty good once things started falling into place and I wasn't baffled anymore. My only problem was the end. I felt it kind of made the movie pointless. I mean, I guess I should have seen it coming, but still. Doesn't hurt to hope. I won't say what the end was though, but because of it I just can't give this movie 4 stars. Sorry.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a try. Especially if you're into funky sci-fi stuff like me. And it is kind of interesting since the years are 1996-7 and we're sitting here in the 2000s. Usually it’s “I live in 2079 and had to go back to 2042 to stop something.” Besides, you might enjoy it more than me – ending or no ending. ^_~



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More 12 Monkeys reviews
review by . May 02, 2011
"There is no right or wrong, only popular opinion."         Twelve Monkeys, five billion people are dead, but how is it caused by the Twelve Monkeys. A better question, who are the Twelve Monkeys? Long ago I attempted this movie, and I was left gobsmacked. Terry Gilliam had yet again created a truly bizarre movie, different from his other works, in fact different from all previous works. Upon my second viewing, yet again I remain undecided on this movie. I …
review by . July 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
12 Monkeys is not only my favorite time traveling movie, but one of my favorite movies in general. It has a solid, fun and smart story, solid acting and a great feel to it.      James Cole (Willis) is a prisoner in the future where everyone lives in some sort of underground steam punk bunker after a virus killed 5 billion people in 1996 driving humanity below. It's not made clear what kind of government there is left, if any, but Cole is confronted by a group of scientists …
Quick Tip by . August 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Awesome looking movie with cool art direction, story and characters. Bruce Willis must save the world from a killer virus. I need to see this again.
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
Best movie ever! I am always interested what the off camera activities of the characters of the film and learn new secrets about the film so many times watching it.
review by . December 23, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Teaser poster
From his days with Monty Python to his visionary epic Brazil, Terry Gilliam has never been an ordinary filmmaker. His unique sense of style and his trademark absurdist humor can be found in all of his films. In 1995, he cemented his reputation as one of the most unconventional directors in America with his brilliant science fiction film, 12 Monkeys. 12 Monkeys is an apocalyptic, romantic, time travel adventure inspired by the French film, La Jetée, which was written by Chris Marker. …
review by . March 06, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Despite the cheesy special effects and some unnecessarily silly scenes that greatly detract from the movie, 12 Monkeys is a very good science fiction movie.      Set in the year 2035, a plague has wiped out much of the human race and they are forced to live deep underground. Scientists of the era send criminals back in time, using imperfect time machine technology, to try to discover the origins of the virus so they can bring a sample back to the future to find a cure, and take …
review by . January 13, 2002
Pros: Acting & directing     Cons: A bit confusing at times     The Bottom Line: Intriguing concept and I really don't think you ever 'get' all the plots involved        Just call me late to supper. Seldom do I catch a movie when released, and I had pretty much written this one off considering the reviews given. However, a recent bout with the flu and a Bruce Willis weekend on Showtime dropped this one in my lap. I'm not a big …
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Nicole ()
Ranked #165
Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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About this movie


12 Monkeys
is a 1995 science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, and Christopher Plummer.

After Universal Studios acquired the rights to remake La Jetée as a full-length film, David and Janet Peoples were hired to write the script. Under Terry Gilliam's direction, Universal granted the filmmakers a $29.5 million budget, and filming lasted from February to May 1995. The film was shot mostly in Philadelphia and Baltimore, where the story was set.

The film was released to critical praise and grossed approximately $168 million worldwide. Brad Pitt was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and won a Golden Globe for his performance. The film also won and was nominated for various categories at the Saturn Awards.
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