Twelve Monkeys (12 Monkeys) Reviews
Roger Ebert observed 12 Monkeys' depiction of the future, finding similarities with Blade Runner (1982; also scripted by David Peoples) and Brazil (1985; also directed by Terry Gilliam). "The film is a celebration of madness and doom, with a hero who tries to prevail against the chaos of his condition, and is inadequate", Ebert wrote. "This vision is a cold, dark, damp one, and even the romance between Willis and Stowe feels desperate rather than joyous. All of this is done very well, and the more you know about movies (especially the technical side), the more you're likely to admire it. And as entertainment, it appeals more to the mind than to the senses." Desson Thomson of The Washington Post praised the art direction and set design. "Willis and Pitts's performances, Gilliam's atmospherics and an exhilarating momentum easily outweigh such trifling flaws in the script", Thomson reasoned. Peter Travers from Rolling Stone magazine cited the film's success on Gilliam's direction and Willis' performance. Internet reviewer James Berardinelli believed the filmmakers took an intelligent and creative motive for the time travel subplot. Rather than being sent to change the past, James Cole is instead observing it to make a better future. Richard Corliss of Time magazine felt the film's time travel aspect and apocalyptic depiction of a bleaker future were clichés. "In its frantic mix of chaos, carnage and zoo animals, 12 Monkeys is Jumanji for adults", Corliss wrote.
Terry Gilliam is a director who never have and nor will take the easy way. I respect him for that. I reckon every movie he has been involved in has been a chaotic mess with various results. I reckon he needs that sort of project and environment to be able to deliver his best. However, he doesn´t always succeed. With "Twelve Monkeys" Gilliam moves in wellknown territories. The vibe and setting is close to "Brazil" but with a time travel setting. A sort of mix of "Donnie Darko" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" with a sci-fi vibe and a nod to how science and biological holocausts can collapse our planet. "Twelve Monkeys" is unique and original in many ways, and the storyline manages to keep the viewer on the right track throughout the movie despite a quite dynamic and fluctuant plot with present and future settings. Gilliam pushes the idea that one can't change the past and there´s a thin line between sanity and madness. The narrative is thought-provoking and I do enjoy that. When re-seeing it today Bruce Willis does Bruce Willis, while Brad Pitt steals most scenes as the warped Jeffrey Goines. What I also noticed is that the film is tainted by the 90s way of making films, lot of close ups and tilted angles. "Twelve Monkeys" is as said unique, but it didn´t create the same impact on me when re-seeing it as it did in 1995. Trivia: "Twelve Monkeys" is inspired by the French short film "La Jetée" (1962); as in "La Jetée", characters are haunted by the image of their own death. 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 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 $168 million worldwide. 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.
Love this movie.