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Sci-Fi - Time Travel

Twelve Monkeys (1995)

Duration2h 9m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Denmark: 15 
Source of storyInspired by the short film La Jetée by Chris Marker
DirectorTerry Gilliam
Writers/ScriptDavid Webb Peoples, Janet Peoples
StarringBruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, David Morse, Christopher Plummer, Christopher Meloni, 
RatingsIMDb: 8/10 by 610,110 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 88% by 74 reviewers. Review2view: 8/10

Elevator Pitch: It is 2035 and the remains of the human population of earth are living underground, nearly all life on the planet having been extinguished by a virus which was initiated in 1996. A group of scientists send a convict, James Cole, back in time to secure a sample of the virus in its purest form to allow them to develop an antidote. He accidentally arrives in 1990, is evaluated by psychiatrist Katheryn Railly and incarcerated in a mental hospital, where he meets Jeffrey Goines. He is later spirited back into 2035, and sent back, this time to 1996 but now believes himself to be mad, although Dr Railly now believes him. Goines, is now leading a group, known as the twelve monkeys who may be going to release the virus, stolen from his father’s laboratory. Can the spread of the virus be stopped.

Content: No sex or nudity, except for the unfortunate James Cole at various moments. Cole spends time in the mental hospital where Jeffrey Goines claims he initiated the idea of releasing the virus. The scientists in 2035 seems to be able to recall him at will, resulting in him disappearing at odd times. Once there he is interrogated by the scientists using a very odd ball covered in screens.   At one point Cole is accidentally sent back to WW1 trenches, and it is a photo of him there which convinces Dr Railly he is telling the truth. Cole has a recurring dream where he sees a cataclysmic event on the concourse of an airport, and we see him watching what is happening as a boy.

A View: I liked this film a lot, as did almost everyone else who saw it although one wonders just a bit how it would have played without Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, the latter seeming to have independent control of his eyes – either that or he was wearing a contact. Madeleine Stowe, an actress we don’t seem to have seen much of, was absolutely terrific as Dr Railly. Time travel is always a bit difficult, so its better just to go along with it and not to worry if you don’t quite understand it.

Time travel films don’t always work very well but here are three reviewed on this site which make good use of the  facility; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Looper, and the rarely seen Retroactive.  

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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