5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2008
Sci-fi film in which Bruce Willis plays a time traveller who travels back to the year 1990 from a dystopian future to stop a virus that in the year 1996 will wipe out most of mankind and forces the survivors to live underground. However, when he arrives in the year 1990, he is believed to be mad and is placed in a mental institution, under the care of psychiatrist Madeleine Stowe. Stowe also believes that Willis is suffering from mental illness, with paranoid delusions of the end of the world, but then Willis mysteriously escapes from the solitary confinement cell he has been placed in following an attempt to escape the mental institution. Six years later, in 1996, Willis appears again and tracks Stowe down, taking her hostage and forcing her to drive across country to Philadelphia, because he needs her help to stop what he refers to as the `army of the twelve monkeys'. Stowe believes that she has been kidnapped by a dangerous schizophrenic and does not believe his claims, that he is from a future in which most of the world's population has been wiped out by a deadly virus and that he has come to try and stop this virus. But when strange things start happening that verify that Willis is indeed a time traveller, Stowe is forced to put her professional scepticism to one side and accept that Willis is not insane but has been speaking the truth the whole time. Now Stowe tracks Willis down, and is anxious to help him try to stop the virus and the end of the world. But now Willis has become the unbeliever, and has started to doubt his own sanity and wonder whether his memories of time travel and a dystopian future are real or rather the invention of a deranged mind. Ironically, Willis' psychiatrist now has to convince him that he is sane after all, and the stakes could not be higher, because if he does not start to believe this, all will be lost. This film was a quite flawless work of science-fiction imagination, relying on story rather than special effects to make its mark. Bruce Willis is excellent as our bemused hero who doesn't know whether he is sane or crazy and Madeleine Stowe is also faultless as the psychiatrist who at first believes that Willis is mentally ill but slowly becomes a believer. Brad Pitt is also notable as an eccentric animal rights activist that Willis first meets in the mental institution. This film has few if any special effects, even in the scenes set in the future and it is a testament to Willis's acting ability that I found myself empathising with the pain of Willis' character as he joyfully experienced the things that we take for granted - clean air, music, being able to live above ground - in contrast to the horrors of his own time. This film was an exemplar piece of story-telling; with its message about appreciating the world that we have even with its imperfections, a wonderful red herring and an excellent twist near the end of the film that elevated what would have been just an excellent film into an outstanding one. Highly recommended.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2011
They say it's easier to write a sad song than it is write a happy one. The same goes for reviews. A flawed, or terrible film gives you plenty to moan about. A movie were everything about it ranges from good to sublime leaves you with very little to say. And so it is with 12 Monkeys were the only complaints I can dredge up are tiny little niggles.
I'm not saying the film is perfect, but it's very close to it. The story is properly compelling, it's well told, well paced, well acted etc. It's also visually one of the most interesting looking films I've ever seen. There is often a surreal quality to the images with extensive use of Dutch angles (camera slanted to put most things in the frame on a diagonal slope). I wouldn't call it a pretty film, just that it's visually inventive and constantly attention grabbing in a pleasing way.
I think the director himself once said that the acting of Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt has a tendency to split audiences. Most people think one gives a great performance and the other one a weak, overly mannered one. I've previously thought Brad Pitt's acting was a bit fake and unconvincing. Over time I've grown to think he's good, not outstanding or anything, but appropriate for a mentally unstable person.
The child actor during the airport scene is a minor weak link as he seems to be over-emoting like crazy with his eyes. He's not bad or annoying, he's just not note perfect.
Logically the film is not one hundred percent watertight, though I doubt many, if any, time travel films ever are. There might be some holes, but the film is too good to be affected by them. Why don't they go further back in time and correct their own mistakes (the airport scene at the end throws up a few questions along this line)? A question like this is kind of pointless as it's simply more dramatic and poignant the way it is.
This is one of my all time favourite movies. The script and direction are as good as any film I've ever seen. Bruce Willis gives his best performance and basically everything else about the film is either good or borderline perfect.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2008
This is without doubt one of the best sci-fi/time travel movies ever made. 12 Monkeys demands more from the viewer than your average movie.
The plot is intelligent, the acting is superb and it looks beatifully gritty.
I never get tired of watching this film, it's a classic that constantly rewards the viewer with each subsequent viewing.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
It may be my short attention span, but usually so-called ‘cult’ films do not do it for me. However, the exception would have to be 12 monkeys. Treading on the border between reality and fantasy, Terry Gilliam takes you on an uncompromising, dark and chilling journey into his beautifully crafted dreamworld. This is not a simple film: you may have to watch it several times to understand it fully, and Gilliam is careful to leave some unanswered questions.
There are outstanding performances from Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe and Brad Pitt, and the plot is complex and absorbing, but in my opinion it is the hand of the director that has made this film so outstanding. Those who have seen The Ring will know that repetition of motifs and clues: things-you-know-you’ve-seen-earlier-but-you-can’t-quite-remember-where, can produce the greatest shiver up the spine, and this is certainly true here. From the mesmerising symbol of the Twelve Monkeys, showing in hallucinogenic spirals at the starting credits, to the image of a lion on a rooftop, the boy in the well, or a suitcase covered with labels, Gilliam tugs at our awareness and our senses. In certain scenes, such as the bizarre dream-sequence repeated throughout the film, reality is suspended: the characters wear bright, improbable clothes against a white background to create the question: what is real? This surrealism is echoed in other shots where we see, for instance, a herd of giraffes galloping down a motorway. Gilliam lays this bizarre beauty against the genuine terror of the voices in Bruce Willis’s head, until you can no longer be true what is the product of the bending of the laws of nature in sending people back in time, and what is the product of Cole’s disturbed mind. A chilling, apocalyptic film that should definitely be seen.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2011
Video: 1080p high definition widescreen 1.85:1
Audio: English DTS-HS Master audio 5.1: frencha canadian, italian, spanish, latin american spanish dts surround 5.1
Subtitles: english SDH, french acanadian, italian, spanish, latin american spanish, korean, swedish, danish, finnish, dutch, norwegian, portuguese, greek, traditional madarin
very good film with a good trasnfer, but the extras are all low definition, even thou they are interesting
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2005
A real thriller of a film, carefully crafted and so well-thought out that I used it in a philosophy essay about time-travel at university.
The two main actors - Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis - are so unbelievably good that you can feel both James Cole's anguish and Geoffrey Goines' agitation oozing from the screen. Madeleine Stowe's attempts to rival her male colleagues fall a bit flat - she seems a bit like a jumpy Alanis Morisette in the "Ironic" video rather than the character she is supposed to be playing (it would have been better had Railly remained calmer and more composed as a foil to Cole and Goines' supposed lunacy) but gives a decent performance.
The exquisite location filming and atmospheric use of dirt and decay made me think I was in some Orwell novel - don't watch this without taking a long hot shower afterwards - but the tension between Cole's mission and longing for the "good ol' days" is poorly developed, as is the romance between Cole and Railly - perhaps there isn't supposed to be one, but the on-screen hints were sending confusing mixed messages out, and the film would not have suffered had there been less ambiguity, particularly in the final scenes.
There is an 87 minute "Hamster Factor" documentary also on the DVD but I was so exhausted by the film that to sit through almost as much again immediately afterwards was too much. More information on the cast would have been nice as well, but at the end of the day a good movie should speak for itself - and this one does so at a high volume.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2013
One of the best SF films ever made, ranking right up there with Blade Runner et al. Also featuring Bruce Willis' best performance to date as the desperate and very vulnerable hero. In my opinion the last truly great SF film before the industry went into a coma sometime in the late nineties. If you have more than five DVDs in your collection, this film is a must.
My DVD of the film
had only a very mediocre picture, though. I checked various DVD comparison sites, and this one turned out the winner in terms of clearest picture:
And indeed on my setup (Oppo upscaling player and Toshiba 40-inch LCD) the difference in terms of clarity and color reproduction is striking. Not HD, of course, but much more film-like than the old blurry DVD.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2013
Director Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys which is a story set in the year 2035 starring Bruce Willis as the reluctant "volunteer" aided by Doctor Kathryn Railly played by Madeline Stowe, they have only have two clues to solve the puzzle of the Twelve Monkeys which threatens to completely erase humanity from existence this was originally released in the cinema in the U K in April 1996.
Released on Blu-ray on a 50GB disc in 1080p in 1.85.1 aspect ratio with English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 the disc also includes French Canadian, Italian, Spanish, Latin America Spanish DTS Surround 5.1 audio tracks and the following subtitles English for the hard of hearing, French Canadian, Italian, Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Korean, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Greek and Traditional Mandarin in September 2009 comparing this to the DVD release is like night and day the soundtrack is more atmospheric and detailed the colours have more depth along with the greater range of blacks make this a worthy up-grade.
The bonus material includes the making of documentary: The Hamster and other tales of Twelve Monkeys, The Theatrical trailer, Twelve Monkeys photo gallery, Audio commentary with Terry Gilliam and producer Charles Roven...
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2010
Much like other reviews of this film - it's a shining example of Gilliam's directorial vision, with a deliciously circuitous storyline and a fantastic ensemble cast in one of the best sci-fi flicks of the 90s.
Share the blue-ray transfer is so weak - it honestly doesn't look much better than the DVD (which I also own) put through a decent upscaler. Details are horribly soft, although grain is still very high in places. Seeing as this is a VC1 encode as opposed to the much poorer MPEG2 transfers there shouldn't really be any excuse; as it is this just seems to be another "release it on blu-ray as quickly as possible!" cash ins. Wait for a better release.
If you want a really good HD experience, give Blade Runner or Zulu a whirl first.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2010
I'm happy to have been able to locate this movie after searching for it for quite some time. It arrived quickly and in great condition.
The movie itself was amazing, just what I'd expect from a Terry Gilliam movie, from the camera work to the story. It's typically a time travel movie, but it constantly pulls you in and out of the idea that it may just be in the main characters head, especially since the future itself has Gilliam's trademark over-the-top sets that just make it seem so dreamlike.
I can't say any more without ruining the ending, and what a great ending it is. Easily one of my all-time favourite movies I strongly recommend it.