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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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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.
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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.
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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.
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on 14 April 2011
twelve monkeys
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
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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.
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on 28 October 2009
This is an excellent film but unfortunately the transfer of this movie to Blu ray does not really warrant a High Definition tag. Although the movie sound has been upgraded, the picture quality is rather poor.

This Blu ray disc is worth it, only IF you can get it for a BUDGET price, as it is easily the worst picture transfer I have seen on Blu ray so far for a major movie.
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2004
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.
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on 5 September 2015
One of Gilliam's best films and maybe his last great one. Apparently an attempt to put his touch in a mainstream film with big star, it is in fact a surprise because Bruce Willis gives one of his first compelling and dramatic performances, and the film is as fascinating as not superficial and clichè at all.
Maybe this is even better than other and more independent film from Gilliam, because it finds the right balance between intriguing entertainment, glamour and his personal and mysterious touch and point of view.
It is a kind of enigmatic spiral where the story generates itself through a time paradox and it is also a homage to "the woman who lived twice" (and the man, too, in this case). But it's above all a story of tragic solitude whose drama finds its perfect representation in the very idea of the time paradox and eternal returns of events, actions, situations, like there is no space for redemption. Visually stunning in a great blu ray
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on 24 January 2006
Rating Explanation

I watch and own a huge number of films and can sit through most
dross. My ratings are based on my personal response to films,not any standard of quality.
5 stars: These are special. My desert island films.

The time is the future; The world has been ravaged by a bio-engineered plague,and the powers-that-be have decided it's time to do something about it.

Their decision? Put the half-nelson on a poor, unhappy convict (Willis) and tell him he's going back in time to hunt down the source, and kill the lunatic that released the bug before he can do it, thus changing history. Armed with just the knowledge that he's looking for a group called 'The 12 Monkeys', he is dispatched, only to find himself in an unforseen conflict with the local law and a Section 8.

Great performance from Willis, and it was while watching this film that I realised Brad Pitt is actually more than a pretty face.

One of the best twists in the end of a tale I have ever seen.
If you like slighty off-the-wall films this is a must.
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on 11 July 2016
I am not interested in the DVD’s content, only in whether it contains English subtitles for the deaf. A simple solution is to display the back of the DVD case where this information is shown. If you wish to help, please email Amazon asking for the rear of the DVD case to be displayed. Thank you.
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