Twelve Monkeys (1995)

Since I decided to start with BOT I have been a bit hesitant to add certain movies to the list, although Twelve Monkeys was made over 15 years ago and it is gotten itself a very permanent spot on the IMDb Top 250 Movies list, I still feel it doesn’t come off as something I had in mind when I created the BOT series. Not to mention the fact that I started watching Twelve Monkeys with the idea of re-visiting it but as it turns out, I had not seen it despite the fact that I was so aware of its story line for some reason. I blame it on my memory for unnecessary details and watching too many movies when I was little because it seems like the right thing to do – luckily, I still had the idea to finally see the movie and now, I’ll have a chance to review it.

Twelve Monkeys was nominated for two Academy Awards, one for Brad Pitt for Best Supporting Role and the other for Best Costume Design.

Right from the start I knew I was going to love this movie (after I was certain I hadn’t seen it for some weird reason) because it embodies three elements I absolutely love. First of all, it’s a sci-fi movie and I’m now quite aware of the fact that it doesn’t matter if it’s from the 21st century, the 80s or the 90s – I will love my science fiction like there’s no tomorrow. Second and third reason are of course the manly leading roles by Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. While I have spoken about my love towards Pitt, I think I haven’t really mentioned the fact that I feel the same for Bruce. He is the kind of guy who I would love to have as a father because he seems to be so charismatic and loveable. Having these three elements together was quite impressive and I liked the movie. I especially enjoyed the fact that the idea behind it was clever and gave a lot of extra thought outside the movie.

Bruce Willis portrayed James Cole who was sent back in time to investigate a situation that caused an outbreak of a deadly virus which basically destroyed the world. The process of traveling back in time was cleverly constructed and there was a lot errors in it (he got sent back to various wrong places in time) which made it more believable. But the actual events started when Cole was locked up in the insane asylum with Brad Pitt’s character Jeffrey Goines. It marks the sort of beginning of their encounters in the future which technically is Cole’s past. I better not go in detail how the whole story, the time-line and the actual events that took place will play out, but I will say that the plot had some smart writing by David Webb Peoples (who also wrote Blade Runner).

As far as the characters go, Bruce and Pitt did a great job and especially Pitt since his role needed some more details in order to portray the crazy guy that Goines was. Since I’m pretty sure that the skill set Pitt had back then wasn’t as refined as it is now, he blew me away to be honest. I was waiting for something totally different, maybe less ugly because I truly feel like he is a pretty actor rather than a scary one but it just goes to show how the make-up department can make a difference. Bruce was like Bruce always is, I can’t even describe him as anything else than just appealing to my taste in so many ways. I mean, nobody would say he is a sexy man or an attractive one compared to Pitt, Depp or Clooney but yet, I think he’s sexy!

Visually I quite enjoyed it as well although I was not as impressed as I was with Blade Runner.

I’m not gonna go too deep into the plot, because it would take a lot of time to explain the whole time line and I’m not very keen on doing that either (I’m writing this weeks after I saw the movie). I’ll say this though, I like how David Webb Peoples portrayed time traveling as a situation that could not be avoidable. Cole went back in time as he was supposed to go back in the past (meaning his time travel was written into his destiny one might say) just to be the cause of the effects that would take place in his past as well as in his future. Well, it might seem confusing to write about but I have to admit, the plot wasn’t actually that difficult to understand and it was played out well. I like how everything came together and I truly appreciate movies that make me wonder about things outside its plot. How young Cole and Kathryn Railly, who is portrayed by Madaleine Stowe, actually feel and how confusing it might have been after the incidence that took place in the airport. I did see a kind of a small error in the plot but I won’t mention it because it might have been my own mistake of understanding the movie, although I’m not sure – the time really did go back and worth enough to confuse the regular viewer and myself a bit.

Would Twelve Monkeys deserve a place in the BOT series, I think it would but since I didn’t plan on it, I won’t put it there. Besides, 1995 doesn’t feel like something that is old but come to think of it, I was six years old when this movie came out and that is scary. The 90s are becoming classics soon and there is no way to stop it, obviously. Although I would like to have a time machine, maybe not as weird looking as in Twelve Monkeys but something like a car that will transfer me back in time – I would love to visit the 19th century and get out before the WWI. But that is just wishful thinking and the only way I can visit that era would be through movies and literature which isn’t a bad alternative at all. Besides, as Twelve Monkeys thought me, when time travel is written in my future or past, it is already there and I just have to wait patiently.

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10 thoughts on “Twelve Monkeys (1995)”

    1. I actually am glad I saw it before Looper, it had similar ideas and stuff but I actually figured out a plot mistake in Twelve Monkeys so I still think 12 Monkeys is a good pre-movie to watch before Looper.

  1. I didn’t like this movie all that much, but I’m not sure I got it when I first watched it…. and your review confirmed just that. I’m so glad I didn’t write a review, one to rewatch for sure. I love sci-fi too (though I’m very picky), and you’re right, being it from the 80s, or even before, it doesn’t matter. In fact some older sci-fi films are pretty awesome!

    And Bruce Willis looks like awesome dad, ahah

    1. I actually think it is a bit weird in a sense that it isn’t as much about the style as for instance Looper (I will just keep mentioning this movie in every one of my comments now) and more about messing your mind up with all that travel and insanity. Yet, I think that it is a good inspiration for the sci-fi time travel movies to come.

  2. I saw this movie for the first time recently and loved it. I watched it the night before I went to see Looper, which I’m so glad that I did.

    1. Exactly! Though I saw it like a month ago (I posted it way later as you can see) and I’m so glad as well that I saw it before Looper. For, at least for me, obvious reasons.

  3. Great review! I like Willis too, he was great in 12 Monkeys. I always thought Pitt’s work was a bit overrated here but he was very good. I wish Madeline Stowe had better career after this movie, she is such a talented actress.

    1. I actually think that in that moment, Pitt’s acting was at his best.. He has grown a lot since then.
      Stowe was a surprise for me in this, I’m used to her Revenge character and what’s also weird, she still looks the same. Oh plastic surgery, how it makes the time stand still.

  4. Nice review. A pretty strange movie that still works, especially when you think about the depressing ending, long and hard. Pitt was also on-fire in this movie and shows you that the guy is more than just another pretty face. However, I think we all know that by now.

    1. Well, Pitt was dubbed as a pretty face but I’m glad he got out of that now and does great movies.
      The ending still bugs me, like I can’t understand how he was familiar for the woman although she saw him as a kid but yet, it was still not part of her past when he went there.. or I missed something? Either way, I was confused a bit. But it’s time travel, if we aren’t confused, somethings wrong.

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