once in a while a science fiction film comes along that makes you wonder why Hollywood
can't make more such films. A film that is truly original (and doesn't rip off
plots like Barb Wire (1996) did with Casablanca (1942)) and compellingly
well-written, acted, directed and acted.
The strongest aspect of 12 Monkeys is its plot with so many twists
and turns that I don't want to spoil any of it by delving too deeply into the
story. Suffice to say, it is a time travel story in which Bruce Willis
is sent from a future devastated by a manmade plague to find a cure of sorts in
the present-day 1990s.
Excellent production values, some virtuoso performances by Madeleine Stowe
and Brad Pitt (as a lunatic asylum inmate - this man's sex symbol
status is definitely dropping) and the deft direction by Terry Gilliam
makes this a must-see movie for anybody who's serious about science fiction. Why?
Because it has a story - and a good one at that - with characters one cares about
and isn't just a flashy display of what today's special effects teams are capable
of. Anybody out there in Hollywood listening to any of this?
people complained that they found the story line too complicated (a couple sitting
behind me were completely nonplused). This is somehow sad: 12 Monkeys'
story line can be termed "intelligent", not "complicated."
It's a sad day for humanity when the sight of Sylvester Stallone
blowing away countless bad guys with a machine gun is the only story line that
modern cinema audiences seem to be able to follow... Terry Gilliam
also directed Brazil (1985), which (with hindsight) is now recognized to
be the seminal science fiction movie of the 1980s. With this, he has created the
seminal science fiction movies for the 1990s. Let's hope he's still around making
films in the next decade...
Review by James O'Ehley from The
Sci-Fi Movie Page.