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Movie Review

Twelve Monkeys a.k.a. “12 Monkeys,” “12 opic,” “Twelve monkeys: doce monos,” “12 Macacos,” “Os 12 Macacos,” “12 apinaa,” “12 majmuna,” “12 majom,” “12 maymun,” “12 monos,” “12 opíc,” “12 singes,” “L' Armée des 12 singes,” “Armata celor 12 maimute,” “Doce monos,” “Dvanaest majmuna,” “Dwanascie malp,” “L' Esercito delle dodici scimmie,” “De Tolv apornas armé,” “дБЕМЮДЖЮРЭ нАЕГЭЪМ”

MPAA Rating: R for violence and language.

Reviewed by: Todd Adams
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Older Teen to Adult
Genre:
Sci-Fi
Length:
2 hr. 9 min.
Year of Release:
1995
USA Release:
December 29, 1995
Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Featuring: Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeleine Stowe, Christopher Plummer, Joseph Melito, more »
Director: Terry Gilliam
Producer: Atlas Entertainment, Classico, Universal Pictures, Robert Cavallo, Mark Egerton, Robert Kosberg, Gary Levinsohn, Lloyd Phillips, Charles Roven, Kelley Smith-Wait
Distributor: Universal Pictures

“Twelve Monkeys” is a superb piece of science fiction which should captivate any sci-fi fan. Even compared to other genres, “Twelve Monkeys” holds its own for acting, script and character development against many other fine films. As an important bonus, the graphic sick and disturbing violence of more recent sci-fi movies—ranging from “The X-Files” to “The Cell”—is NOT found in “Twelve Monkeys”.

The title “12 Monkeys” might seem to lead into a plot based on evolution. Not so!! The 12 monkeys in this film is actually… well …I’ll leave that for you to find out. As for the film summary—and this film IS involving—I’ll try to break it down.

PART ONE: Bruce Willis provides a fine acting performance as a convict named James Cole living in an apocalyptic future about 30 years from now. Humankind has been virtually destroyed by a killer virus, with the remnant—though technologically advanced—forced to live underground. Bruce Willis is sent back in time to the 1990’s to find the virus and return it to the future. His character deepens and develops throughout the film and creates unlikely empathy from the viewer. Wow! Character growth in sci-fi.

PART TWO: Brad Pitt provides an excellent and hilarious performance as a zany, intelligent and complicated patient spending time in a mental institution in the 1990’s. I won’t even try to convey how Bruce Willis’s and Brad Pitt’s characters link up throughout the film: you’ll have to discover that for yourself. Actress Madeleine Stowe also brings a convincing performance as James Cole’s psychiatrist.

PART THREE: Time travel at its best! If you liked “Back To The Future” or “Frequency,” “12 Monkeys” goes into even deeper complexities. And, I couldn’t find a hole in this well crafted script. The plot unfolds with captivating clues, twists, clues, twists… suspense right to the end. Just pay attention. If you get lost you probably won’t find the story again. Tip: pay attention to Bruce Willis’s flashbacks.

From a Christian perspective, I was very impressed to discover such an interesting sci-fi movie and fine film production without disturbing violent or sexual material attached to it. Rated “R” in 1995, “Twelve Monkeys” would certainly be PG-13 today. It is eons away from the gutwrenchingly sick stench of more recent films like “The Cell”. The violence—and that is the only moral concern—is nongratuitous and about on par with a James Bond film.

Although the director undoubtedly did not devise a Christian allegory to this movie, I saw one in it. The main character’s journey to find truth and hope amidst a fallen world was akin to finding truth in Christ in this world for me. The conclusion: even a moment of real love and truth is better than a lifetime of illusion.

Viewers who do not give “Twelve Monkeys” the 5 stars I did will probably cite the apocalyptic overtones of the film. Yes, “Twelve Monkeys” is not a “feel good” movie. I kinda wish it had been. But the characters’ sense of hope and peace within that setting becomes redemptive in itself. And though it does not have the dazzling digital effects we’re getting used to, “Twelve Monkeys” doesn’t need them. It flows like a superb novel taking its place on screen.

I can’t believe I didn’t discover this film until 5 years after its release. In my opinion, it is a sci-fi masterpiece.


Viewer Comments
Positive—12 Monkeys is a very interesting sci-fi movie.The plot is highly complex and rivetting. The movie how ever may seem slow to those who cannot figure out the movie. Even I had trouble figuring it out. The director did a good job with the script and Bruce Willis was as usual top notch. I would watch the movie again when given the chance. My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Allan, age 20
Negative—“Twelve Monkeys” is by far one of the best directed sci-fi movies out there. For those that are into this genre, it truly explores time travel like no other movie has ever done before, and after. I really came to appreciate the ingenuity with which the plot unfolds and opens up before the viewer. From the start of it, you get to see the outside world deserted, only to leave room to savage beasts and nature to grow over buildings (somehow similar to “I Am Legend”’s deserted city). The costumes are really out of the ordinary which makes it look not futuristic at all, therefore original. The scenes with Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis are examples of amazing acting performances, something that is becoming scare nowadays as it slowly gets substituted for CGI effects; notably the scene with Jeffrey (Brad Pitt) going out of his mind in the asylum, again, something you will rarely see these days. That was the case for Twelve Monkeys, now I will present my case against this movie, and it is quite replete.

First and foremost, I am mostly disappointed in the review of this movie because nowhere does it speak about our Lord’s name being taken in vain, and it is, 5 times exactly. I personally have a hard time following a movie after hearing such blasphemous calling, I would have loved to appreciate the rest of the movie without it, but oh well, that’s what it takes to follow a movie until the end with “Holy Wood” these days.

There is also a lot of profanities through out such as the four letter word being used a lot, SOB, s***, b****** and some. One scene I found particularly exaggerated shows the leading part beating a man to death, although it brings out information regarding the character, I found it quite repulsing as well as senseless and it could have been left out. Something interesting is how Revelations is quoted in the movie but nevertheless it is still a Godless entertainment. Whether or not God reveals Himself to you through this media it is not for me to comment, but I did not see much of Him in it.

Granted, there is good action and suspense, and it is a thrilling movie, but I could not say it is inspiring; however it does inspire me to write this review I must admit. There is a lot more to say about this movie like James Cole’s initials : J.C., him being a savior for his own people in the future, a messiah figure corrupted and unsure, well I never could state it all but I can say this : I do not recommend it …if after all that you have read here you still want to see if there is anything you can get from it, be forewarned that it is not free of violence, profanities and blasphemy against our Lord Jesus Christ.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Victor Bireaud, age 22 (France)