Reviewed by: Todd Adams
|Featuring||Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeleine Stowe, Christopher Plummer, Joseph Melito, See all »|
|Producer||Atlas Entertainment, Classico, Universal Pictures, Robert Cavallo, Mark Egerton, Robert Kosberg, Gary Levinsohn, Lloyd Phillips, Charles Roven, Kelley Smith-Wait|
“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.