The year is 2035 and only 1% of the world population is still alive and forced to live underground. In the year 1996 a virus caught us by surprise and killed most of humanity. James Cole (Bruce Willis) is a convicted criminal who “volunteers” to go back into time to find the “Army of the 12 monkeys” who are suspected to be the terrorist group who have unleashed the dangerous virus. Once he’s found them he has to get a sample of the original virus, giving scientists the chance to find an antivirus. Unfortunately, Cole gets sent back to 1990, years before the virus was developed…
12 Monkeys isn’t your average everyday movie. Throughout the movie, which was filmed on a pretty low budget for Hollywood standards, you get jumps from the past to the future and back and the storyline is non-lineair making it interesting to watch it over and over again, giving you new insights ever time you see it.
A good storyline isn’t everything of course, but the acting of Bruce Willis as the vulnerable James Cole who falls in love with a gorgeous Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt who succeeds in putting a believable psychotic on the screen is fantastic.
Sound and Vision:
The anamorphic 16:9 is very good although from time to time the screen looks a bit soft but that’s more Terry Gilliam’s filming style rather than a fault of the film conversion to DVD. 12 Monkeys shows a pretty disastrous future and one can see it in the colors that are used, which are all pretty dark and grey. There’s a short break in the movie due to the fact that the film covers 2 layers but although it’s in the middle of a scene, it doesn’t really post a problem.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 may not seem to be extremely useful for a movie which turns mostly around dialogue but still it works very well. Surround sound is used for creating an atmosphere and the scenes where Cole hears a voice around him is perfectly portrayed by the sound which clearly flows from one speaker to another..
12 Monkeys has quite a bunch of interesting extra’s, but before I give a rundown I would like to state that it’s very sad that none of it has subtitles.
There’s audio commentary from both Terry Gilliam and Charles Roven (producer) who give some interesting facts around the making of 12 Monkeys. More information on that subject is given in the “Making of” documentary which is very informative and cannot be seen as some promo-documentary where everyone just starts shouting hilariously about how great things were.
“The Hamster Factor and other Tales of 12 Monkeys” is another documentary where the problems on creating 12 Monkeys with the ultra low budget are explained. This feature is divided in 16 parts which you can check out one by one, and as a special “easter egg” there a photo gallery in track 16.
Next to all this, there’s the obligatory bunch of filmographies, production notes, etc. Also a trailer is present.
12 Monkeys is a great movie for anyone who doesn’t have the brain of a hamster and who likes something more than an action movie where violence and explosions are more important than the storyline. The extras on the dvd are also very interesting, just too bad that no subtitles are present, but I think most of us can understand English fluently 🙂