12 Monkeys (Collector's Edition)
review by David G.
Running Time: 130 minutes
Starring: Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeleine Stowe,
Christopher Plummer, David Morse
Screenplay by David Peoples and Janet Peoples inspired
by the film "La Jetée" written by Chris Marker
Director: Terry Gilliam
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Audio Commentary with Terry Gilliam and
producer Chuck Roven, Theatrical Trailer, Production Notes,
Storyboards and Production Stills, Documentary "The Hamster
Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys"
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1
English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French, English Captions, Spanish
Captions, French Captions, Chapter Search
This tortuous story begins in the future in 2035 where
the humans are compelled to live underground after a killer
virus devastated the race. One of the survivors, James Cole
(Bruce Willis) is chosen to be sent into the past during
1996 in order to retrace the virus's origin to collect
information and thus, to allow the scientists in the future
to create a treatment. But the travels in time are not
mastered and in fact, Cole is sent to the year 1990. In this
year, he meets the psychiatrist Kathryn Railly (Madeleine
Stowe) and Jeffrey Goines, the son of the famous
microbiologist Leland Goines (Christopher Plummer). Of
course, nobody believes him and even Cole begins to doubt
about his mind's health: Is it real or is he schizophrenic?
and who is this child witness of a gunfight in his dreams?
Terry Gilliam was the perfect guy to make this movie
mixing the particular architecture of Philadelphia and
Baltimore and the inexorability of the fates with the sense
of absurdity that is Gilliam's touch.
I remember in 1995, there were were two huge and
desperate films which came out: Seven and 12 Monkeys. The
first made the demonstration that evil could win against
good and the second showed that the future is set, there is
nothing we can do to change it (unlike Terminator 2). 12
Monkeys is a success because the screenplay does not take
the audience for a dumb and the cast is really perfect.
Bruce Willis plays a character far away from his usual
roles, Brad Pitt is amazing as a kind of electric psycho
boy. Both would have deserved an Academy Award®.
Like Seven, don't expect to laugh here, everything is
desperate and there is no happy endng. The movie is not easy
and you will have to concentrate to follow the events and
luckily, the movie was a box office success. I am happy to
see that even if the pitiful Independence Day was a success
there are still peoples to appreciate good cinema.
12 Monkeys is presented in a 1:85:1 widescreen anamorphic
format and there is nothing to criticise. The black is deep,
there is no apparent dust and the picture look clear.
English Dolby Digital 5.1 and French Dolby Digital 5.1
with English, Spanish and French subtitles are included on
the disc. I was very pleased to hear a French Dolby Digital
5.1 (I'm french) all the more since it is just as excellent
as the English one. The effects are numerous and very well
distributed across all the speakers. I take advantage of the
occasion to mention the disdain of the studios for the good
quality French soundtracks: it is somewhat rare to have a
French Dolby Digital 5.1, so please make a little effort!
(Editor's Note: A good amount of Disney discs include
We are lucky, Universal gives us a great feature called
"The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys", this
big report shows the creating process of this particular
movie almost day by day from preproduction to
postproduction. We can see Terry Gilliam is depressed
because he didn't understand the story as much as he wanted
to. There is also the theatrical trailer, a commentary,
production notes and the cast and filmmaker's biographies.
All of this is very, very interesting.
A great movie, a great DVD and some great extras. This is
one movie I'd bring if I was tapped on a desert island.
(5/5, NOT included in
NOT an average)