STARRING: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer

1995, 131 Minutes, Directed by: Terry Gilliam

Every 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 seem to be ripping off plots like
Barbwire did with Casablanca (even though it is a remake of a seldom seen 1962 French short film titled La Jetee) 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?

Some people complained that they found the story line too complicated (a couple sitting behind me were completely nonplussed). 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, 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 . . .


Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick: Clever, intelligent. Don't be put off by people who claimed that the plot is too complex: this Terry Gilliam movie is intelligently crafted and beautifully shot and filmed.


# 21
of the
Top 100 Sci-Fi Movies
of all time





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