Review for Twelve Monkeys (UHD Blu Ray Special Edition)
In 2035, James Cole, a mental patient is convinced to go on a mission to save the world. in 1996 a virus has wiped out most of the human population of the planet, with the last remaining people living underground. James is sent back to the year 1990 to try and find out who caused it and discover the mystery of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys before it is too late.
Terry Gilliam is an excellent Director and though it could be argued that this was a 'director for hire' gig, you can still see the visual style that marked his earlier works like Brazil and Time Bandits. In 4K the film looks even better and though there is a mistake midway (which is a little bizarre) the film looks and sounds amazing. The film was based on Chris Marker's short film La Jetee, which if you haven't seen you should, and the script is well paced and a wonderful adaptation of this story.
Acting by everyone is perfect and the chemistry between Bruce Willis and Madeline Stowe is fantastic and I was surprised by how subtle Willis' performance is. In comparison it is perfect to see Brad Pitt's Oscar-nominated wacky performance as Jeffrey and his interactions with everyone are so entertaining.
Twelve Monkeys has a number of extra features but not as many as I was expecting. I did expect the original short La Jetee which is a fascinating short film and when you watch it you can see the comparisons with this film.
Commentary by Director Terry Gilliam and Producer Charles Roven is great as I expected it to be. Gilliam clearly loves talking about filmmaking and Roven added some other interesting stories and I enjoyed sitting and listening to them watch it.
The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys is a documentary about the making of the film by Keith Fulton and Louise Pepe. It is a feature length documentary and a very good look at the making of the film in some ways it feels odd because although successful it is not one of the films that Gilliam is known for and certainly not the mad behind the scenes stories from his other films.
Twelve Monkeys Archive was essentially a slideshow of stills, production artist work and behind the scenes which is fine but only for those who are really interested in the art design of the film.
Appreciation by Ian Christie is a look at Terry Gilliam at the time and how he and the rest of the crew made the film. This was interesting and certainly something to watch if you are a fan of Gilliam's work.
The Film Exchange is an interview with Terry Gilliam from the 1996 London Film Festival. This is a nice relaxed interview with Gilliam about his career and he is always nice to hear him talk about his career up to that point.
Finally there is a trailer and it is a great way to promote the film and you can see why it was so successful.
Twelve Monkeys is a great film and I was surprised by how well it still holds up after these years. The dystopia future and time travelling is a wonderful way of telling this story and the acting from Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt is fantastic. If you want to see why they call Terry Gilliam a “visionary director” this is a great gateway to his wonderful work and this is definitely one of his best.