Review Detail

8.3 13 10
FanMix December 26, 2010 1850
Enjoyment
 
7.0
12 Monkeys is one of my favorite sci-fi flicks, so I was ready to see what a talented faneditor like Jorge could do with it. He performs major surgery on it, stamping it with his signature style and timeline alterations. Some of the changes are more successful than others.

The most excessive “looney tunes” scenes are toned down with smooth edits, and most of the cuts in this version flow well. Some of the really giant holes are smoothed over with expert, long crossfades of video or audio.

On the other hand, the recolorization is more a distracting gimmick than an enhancement of atmosphere. The film has a grainy look and there’s noticeable splotchiness and tiling in the shadows. Some of the background music has been replaced, or new music added, with more conventional music that lends a jarring melodramatic tone to some scenes.

The most interesting aspect is the total reframing that makes Dr. Railly the central character, a psychiatrist who is sucked into the paranoid delusions of her patient. By cutting all the future scenes, we see how unstable Railly is. All the characters who expressed closed minded disbelief in the original are now the sensible voices of reason and concern.

SPOILER ALERT:
Like other commenters, I felt the final scene didn’t work. I think it’s trying for a “Sixth Sense” surprise, where one revelation resets the premist of everything that went before. But The Sixth Sense was finely constructed to reassemble with a nudge. 12 Monkeys doesn’t have that construction. To give another example, in Jorge’s previous Blue Skies on Mars, the theme of “is this real or is this virtual” is discussed and examined throughout, so the final twist is an additional and satisfying turn. This edit denies Cole’s reality throughout, so the final scene comes out of nowhere. Also, the final scene doesn’t make sense. Cole returns from the past – where he’s been bugging everybody about the Army of the 12 Monkeys – and then he goes and finds some 12 Monkeys graffiti. from Cole’s point of view it’s nothing new, so the only reason for the scene is to throw a twist in, which makes it an annoying stunt.
END SPOILER

This fanedit is a clever reframing of the original, but ultimately it is a diminution rather than an enhancement. Without our full knowledge of Cole’s background and motives, the movie is far less poignant and there is no compelling urgency to Cole’s actions. And all the cool scenes of the future are gone.
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