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Twelve Monkeys
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • English DTS-HD 5.1 Surround
  • Japanese PCM Stereo
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary by Terry Gilliam and producer Charles Roven
  • The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys, feature-length making-of documentary by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe (Lost in La Mancha)
  • Interview from 1996 with Gilliam
  • Interview with Ian Christie
  • Extensive image galley
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin

Twelve Monkeys

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Terry Gilliam
1995 | 129 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: October 30, 2018
Review Date: November 25, 2018

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SYNOPSIS

Following the commercial and critical success of The Fisher King, Terry Gilliam next feature would turn to science fiction and a screenplay by Janet and David Peoples (Blade Runner, Unforgiven) inspired by Chris Marker's classic short film La Jetťe. In 1996, a deadly virus is unleashed by a group calling themselves the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, destroying much of the world's population and forcing survivors underground. In 2035, prisoner James Cole (Bruce Willis, Die Hard) is chosen to go back in time and help scientists in their search for a cure. Featuring an Oscar-nominated turn by Brad Pitt (Fight Club) as mental patient Jeffrey Goines, Twelve Monkeys would become Gilliam's most successful film and is now widely regarded as a sci-fi classic. Arrow Films are proud to present the film in a stunning new restoration.


PICTURE

Arrow Video presents Terry Gilliamís 12 Monkeys in a new Blu-ray special edition, featuring the film on a dual-layer disc in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation comes from a new restoration performed by Arrow, scanned in 4K from the 35mm original camera negative.

Universalís original disc wasnít terrible but man! what a difference an all new scan and restoration makes! Arrowís restoration provides a far more film-like image in comparison to Universalís processed image. Film grain is rendered just perfectly, looking clean and natural, and this leads to sharper looking details, needed for Gilliamís busy looking scenes. The only disadvantage to the improved resolution and more natural looking image is that some green screen moments in the futuristic scenes stick out more, looking phony.

As to every other aspect, the image is pretty much perfect. Colours look wonderful, with clean whites and strong blacks to match, though there is a bit of crush in a couple of shots. The restoration has also cleaned up all damage and I donít recall a single blemish ever popping up. This really is an exceptional looking new presentation, really exceeding any expectations I had.

9/10

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AUDIO

Arrow includes two audio tracks: a 5.1 DTS-HD MA presentation, and a lossless PCM stereo surround track. I only listened to the 5.1 presentation. Itís a clean and clear track, something I find to be a bit rare for Gilliamís films. Dialogue is crisp and easy to hear, with nice depth and fidelity. The score and sound effects are also clear and this all does work its way back to the surrounds, filling out the sound field decently enough. Audio levels are also mixed nicely where louder moments donít drown out anything important. Still, somewhat surprisingly, itís not as active or as engaging a mix as I would have expected, but itís at least dynamic and clean.

8/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Supplements are a little disappointing if only because most of the material has been ported from Universalís previous editions. Thankfully this material was all solid, starting with the entertaining audio commentary featuring Gilliam and producer Charles Roven. Gilliam is always an energetic presence and itís no different here. Gilliam (and Roven when he can) talk about the filmís production in an incredible level of detail, and despite the frantic pace it manages to flow out in a coherent manner. Itís fun and engaging, probably one of my favourite audio commentaries. Chances are fans have already listened to it (itís been around since the LaserDisc) but if you havenít do yourself a favour and give it a go.

Also carried over is the in-depth 90-minute making-of documentary The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of 12 Monkeys, the title referring to Gilliamís sense of detail, and how he can get distracted by these little things in regards to the bigger picture: at one point during production Gilliam became obsessed with filling the background of a scene with a lot of hamsters running on wheels, seeming to forget every other aspect of the scene. This is probably one of the better making-ofs Iíve ever seen and is really its own little film. The feature follows every aspect of the production, with a number of interviews thrown in, covering from early production to the filmís eventual release and reception. Itís a well edited documentary, trimming the fat, keeping all of the engaging and fascinating details about the production, which all usually revolves around Gilliamís eccentricities.

New here is footage from an interview with Gilliam from the 1996 London Film Festival, performed by Jonathan Romney. Some of the material here is in the commentary but Gilliam expands on subjects as he talks about Markerís Le jetťe, working with big name starts like Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, and goes on a bit about how films can go over budget, referring to Munchausen (12 Monkeys didnít go over budget, but Waterworld, another Universal film, did and it interfered a bit with Gilliamís film). Nice addition on Arrowís part. It runs 24-minutes.

Exclusive to this edition is a new appreciated by Ian Christie about the film and how it fits into Gilliamís filmography, also explaining why the director was doing these direct-for-hire projects, which included The Fisher King. He also talks about the performances in the film by Willis, Pitt, and Madeline Stowe, while also pointing out the impact the film has had since. Itís only 16-minutes but manages to be a great little academic addition to this release.

The disc then closes with more items from the Universal disc: the filmís original trailer and then the Twelve Monkeys Archive. The latter is a 39-minute auto-play gallery, featuring various designs for sets and costumes, storyboards, continuity photos, production and publicity photos, as well as advertising material. There are over 200 items to be found in here and you can skip through using the navigation buttons on your remote.

Arrow also includes one of their wonderful booklets (I assume limited to first pressings only), first featuring an excellent essay on the film by Nathan Rabin, followed by an excerpt from Christieís book Gilliam on Gilliam, featuring the two discussing 12 Monkeys. The release also comes with a slip cover (probably also limited to first pressings) and reversible cover art.

Considering what a big title this is I guess I would have thought Arrow might try for more, but at the very least they port over everything from the Universal edition and add a couple of their own worthwhile features.

8/10

CLOSING

Supplement wise this release doesnít offer too big of an upgrade, but I was pretty blown away by the new presentation, which is far more film-like and natural in comparison to Universalís fine, though ultimately processed presentation. It looks great and fans may want to look into picking this edition up just for that.




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Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca