All about the Monkeys

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for Extraordinary Destiny.
-C.S. Lewis

12 Monkeys 1995I can’t remember when I saw the movie 12 Monkeys starring, Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe, and Brad Pitt.   I know it was after its’ time in theatres and it was possible on a VHS or DVD, some time in 1996 or 1997. The movie was released on December 29, 1995, directed by Terry Gilliam and screenplay by David Peoples and Janet Peoples.  The was movie was also based on a French movie called La Jette, released in 1962.

Brief recap from memory what this movie was about.  The world has ended in a horrific manner.   Most of the population is dead due to an outbreak virus believed to be released by the Army of the 12 Monkeys.   The survivors live underground.   James Cole and others like him risk their lives to go above ground to test if the world is safe for people again.    Otherwise, he is a prisoner underground.   I don’t remember if he volunteers or is forced into the time travel experiments,  all I know is that he does it and travels back in time.  His mission is to find out how the virus was released by the 12 Monkeys.   He meets Dr. Kathyn Railly, who diagnosis him and Jeffrey Goines, a mental patient with a really rich father.   He is reported to be the leader of the 12 monkeys.

Cole is transported a few times to the future and back, while he is trying to figure out the mystery of what happened to the world.  He is also being haunted by a dream of seeing a man being killed in an airport.   He falls in love with Dr. Railly and they find out the mystery and attempt to stop it.   However, they fail.  Young James Cole sees his adult-self shot dead in an airport as a terrorist (I am presuming that part).   I can’t remember if James Cole played by Bruce Willis realized what he is seeing.  I know the audience realizes what has happened and if they were like me were totally moved by what happened.

12 Monkeys (1995) made over $160 million.  I was not sure if that was a good or bad outcome for a film.  After a quick lookup,  the movie was number 1 for 2 weeks in January before succumbing to the competition.  It took the world wide gross income to make back the money spent on the budget.    Exec may not have liked that.  However, like other movies that bomb at the box office, it becomes a cult classic for fans.   I am one of them.  Therefore when I heard of the series I had like a squee like joy.

Fast Forward twenty years or so and the Syfy channel debuts 12 Monkeys tv series in12 monkeys tv January of 2015.   At the time I was really glad about it because the Syfy channel was doing something that included actually science fiction.  I kind of stopped watching it when they introduced wrestling into their line up.   The series was developed by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett.  Based on the Screenplay by Janet Peoples and David Peoples and the 1962 film La Jette.

The show starred Aaron Stanford as James Cole, Amanda Schultz as Cassandra Railly ( a name change there),  Emily Hampshire as Jennifer Goines ( a name and gender change here), Barbara Sukowa as Dr. Katrina Jones and Kirk Acevedo as Jose Ramse.  There were other people but these were the ones that had an impact on me.   The show ran for 4 seasons, debut in January 2015 and ended in June 2018.

At the time I watched it in 2015, the only actor I really knew was Kirk Acevedo, from his recurring role on Fringe.  Where I believed his character was carelessly killed, R.I.P.  Charlie Francis.

A brief recap of Pilot:   in 2014 after giving a successful in preparing for the next virus outbreak,  Dr. Cassandra Railly, a virologist, walks to her car in the dark and is carjacked by an unstable man.  She was talking to her boyfriend Aaron Mark, played by Noah Bean, he calls the police.   The unstable man is, of course, James Cole,  he shows her through her watch(a timepiece, points for being clever) that time travel is real and he also disappears after telling her where to meet him in a year and to find a man called Leland Frost.

A year passes, Cassandra waits a week to meet up with Cole.  He finally shows up.  She uses some connections to find the man, they are looking for.  They are told that his not Leland Frost but Leland Goines.  Goines is played by Zeljko Ivanek in the tv series and Christopher Plummer in the movies.  Another career change, instead of being the Doctor/scientist who created a deadly virus.  Goines is a CEO of the Markridge group, the group specializes in biomedical engineering.  He is portrayed as an uncaring man for most of his life he is, however, I believed he did care about someone, he just didn’t know how to express it in a positive way.    Cole was told by Scientists in the future to find and kill Leland Frost once that happened the world will be saved.   Cassandra and Cole set out to confront Goines.  Plans don’t go as expected, some interesting things are revealed to the audience, Cole and Cassandra.  about Cole and time.   He kills Leland but nothing changes.   Now that I think about it.  There should have realized nothing was going to happen, Goines had given them and us a huge clue.

The last scene of the episode is of a mental facility called the J.D. Peoples Psychiatric Treatment Center, (Clever). A lawyer says he is here to see Goines, in a room where a person is frantically rubbing charcoal or crayon on a wall.  He informs this person that their father is dead.   It revealed he is talking to a woman and her name is Jennifer Goines, in the movie this was Brad Pitt’s role, Jeffrey.  She is not upset about her father at all and it turns out her work of art is a monkey face similar to the 12 monkey emblem.

For two seasons, I faithfully followed this show and Sleepy Hollow.   I may never be not angry enough to write about that show, R.I.P. missed potential.   Then 12 Monkey did the cliff hanger of season 2 and it broke my sense of belief.  Looking back in the series, there were hints that something like this cliffhanger would happen.  Mostly unnoticed if you didn’t listen to Jennifer Goines, on a crazy rant.  Just like that, I was a disgruntled fan.  Instead of losing my shit and sending death threats, I seethed a little and stopped watching the show, listening to the podcast.  I’m a civilized person, not a fanatic. I believed that with no one else’s story to fill my time, I could focus on my own.  For a time it worked.  Sometime next year I may share the results.

Last week after working the day job for the weekend and the early part of the week.  I felt absolutely drained, it was a 3-part problem, 1-part me, 1-part the job, 1 part biology.  Ennui and listlessness drew me to Hulu.  I binged 12 Monkeys, season 1-3.  I could have continued with season  4 but had to go to work and the wifi at the day job is not ideal.   I was surprised that I enjoyed the series everything was almost fresh, season 3 wasn’t super great but it was not as horrible as I believed it was going to be.  Distance saved me from abusing my TV and remote control.    I still liked the concept of time-travel and how it developed, in their world not only is the universe against you, time can be as well.   All the relationships, the romantic, familial and adversarial.  Some of us only focused on one or the others but they were all in play, some in the front and other acting subtle in the background.  The characters developed well during the course of the series, not always in ways I liked but it was understandable.    I think that time and the fact that I struggle with creating my own stories, allowed me time to give this show a pass instead of epic fail.  I am curious to see how these characters break the cycle and end the series.  Will it be Breaking Bad good or GOT bad?

Overall, three unproductive days brought on over 1300 words in almost one sitting.  I am very happy about that.  As Nanowrimo gets closer, I doubt I will be as prepared as I want to be, but I will be ready to write.  There is probably another essay in those words but I am going to close this here.  Recommendation watch both 12 Monkeys,  they are good and bad in interesting and different ways.


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