Syfy greenlights 12 Monkeys TV series

News Louisa Mellor 7 Apr 2014 - 07:38

Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys is the latest feature film to be turned into a television series...

Fargo, From Dusk Till Dawn, and now Twelve Monkeys... The TV drama landscape will soon be unrecognisable from the 'New Releases' shelf of a branch of Blockbusters circa 1996. 

Twelve Monkeys (itself inspired by sixties French short La Jetée) is the latest movie to be given a small screen adaptation, this time by Syfy, which has just ordered a dozen episodes of the time travel virus drama.

The original film, as if any of you need telling, was released in 1995 and starred Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt and Madeleine Stowe. It told the story of a future world devastated by a deadly virus that wiped out most of mankind. Convict James Cole (Bruce Willis) is chosen to sit in a special chair attached halfway up a wall and to go back in time to discover, and stop, the source of the outbreak. There's also a great bit with some giraffes.

Nikita's Aaron Stanford plays the Bruce Willis role, alongside Noah Bean and Amanda Schull. We'll bring you air dates and more news as it arrives.

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Why oh why oh why!!!

It's a terrific movie...but it was also so brilliantly made, with Brad Pitt giving the performance that landed him his role in Fight Club and made him a star, while Bruce Willis was at the utter peak of his talents - I can't imagine anyone bringing so much despair combined with grim humour to the performance (not to mention the way that Willis' 'broken' convict who has lived his life underground in a poisoned future plays brilliantly off Pitt's ultra-comic lunatic billonaire trust fund kid).

It's also worth mentioning how Pitt's mental illness (Willis and Pitt first meet in an asylum) is used comically, but never mocked or trivialised - he and Willis are both painfully tortured souls, and you never get the feeling that the movie disrespects either character. Stowe gets stuck playing 'straight woman' for the first 2/3 of the film (there's a certain montage of events that Willis remembers from when he was a child - just before the world went to hell - where someone is smuggling what could be the virus that ends it all onto a plain, or what could be a gun in an attempt to stop the virus from making it out of the airport...the montage changes every time you see it, as the events of Willis going back in time meaan that different characters are in different roles everytime he remembers it during the fiim).

What I'm saying is that there's some remakes that are bad ideas because the ideas themselves were terrible. This adaptation is a bad idea because there is literally no means of improving on how perfectly the idea was executed the first time around. It could have so easily been a bland sci-fi action movie, if not for the way that the director and Willis sell the idea that as Willis spends more time in the 'past' and mends his soul, he starts to realise just how beautiful the world is only hours before it's due to end. Same with the connection with Stowe - it could have been yet another by-the-numbers action-film romance, but it works because of their mutual realisation that the world is too beautiful to let die, just as they reach the point where the only desperate action they can take is to let Willis's memory play out full circle, and hope that this time they can change the roles around.

Even an utterly amazing tv adaption could only ever come 'close' to the brilliance of the film. People have been knocking the Dusk till Dawn adaptation as pointless - but that's plainly not the case: the show isn't great, but that's not because there was nothing else that could have been done with the material. 12 Monkeys, however, ALREADY ekes out every bit of brilliance that the idea can carry.

Wow this is a bigger read than the article ^^. Some good points, I think i'll still watch it to see what they do with it.

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