When Syfy first announced that they were bringing a new version of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys to the small screen, I assumed that I was just having a delusion while being kept inside the mental institution where Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt met. The new trailer below doesn’t excel at distancing itself from the film, but heaps on enough dramatic music, quick edits, and Zeljko Ivanek to at least be independently intense on first sight. Check it out.
Here’s how this version of the future pans out, familiar as it may sound. It’s 2043 and a deadly plague has wiped out most of humanity, forcing survivors to live underground. Cole (Aaron Stanford) is used as a guinea pig for a time travel device that sends him back to try and figure out the source of the virus, which is believed to have been released by a group called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. He drops in four years before disaster strikes, where he meets Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull), who grows to understand that Cole might not be crazy. It’s easy to prove weird shit to someone when you can just snap right out of existence accompanied by a bunch of bright lights.
Cole thinks he has to get to Leland Frost (Ivanek) to get to the bottom of everything. Ivanek plays a convincing villain who looks capable of going batshit crazy despite his calm demeanor. It’s interesting that the trailers let us know right away that he’s onto Cole’s time traveling. You’d think that would be something set up for a reveal later on. Anyway, Tom Noonan is also playing a mysterious bad guy, and his IMDb character credit is Slender Man. How amazing would it be if 12 Monkeys turned the Internet urban legend into one of the culprits behind the planet’s annihilation?
Emily Hampshire plays Jennifer Goines, who is partly based on Pitt’s character in the film. She may end up being the key to this whole thing in a different way than her predecessor. Really, Gilliam’s movie had more perceived antagonists than actual ones, and worked all the better because of it. Laying someone out in clear terms as the bad guy may take away some of the mysteries, but at least there are shots of people with flamethrowers and cool lights on the time machine.