70

Because the plan was never to change the past but to obtain the original virus, as he told to Railly: COLE: I just have to locate the virus in its original form before it mutates. So scientists can come back and study it and find a cure. So that those of us who survived can go back to the surface of the ...


31

You are right in your reasoning that in 1990 there was no time before yet when Kathryn could have met Cole. She only sees the young Cole in 1996 at the end of the film. However, I think there's two viewpoints we can approach this with, both hinged on the fact that the film presents us with a (largely) immutable timeline where the past can't be changed and ...


28

The film itself is not, and never was, about stopping the spreading of the virus. The scientists in the future know that they cannot stop the spread because it has already happened. What they require is a sample of the original, pure virus that they can then study and create a cure/antibody for thus enabling the human race to return to the surface of the ...


22

The goal of the scientists of the future was never to stop the outbreak (their past cannot be changed) it was to develop a cure.


19

Caveat: Looking for logic in time-travel movies is an exercise in recursive futility. The idea in 12 Monkeys is that the past is, in many ways, read only. You can go back and "read" all you want, but you won't be able to "write" anything that will (meaningfully) change the timeline. Alternatively, you can attempt to change an event, but ...


15

Introduction to Twelve Monkeys from the Programme Notes: And, his stark look was further enhanced by his makeup artist, Cristina Bartolucci, who, everyday, etched a trio of tattoos onto Willis' scalp and neck - one that indicated his prisoner number, and a pair of bar-codes, the kind imprinted on packaged goods, on each side of his neck. This is also ...


12

The story of 12 Monkeys is about perception v. reality. And time travel. And several other "deeper" things. There's a scene in the film, near the finale, where Cole (Bruce Willis) is commenting about a movie he knows he's seen before which seems somehow different to him. He concludes the movie itself is static - it's filmed, it cannot be changed - but it ...


10

I took it to be an intentional misdirection since the 12 Monkeys are a MacGuffin, a "...plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. The specific nature of a MacGuffin is typically unimportant to the overall plot." Plus, the placement in his eye ...


9

The "dream" does not "come true". Bruce's character, Cole, has a memory from his childhood where he sees a man get shot in an airport. This experience is traumatic and gives him an uncommon strength of mind. This experience was totally real, and Cole remembers it. This strength of mind and his status as a criminal (which I don't remember being explained) ...


8

TL/DR: The raspy voice Cole hears without seeing its speaker is an audio hallucination akin to a voice heard by a schizophrenia sufferer. Louie, the toothless time traveler, is a real person -- and after meeting Louie, Cole -- in a state of extreme mental fatigue -- retroactively associates the raspy voice with Louie. FULL ANSWER: The raspy voice Cole hears ...


6

The scientists exploited Cole. It was essential that Cole die at the airport as it provided the memory of his older self being shot, which the Scientists manipulated for his mission, as the memory was recurrent as a dream that continued to develop providing him new investigative paths or possibilities as well as drawing him closer to Dr. Raily, a ...


5

They did receive the message. When the terrorist guy gets on the plane at the end of the movie, the woman he sits down next to is the woman scientist whom Cole interacted with several times in the future (Dr Jones, IIRC.) The implication is that they received his message and sent her back to actually stop the guy once they realized Cole had been killed. ...


5

Yes, it's a bit different... The Army of the 12 Monkeys commissioned the project as part of their larger plan. The machine would ultimately allow the Messengers to travel back in time and begin paradoxing Primaries. They required all events to occur exactly as they always did, including having Ramse travel back in time from 2043. Following the ...


4

Science ain't exact science with these clowns. Probably when the other guy in the past returned he immediately told the scientists about Cole, and they jumped him from WWI to 1996. He has the tracker in his tooth, so presumably he doesn't have to report back home each time, they can jump him from any point A to any point B. Since they likely didn't know he ...


4

A few things. The 'future' is a prison-like meager existence underground dystopia, somehow has the STEM technological wisdom and capability to travel through time, but fails to realize they are the antibody as survivors and lack the wherewithal to produce the cure for a virus using its own subjects as a source for antibodies? No. If Cole can go to the ...


4

The main theory of time travel is quite different in the series than in the film. In the film ultimately Cole can not stop his destined future. In the first season of the series they were more careful not to choose one theory of whether or not time could actually be altered, however, this is not so in the second season. Time is able to be changed, such as ...


3

The ending of 12 Monkeys implies heavily that they could not change time. By sending Cole back in time, they completed a circle. It's a predestination paradox. Cole changed nothing. If anything, he allowed it to happen as history said it happened. Cole did as best he could given the information and minimal help provided.


3

Entire Answer is a Spoiler IMHO: In 12 Monkeys, James Cole (Bruce Willis) has seen the future. A dystopian future which is caused, in his mind, by the 12 monkeys. The symbol is over his eye because he has seen the damage that was caused. And his eyes are in shadow or sunken to represent the negativity of the future. Note that the other characters are from ...


2

There are two approaches to time travel science fiction: That time is ONE fabric and continuous. Which makes it sort of a physics law that the past cannot be changed. Time is something like a dimension. Which means that there can be alternate realities, parallel realities, well take your pick. In 12 Monkeys, no matter what the actions are, the consequences ...


2

Although I would assume it was Dr. Peters, based upon the ending, when they show the face of Dr. Peters (David Morse) on the airplane with the scientist. There is a twist... look at one of the "remembered" flashback scenes from Cole. At about 40 minutes into the movie the flashback scene is at the airport from young Cole's eyes, it shows the man spreading ...


2

Jose gave Cole the gun so that he would be killed and preserve the timeline. The scientist did not want to prevent the virus outbreak because if the virus is not spread they would have never had the chance to send anyone back to stop it, which creates a paradox.


1

No. The objectives of the scientists and Cole are different. The main objective of the scientists to obtain a sample of the original virus from the past and then bring that into the future, so that the scientists could use it to find a cure. On the other hand, Cole is under the impression that he has been sent to prevent the pandemic, but the scientists from ...


1

"So what is going on really? From whose perspective did Bruce see all this happening? From his dream, it seemed like there was a third version of Bruce that saw everything happening". 12 Monkeys studies the subjective nature of memories and their effect on perceptions of reality. Examples of false memories include Cole's recollection of the ...


1

When the lady says she is in insurance, she means she is there to ensure that the virus does not spread and the planet is saved. Cole did his job of finding out who the real culprit was in spreading the disease, and her job presumably to kill him. My guess is she does just that and humanity is saved, but you just never know.


1

From what I gathered: Our protagonist was unable to change the past because it was part of his present. He could have changed everything had he been told by someone else sent to him. This person would have to have gone to a timeline where the same big event ocurs, found out the truth and then go back to our progagonists timeline to let him know The people ...


1

This smile is the most important shot of the entire film. It indicates that Railey is satisfied knowing that young Cole will go through everything that happened, exactly as it happened before. With this, it answers the central question of the story. If everything is predetermined, so that the tragic impotence of our actions is already a foregone conclusion, ...


1

Actually my dad once explained that animals might live longer and travel further on land leaving the virus on everything. So actually "freeing the animals" could have been incremental in almost "wiping out mankind" when we had 6.5 billion people and 5 or 6 billion die.


1

I don't think so. I think the change in script is more indicative of a clever change in the plotline by Gilliam. I think it was probably an alternate ending that he decided would actually lend the movie a deeper, subtler, and more mysterious twist. Why replace a script indicating that Jefferey wasn't a part of the virus distribution with a scene containing ...


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