1. Hey guys [​IMG]
    I just saw 12 Monkeys (Don't shoot me, I know it's a classic, but I was just a kid when it came out. Ok, I'm still a kid, but yeah.) Anyway, I loved it, but I guess I'm just not too bright. Ok, so Madeline Stowe realizes that the little boy is Bruce Willis. Is this just meant to give her closure, or does she then proceed to to stop Mr. Redhead from killing 5 billion people? And what's the connection between the Redhead and the scientest from the future? Please explain, I'm dying to know. Thanks a bunch!
    Have a great night!
     
  2. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    Here's the basic things you need to know:

    None of the time travelers from the future are capable of changing anything that happened in the past, so all of the people still die. The only goal of the time travel was to collect information on the virus from the past to allow the survivors to develop a vaccine, allowing them to return to the surface of the Earth in the future.

    Little boy Cole was at the airport and he saw his older self get shot. The inserts with Brad Pitt as the guy with the wig getting shot were his own misrememberings of the events. The rest of Cole's life unfolds in exactly the same way that we are shown.

    The scientist from the future travels back in time and buys a seat on the plane next to the evil Redhead. She either takes a sample of the virus to the future or infects herself with it and takes it in her own body. She always had a seat next to the Redhead on the original plane flight, even though she had to travel back from the future to make the flight.

    Does this clear anything up?

    Brad
     
  3. Aww, I didn't want Madeline Stowe to die, lol. Thanks for explaining everything, though. Ok, so the scientist on the plane makes sense. One more question, though: In the "real" 1996, before everyone died and they had to go *back* to 1996 to look for a cure, who does little boy Cole see being shot then? I know you said it's Brad Pitt as Cole remembers it, but when it really happened, it couldn't have been him. Wow, I'm confusing myself now. Ooh, and how did little Cole live to be a part of the surviving 1% if the redhead opened the vile in the airport, thus, I would assume, contaminating the airport. Thanks for your help! [​IMG]
     
  4. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    Long-winded answer to follow...
    OK. Here's Cole's life as he experiences it...
    Born. Grows up near Philadelphia. One day he sees a man (his older self) shot to death in an airport. Some jerk soon spreads a virus that wipes out most of the human population. He somehow survives (immunity? lucky to not be directly exposed? I don't know) and moves underground with the rest of humanity. Being young and uneducated, young Cole doesn't amount to much in this underground society. One day when he is much, much older he is sent to the surface to collect samples of living creatures. The scientists he works for approve of his work and they decide to send him back in time. They accidentally send him back several years too early and he is imprisoned in a mental hospital. On the second attempt he is sent to a trench in WWI France. On the third attempt he arrives at the right time. He kidnaps Dr. Railly and investigates the army of the 12 Monkeys. He remembers the haunting day when he was a child at the airport, but he doesn't remember exactly what the man who was shot looked like. He does not realize that the man was him. He records his findings on the answering machine. As he decides to escape with Dr. Railly and live out the rest of his life in the doomed past he leaves another message on the answering machine that the army of the twelve monkeys was not involved in the virus. He is then shot when trying to get the bad guy, an event which is witnessed by his younger self. Dies.
    His answering machine messages exist from the moment they are created until the distant future when they are unrecoverable due to tape decay. Unfortunately, the scientists have difficulty retrieving the messages that he leaves, so the messages are conveniently not recovered until he has returned from his time travels (the only weak point in the time travel storyline, in my opinion). It would cause all kinds of causality problems to presume that they would have gotten the message to ignore the army of the twelve monkeys prior to him first being sent to the past and would have therefore decided to never send him to the past. The message was available for them to decode whenever they were capable of doing so.
    Anyway, the people in the future are capable of traveling to any time in the past that pleases them. Once Cole's friend (Jon Seda, the guy who gives him the gun at the airport) returns to the future, he informs the scientists that the virus is spread by the evil Redhead (David Morse), prompting lady scientist to travel back and book a flight.
    Cole died because he didn't remember that he couldn't change the past. Chasing the evil Redhead was futile because the virus was always unleashed. Cole could do nothing to change that. Unfortunately for Cole, he had to do exactly that because that is exactly what he witnessed himself do in the airport on that very day. Cruel fate!
    I'm only capable of typing all of this out because I had to explain it all to a friend of mine a few months ago when we watched 12 Monkeys.
    If it pleases you, you can pretend that Dr. Railly went to live on an island in the South Pacific somewhere and died of old age. [​IMG]
    Brad
     
  5. Hi!
    Wow, thanks for explaining all that. That was a lot for you to type, I really appreciate it. Ok, I get it now, all except that I don't understand how little Cole can see hiself being shot in the REAL 1996. I can understand that once adult Cole goes back in time, it is possible for young Cole and old Cole to exist in the same time, but when Cole was little, he couldn't have seen his older self get shot, because the 12 monkeys thing hadn't occured yet, so no one died, and no one was sent back in time yet, right?

    Wow, I'm putting *way* too much thought into this. Anyway, thanks for all your help. You rock.
     
  6. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    There is only one 1996. The events of that year don't change at any point in the movie. Only our understanding (and the scientists of the future's understanding) of those events changes. History does not change. Young Cole sees old Cole get shot. Old Cole sees young Cole seeing old Cole die. Old Cole is there because he travelled back in time to be there. The event happens exactly once and involves young Cole from 1996 and old Cole from the future.

    The problem that you're having is that there is no reasonable explanation for why someone couldn't mess up causality (as they do in almost all other time travel stories). For example, Cole's friend was capable of getting to the airport with a gun. We can presume that another time traveller could do the same. Once Cole's friend goes back to the future and tells everyone that the evil Redhead starts the virus, it is now known by those who possess the ability to travel backward in time who needs to be stopped. Instead of sending the scientist back to get a sample on the plane, why not send a bad man back to kill the evil Redhead before he unleashes the virus - or maybe a cyborg back to kill his mother before he is born? The only thing that prevents this is that we know that nobody did it. Causality would be violated if it were done. But it seems so easy to break the rules that we can't help but be confused when nobody does so.

    Brad
     
  7. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

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  8. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    The only way that I've been able to maintain a consistent understanding of the 12 Monkeys universe is to view it as a completely deterministic timeline that includes the capability to travel through time. All of the events in the past and all of the events in the future are completely predetermined. Every action that every person takes is in synchronicity with this exact timeline (including time travel) and no one has the free will to act outside of the events of the timeline - even though they believe that they do have free will. Every action that they take is a natural outcome of the deterministic processes that make them who they are.

    The part that breaks down for me is that it would seem likely that a time traveller, armed with the knowledge of massive destruction in humanity's past, would naturally be driven to prevent that destruction, but he won't because he didn't (awkward but accurate phrasing). In other words, adding the element of time travel to a deterministic timeline just makes the time traveller's seem so conveniently useless as anything other than information gatherers.

    My personal reasoning for how this is avoided in the 12 Monkeys timeline is that time travel is rarely performed and the people in charge of it are naturally predisposed to not try to screw with causality. Or they are just resigned to the fact that any actions they would plan to take to change the past would ultimately fail because the timeline must be preserved - so they don't waste time trying to change the past.

    Brad
     
  9. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

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  10. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    The basic premise is that you can't change the past, because everything (including your invovement) has already happened. This is why Bruce Wills's character tells the therapist early on that he hasn't come back to save anyone. However, he's unstable because of the effects of time travel, and ends up losing sight of his goal. This is why he he tries to change history (and fails, of course) and the future scientists have to go with the "insurance" plan.
     
  11. andrew markworthy

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    I've just read this thread.

    Doctor, my brain hurts ...
     
  12. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I think you can bet that when the scientists first discovered time travel, they probably tried to change things, but found they couldn't. Whatever events that they tried to manipulate ended up always having their manipulation to get the end result. Kind of like someone going back to kill your war-hero grandfather, but who is killed by your war-hero grandfather. Then, because of the attempt on his life, your grandfather becomes an intense and dedicated soldier and has tremendous success, thereby becoming a war-hero because a time traveler tried to prevent it.
    An interesting theory is that some early time travelers may have tried to influence history by telling people what they were going to do. Then, despite all logic, the people do this because they've been told they can do it. Which would explain why Columbus was so sure he would find land (as a quick example).
    Imagine that you're in an action movie setting, and your older self shows up an congratulates you on your upcoming unscathed victory over evil. Because of this, you take every possible chance (jumping leaps of faith, fighting impossible odds, saving the day) because you know you will survive unscathed. If you had never warned yourself, you would have been cautious and the bad guys would have killed you.
    People would naturally be inclined to avoid tragic fates that they have, but there was really nothing they could do about it. Either they rely on their own internal logic and allow the terrible things to happen, or they fulfill their destiny despite their attempts to prevent it.
    Fun thread. [​IMG]
     
  13. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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  14. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    Actually, I've considered writing a short story about time travel along these lines...

    The first time traveller goes back to stop some major tragedy from happening. Moments before he is about to commit the act that he thinks will prevent the tragedy, several other "versions" of himself appear and begin to explain that his intervention failed (as did each of their subsequent interventions). Each "version" of him is there to tell the previous "version" that their actions failed and to commit some new prevention act. Causality requires that each of them commit their act, even though they are fully aware that it results in failure. Every one of the "versions" except for the first "version" is highly distraught and seem resigned to follow through on their mission. The "last" guy in the chain is especially distraught, which the first "version" assumes is because he has just futilely killed several people. The first "version" presumes that the last "version" will be successful because there is no later "version" of him there to tell him he failed, but all of the other "versions" seem quite depressed. Everyone commits their acts nearly simultaneously, but the "last" guy dies as a result of his actions. All of the interim "versions" of the time traveller look at the first guy to see what they looked like when they first realized that they were going to die.

    The story is interesting until you try to place yourself in the guy's shoes. Why would he ever return to the past if he knows after his first try that it ultimately results in failure and death? Why would he proceed with his actions in the past when future versions of himself are there to tell him he failed? If he is forced to live out the timeline as he saw it, then the obvious conclusion is that the past is unchangeable and his intervention attempts will never succeed. When does he realize this? He should know this after his first travel. So why go back? Only because he has to preserve causality.

    My conclusion is that time travel and free will are incompatible, and that time travel stories which enforce an unchangeable past are less interesting than ones that allow that allow you to screw things up.

    Brad
     
  15. Deborah*T

    Deborah*T Agent

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    Owch!
    The movie makes MUCH more sense to me now. I really want to see it again now. It was on one of my Sky Digi channels (UK) every other week a wee while ago. Where is it when I need it? Not on that's where. Might just get it on DVD (any old excuse to add to the collection)
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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  17. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

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    Here's an easy example of how time travel can mess with your mind...
    Have everyone in the world start working on building a time machine. Eventually, one will be built. Then, have the time machine sent back to when everyone started working on the time machine. Voila, a time machine for free! [​IMG]
    Or how about the billiards example? Have a ball go into a pocket. Then, when it's in the pocket, send it back in time so that it hits itself so that it never goes into the pocket. [​IMG]
     
  18. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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  19. Dana Fillhart

    Dana Fillhart Supporting Actor

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    Many of the thoughts expressed here I've thought about myself growing up; always wondered why in the world I never DID get hold of that darned time machine my future self should've sent back -- guess I keep forgetting to remind myself the date to send it back! [​IMG]
    Anyway, to take things a different direction...
    What if our consciousness/spirit/essence *already* had a built-in mechanism for dealing with manipulating the future and the past, just by (on some level) *thinking*: The present moment is the nexus point between the probabilities of BOTH future AND past, both giving and receiving in a feedback method through all of one's probable selves in all possible space-times. The mechanism of "intuition" could in reality be a receptor of future thought-transmissions to your present self (one of its past probabilities). Deja vu could also be a part of this process: Ever had the absolutely certain sense you've seen someone "before", or heard a particular song "before"? It could be an effect of future-probable-selves reflecting back to your present self imprints of important places/people/events, and you're picking up on them (and thereby ensuring they become the part of your future selves' realities).
    I'll save the whole "Everything is one big moment of NOW" concept for another thread [​IMG]
     

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