Terry Gillian in his incredibly powerful picture Twelve monkeys creates a persuasive dystopian future. Dystopia usually describes society or population which was infected with negative development tendencies. In case of Twelve monkeys the whole population of the Earth found themselves in dystopia. Gilliam`s future which is actually not far from present tense is dark and depressing. The world of 2035 is post-apocalyptic world which tries to deal with the consequences of deadly virus. Several decades’ earlier people were dying from unknown disease, and those who survived had to go live underground since everything on the Earth was contaminated. It is not known how the virus got spread so quickly and why it appeared. At the point the director draws attention to the possibilities of chemical weapon and inability of people to control it. More precisely, he emphasizes the necessity of people to be responsible for scientific advances. In Twelve monkeys the number of victims of the deadly virus is estimated as 5 billion so the major part of the planet population simply disappeared. The life of those who have survived differs greatly from normal. People are forced to live in little bunkers which remind tin boxes deep under the ground without any fresh air and sun shine. They travel with the help of some flying cars in almost complete darkness and smog. They do not see sun, they are unable to grow plants and their life does not promise any improvements in future. Artistic people are usually more sensitive and fatalistic because they often examine such topics as life and death. Terry Gilliam with his apocalyptic vision is not an exception. In his Twelve Monkeys people are deprived of normal and sometimes perceived as habitual things such as ability to move freely and to enjoy nature. Their life reminds survival in jungles with no place for entertainment and simple pleasures. Gilliam probably wanted to show that thoughtless science can be deadly. Scientists now deal with many dangerous chemicals, make and create powerful viruses, experiment with nuclear weapon. One careless decision and the whole humanity may find itself doomed. Probably Gilliam wanted to show the situation similar to Chernobyl Catastrophe, one of the tragedies of that kind, when people are not able to live on the land which was contaminated. And it does not matter whether the reason is radiation or a virus, it is all connected to the scientific experiments. Not accidentally there is another plot line I the movie showing fight for animals` freedom. One of the most impressive shots of the movie is wild animals running free along the streets of New York. Therefore, humanity has to be even more careful as it is responsible not for itself only but foe all the creatures on the Earth as well.However, it is impossible to describe Twelve monkeys as completely dystopian picture because Gilliam leaves a little hope for a rescue. He shows another side of the science- science that is aimed to save the planet. Time travel which gives hope for the characters to save the planet is the way with which Gilliam hints the viewers that prevention of mistakes is better than their correction.
Visions of the future