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- Runtime:109 min
- Release Date:2014-04-25 12:58:00
- Director: Frank Marshall
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi
What can you say about a movie like "Congo"? Well, it's silly and
underdeveloped with some pretty shabby special effects but god help me,
I like it.
The plot is somewhat episodic as multiple different characters with
wildly different motives converge on the Congo. One is a communications
technician (played nicely by Lauara Linney) who is looking for her
fiancé. Another is a Romanain nut case (played by the fabulous Tim
Curry) who is looking for a mythical, lost diamond mine. And the last
is a gorilla expert returning a talking gorilla back to her natural
habitat. I swear, I'm NOT making this up.
The cast as a whole is OK. Linney is appealing, Curry turns in a usual
fine job, and cameos from Bruce Campbell and Joe Don Baker add to the
quirky atmosphere. Special mention should go to Ernie Hudson, who's
roguish charm while not as polished as Harrison Ford's, makes a great
Clark Gable/Indiana Jones type-explorer.
The special effects are kind of a mixed bag. The gorillas are obviously
stunt-men but the hokeyness is kind of fun. The climax in the temple is
also silly but still rousing. Topping all this off, the quirky Jerry
Goldsmith score adds considerably to the film as a whole.
Although certainly not a classic or even 100% good, "Congo" is a
cheesy, yet entertaining jungle adventure movie and is worth seeing.
It's hard to believe that the same guy who wrote Jurassic Park, The
Andromeda Strain, Time Line and Eaters of the Dead (The 13th Warrior)
wrote this container of once used fetid dog food. The premise of the
story is bad enough, i.e., apes who learn American Sign Language are
able to vocalize through technology but moreover, they retain arcane
knowledge that is revealed in their art. But, hey. It's fiction– even
if it's bad fiction. So, for what Crichton was able to do so
imaginatively for Jurassic Park fell on its face in this one. OK. Who
wins them all? But, then Congo the movie shows up at the theaters and
I'm dumb enough to buy a ticket. Whereas the book merely stunk, the
movie reeked. Laura Linney was lovely but miscast as a corporate
mercenary, Dylan Walsh was completely unbelievable as the primatologist
and then the usually wonderful Tim Curry was dreadful as the eccentric
Homolka. And, it goes down from there. Storywise, corporate greed in
the background of Central Africa's unstable, violent and often brutal
politics. My advice is don't rent it and you're watching it on TV on
the late show or a rainy day, see if you can find an old rerun of I
Love Lucy. It'll be much more entertaining and so much better written.
I can think of no better way to describe Congo than to call it a wacky
mix of all the Spielberg Blockbusters. It has the monstrosity of Jaws,
the heart of E.T., the adventurous quality of Raiders, and the science
of Jurassic Park.
Actually it doesn't achieve any of this, but it tries to. In the end
Congo, is reasonably entertaining but as a result of too many clichés,
sub-par acting, mediocre special effects, and an overly short running
time, it is also pretty cheap. On some level it may work as a satire,
of Spielberg. There are times when the movie feels and looks so fake
that you find yourself laughing. Perhaps this is intentional.
Congo is B-movie material, but it has some weird and amusing charms to
offer. It has lasers, talking gorillas, funny looking temples, hungry
hungry Hippos, even hungrier killer apes and more. Even if the story is
garbage, it is watchable garbage, and occasionally, almost likable
Comments here are general so as to not reveal any plot or character
details of the actual movie. Anyone that has read the book should
understand them well enough to know what is being referenced.
This movie bears only a general resemblance to the Michael Crichton
book. Beginning, middle, and end… it's all at considerable odds with
the original tale.
There isn't anywhere near the setup or explanation of what the
expedition is for, or why it's happening. The journey is at odds with
the story, as are most of the characters (either in personality,
presence/absence, and so on). All things considered, I would say that
this movie just BARELY qualifies as being 'based' on the book by virtue
of being about an expedition that travels to the Congo with a gorilla.
If you have any expectation of this movie being anything like the
excellent Crichton story, you're in for a BIG disappointment.
Still, it's a tolerably decent movie; I'd have given it a higher rating
if they hadn't hijacked an otherwise good story.
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