Scientists head to the African Congo to investigate the disappearance
of the previous team and encounter a race of savage, intelligent gorillas.
Directed by Frank Marshall
Written by John Patrick Shanley
Starring Dylan Walsh, Laura Linney, Ernie Hudson,
Tim Curry, Lola Noh, Grant Heslov, Joe Don Baker,
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Bruce Campbell
Based on the novel by Michael Crichton
I pushed play on this long-forgotten Crichton adaptation with absolutely zero expectations. Nearly every critic had nothing but bad things to say and I figured it wasn't going to be worth my time. Maybe the trick is to lower your expectations, because I found Congo to be a very entertaining and thrilling movie full of great character actors and some of the most frightening primates ever put to film. Clearly this film was made to capitalize on the Crichton craze caused by Jurassic Park, but as far as I'm concerned it stands on its own.
Congo has a number of different stories that converge in a journey to the African jungle. Dylan Walsh plays a scientist hoping to release his gentle, smart gorilla Amy into the wild, while Laura Linney is there to investigate the murder of her research team. Tim Curry, sporting a terrible Romanian accent but I don't care because I love the guy, is there to hunt down King Solomon's diamond mines. Overall, the performances are decent and the characters are likable, especially Lola Noh as Amy. I honestly thought she was a real gorilla until the end credits, as she steals the show in every scene.
The violent, gray gorillas are nothing short of terrifying, though they get very little time to actually do anything but snarl. One of my gripes with the film is that it takes so long to get to the monsters, which gave them a limited amount of screen time. Still, for what they had, they delivered a scary monster. I think that Congo could've used a tighter storyline and less focus on African politics, but I still consider it an enjoyable film and wouldn't think it deserving of all the negative reviews.