B Movie Challenge – Congo > Fandom Spotlite
As a fan of rare and hard-to-find cinematic nightmares, I can see why archaeologists enjoy hunting for lost treasure. So you put on the cracked leather jacket you bought at Goodwill and venture into the ruins of the back room shelf of a local thrift store (the one covered in cobwebs and folds in the middle from the 507 VHS tapes on it, including several double VHS copies of Titanic). Sitting in the middle of the shelf, between a copy of Adams crest and The good guys were black is the diamond in the rough, the abominable movie that some company only released on a cheap video label in 1987, and now you’re holding it in your hand, lifting it up to the sunlight beaming through the paint cracked from the window, basking in its vintage glow. That’s the feeling I get every time I listen to Frank Marshall’s 1995 adaptation of Michael Crichton congo.
Let’s get one thing clear before we go any further. I have, and will always love, this movie! I don’t care if you’re an internet troll or a multi-billionaire, if you disagree with me you can go hiking the Mbarara-Kisangani road (although if you’re a multi-billionaire and you love this movie, let’s talk about doing a sequel soon, okay)! It took the filmmakers years to bring you this monkey and it was worth the wait. Originally slated to be directed by Michael Crichton himself, who helmed classics like Westworld and a faithful adaptation of his work The Great Train Robbery, Crichton sold the idea of writing the novel and the screenplay at the same time so he couldn’t cast Sean Connery in the film, which almost happened…until Crichton wanted real gorillas to do it. signs and work with real actors. Knowing what Amy looks like in that movie, it might have been worth a mutilation or two. After the success of Spielberg jurassic parkHollyweird flooded the early 90s with Crichton-mania, including Sunrise with Connery and Wesley Snipes, Disclosure with Michael Douglas and Demi Moore, and Sphere with Samuel L. Jackson and Dustin Hoffman. Among them was this forgotten golden idol, waiting to be rescued from the jungle of development hell.
The plot is about bringing Amy, a talking gorilla (“I can hear the silver hairs on the back of my neck going wooey, woo, woo.”) home, but she saw something in her dreams and drawing , a lost city filled with riches of pure diamonds. Naturally, a sleazeball like Tim Curry uses his financial resources (or lack thereof) to bring her home and get rich at the same time. The problem is that the killer gorillas protecting the lost city have a different plan in mind. Somewhere buried in this movie is a great adventure movie, heralded from the days of Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan (although I prefer Casper Van Dien) and Indiana Jones knockoffs like The golden cobra hunters, but something is wrong. The hardest part is to put your finger on what it is. The film has incredible acting, from the heroics of Ernie Hudson Captain Monroe Kelly to Laura Linney’s cutthroat Karen Ross to the role that will live on in infamy in Tim Curry’s enigmatic portrayal of Herkermer Homolka (of Romania)! It has great sets, great special effects (for the early 90s, that volcano explosion is everything), and even the makeup for Amy and the other monkeys is well done (courtesy of the late/great Stan Winston ). Honestly, I think what hurts the movie is…nothing! Of course, I could say that the lighting is a bit too harsh with not enough shadows. Yeah, I could say acting can be as fun as a boar. And of course, I could say that any movie with Joe Don-Baker will go far beyond the confines of space, but I can’t! I get jungle fever every time I hit the play button and thank the cast and crew for giving the world this odyssey to find the lost city of Zinj.
Released by Paramount Pictures to scathing reviews (hotter than lava), the 108-minute film was highly profitable, grossing $150 million on a $50 million budget. Frank Marshall, who directed classics like Arachniphobia and eight belowwas nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award as Worst Director for this film, as were many cast and crew, including Jerry Goldsmith for Worst Song (“(Feel) the spirit of Africa”) and I say shame on golden raspberries! How dare they take such a tough approach to what’s a better movie than The Raiders of the Lost Ark (it’s true, it’s Raidersnot that Indiana Jones and… bull!). You can find congo streaming via Amazon and Paramount+, but what we miss is The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray with an audio commentary from Marshall as to why he wanted to give this world such a diamond. So machete your fern to better see your 1970s SANYO 12-T226 Black and White Solid State Televisionpour yourself a tall green drink and devour a sesame cake while getting lost rediscovering this golden classic adventurer.