Saturday, June 13 at 9:30pm | $8 |
"Oh no! The bad apes have the crystal lasers!"
When it comes to movies about killer gorillas, and there are a few, it’s hard to top CONGO. After the success of Jurassic Park, the idea of adapting another Michael Critchton novel for a summer blockbuster effort seemed like an invincible idea. But, instead of Spielberg, this picture was led by longtime producer and Arachnophobia director Frank Marshall. Also, instead of velociraptors and a T-Rex, this film just has a bunch of weirdly-sized gorillas, one of which who uses a modified power glove to talk.
Right away we get a small role from Bruce Campbell, an always welcome player on the Hecklevision screen. Laura Linney plays a big role here as well. Her character is a specialist in communications technology or, as she is accused in the film, “a geek with a cellular phone.” Ex-Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson shows up as well, bringing his style of laid-back but capable ass kicking. Tim Curry brings out his best Unplaceable Foreign Guy accent to play a world traveling treasure hunter with a reluctance to eat sesame cake.
Anyway, the whole gang goes to the titular Congo on a mission that is a mix of science and diamond hunting. The talking gorilla, Amy, comes along as well, to provide grumpy banter and comic relief. There’s something special and creepy about a not-that-real-looking gorilla suit hooked up to a ramshackle glove and backpack that robotically pronounces monkey sign language. Naturally, the whole mission ends in disaster, and a certain tribe of bad gorillas (you can tell because they’re the grey ones) start causing trouble. Between the lava and the lasers, it turns out the jungles of the Congo are a rough place to be – for both human and ape, really.
It’s got some good laughs and a couple of respectable action movie tropes, but really – a trip with CONGO is a visit to what can happen when the attempted blockbuster goes truly awry!