Rated: PG-13 for violence and obscenities. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: June 9, 1995 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation
Imagine a film that encompasses King Solomon's Mines and Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth and you'll have some idea of what Congo is all about.
Adapted from Michael Crichton's novel, three separate groups join each other to go to Zaire, Africa. Dr. Peter Eliot (Dylan Walsh) wants to return Amy, a talking gorilla, back to her homeland. Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney), a communications expert, is sent by her boss (Joe Don Baker) to find a large diamond for the company satellite and a Romanian adventurer (Tim Curry with a ridiculously fake accent) is looking for a lost diamond mine.
After a silly beginning, the action picks up and actually seems quite promising. The group arrives at an African airport and barely survives a military coup, detainment by a greedy general and a heat-seeking missile attack on their airplane while crossing the Zaire border. But, it quickly goes downhill from there.
The expedition, headed by a Jack-of-all-trades guide, Monroe Kelly (Ernie Hudson), figures out in short order that something is amiss when Dr. Ross' coworkers from an earlier expedition are missing and their camp is torn apart. With the aid of their hundreds of pounds of scientific equipment and hi-tech weapons and undaunted by the impending danger, they journey deeper into the jungle to search for the diamonds.
A lot of money was spent on special effects, in fact the list of effects technicians in the credits ran almost longer than the film itself. Despite the expensive effort, the cavernous Lost City and rolling earth during a quake, look suspiciously like paper mache miniatures. Even the gorillas, played by men in ape suits, don't measure up.
Volcanos erupting with hot lava, earthquakes splitting the land and ferocious beasts attacking defenseless men, might sound very exciting and maybe to the average 10 - 12 year old it is, but to the rest of us, the amateurish acting, cardboard scenery and ape costumes just don't cut it.