Congo Review

Before we explore the mysteries of the jungle, our technology will expand so far into the future that we’ll be able to arm Bruce Campbell with a laser capable of cutting through leaves and not much else. Congo is stupid, let us get rid of the idea that it could be anything more than that almost immediately. With that in mind, the Frank Marshall-directed piece must clamber to the right side of stupid, it must present effective, fun moments with gore and engaging characters. That is a hard task to manage, and the hilarity is prevalent even when it shouldn’t be. Such is the effect of our modern culture and the impact Tim Curry can have on a screenplay. Fear not, for Congo is now the cult classic we have all needed in our lives, it is a necessary, big-budget car crash that finds solace in its unintentional humour and aversion to science. 

When you can soothe a monkey by singing California Dreamin’, your basis for science takes a turn. A device that allows monkeys to speak in broken English and a MacGuffin plot about some diamonds hidden away in the vague vicinity of the Congo, it all comes crashing together with no real meaning behind it. Congo is a fun action romp at times, at others, it has blisteringly hilarious dialogue, produced and cited with such confidence and charisma by this odd ensemble cast. Ernie Hudson and Laura Linney feature in leading capacities, both guarantee some odd and fascinating scenes. Dylan Walsh also appears, but his stake in proceedings, while leading the charge, is less than brilliant considering he has slipped away into the great unknown. Congo is probably his best film, and it is one of the finest pieces to litter the filmography of Curry, too.  

With Curry’s appearance comes the fashionably poor attire and accent. On par with his role in Command & Conquer, it is truly marvellous to see him and a group of actors ham it up and enjoy themselves. Congo is very much in the department of being truly, unequivocally bad. But its badness is hilarious and its hilarity is infectious. A sure-fire hit for those out there that wish to watch this with friends. A completely brainless movie, filled with the twinkly-eyed Hollywood stench, but here it is overwhelmed by the expensive set design and lavish casting choices. All of these choices scream big budget, yet the script cries out for amateur filmmakers to come and have a punt.  

Congo verges on absolute nonsense from time to time yet it knows what it is. It is an unashamed bash of a genre that died out long before Congo came along. As most films of this nature do, the hilarity begins to wane somewhat in the middle, and yet the fear and fatigue kicks in toward the end and brings about some of the most lucid and harrowingly creative bits of vague science-fiction nonsense ever committed to a film about monkeys that can somewhat talk. The apes have escaped, and according to Marshall, they love eggs and suckle down martinis like a hairy James Bond. “Did you know gorillas can’t kill?” I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m locked in a cage with one. To the victor shall go the spoils, and I’m no loser.  

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