Congo

 

Directed By: Frank Marshall

Starring: Laura Linney, Dylan Walsh, Ernie Hudson, Tim Curry, Grant Hesloy, Joe Don Baker, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Bruce Campbell, Joe Pantoliano, Delroy Lindo

Synopsis: An expedition heads into the Congo looking for a lost group of explorers, only to discover more than they expected.

Thoughts: There is very little chance that you have not watched an adaptation of a Michael Crichton book.  His most popular and successful as been Jurassic Park and its sequels, but he’s also written the original stories for The Andromeda Strain, Sphere, Rising Sun, Disclosure, and The 13th Warrior.  You could probably argue that the adaptation of Congo is one of his worst.

The story itself is pretty solid, but the movie is plagued with some pretty terrible over-acting.  Tim Curry is usually fantastic, but I just really found him as an annoying add-on to the story here.  He didn’t serve a purpose other than to introduce and foreshadow the lost city.  This could have been done pretty easily without him, at least in my opinion.  The rest of the cast really seemed to mail in their performances.

Congo is directed by frequent Producer Frank Marshall, who happened to direct the fantastic Arachnophobia.  Other than that, he hasn’t been behind the camera much.  I’m not sure what happened here, as he had a pretty fantastic cast and a solid storyline from an A-list author.  It’s probably no coincidence that he’s only directed one movie since Congo, but has produced many more.  It looks like to me like he is a better Producer than Director.

Congo plays out like a pretty typical Hollywood action movie with some big set pieces and substandard acting, so it is actually pretty enjoyable when approached as a popcorn flick.  It doesn’t fit squarely into the horror genre, but definitely dips its toe into it when the things start happening in the third act.  It doesn’t come close to being a must see for fans, but it does have a small part by Bruce Campbell, so it might land on some folks lists.  You can do worse than Congo, but you can also do much better!

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