Our Daily Trailer theme this week is all about monkeys for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and my immediate instinct was to choose Congo, the 1995 Frank Marshall film based on the novel by Michael Crichton, the author who also blessed us with Jurassic Park. Like Jurassic Park, Congo has Technology with a capital T and creatures that run amok and a blonde actress named Laura (this time Linney) who wears khaki clothing and whose job is science. Unlike Jurassic Park, there are no raptors or Jeff Goldblums, so it's already not nearly as good.
Congo is that very rare movie that's the really good kind of bad. I hate the concept of "so bad they're good" movies, but Congo isn't really that, exactly. It's not a good movie, but it's just so weird and wonderful and surprisingly way more hilarious than I remembered from watching the VHS we owned when I was a kid. Honestly, I'd be hard-pressed to say what kind of movie Congo is.
Do you want to see a film where a talking gorilla downs a martini and calls Laura Linney "ugly woman"? Are you into Tim Curry playing a shady Romanian dude with a thick accent? How about a film where a bizarrely uncredited Delroy Lindo (I mean, can you blame him though?) shouts at Tim Curry for eating his sesame cake? You will also enjoy such pleasures as watching an extended Bruce Campbell cameo in the first five minutes (SPOILER: a gorilla tears him apart), and experiencing the joy of watching Dylan Walsh interact with people who are probably wondering why he's not Tim Robbins.
As the trailer details, some people go to the Congo for science (you know, just in general -- I hear it grows pretty freely out there), while others go for fortune (I really like how the trailer guy says this in a sophisticated way), and some are going back home, like Amy the gorilla who talks with the help of a special computer voice program that translates her sign language into speech. Dylan Walsh's character is going to set Amy free, while Laura Linney is going to find out what happened to Bruce Campbell and all her company's expensive equipment, and Tim Curry is there because he's searching for the fabled King Solomon's mine, which is located in the Lost City of Zinj and filled with very special diamonds -- and he's convinced Amy knows how to get there because of her cool finger paintings.
But deep in the Congo there are some gray gorillas. As everyone in this movie points out, gray gorillas don't exist -- but they totally do and they are very vicious and protective of their diamond mine, which is bad news for pretty much everyone in this movie, but great news for us because killer gorillas rule.
Say what you will about how silly this movie is with all its lasers and hieroglyphics and Romanian Tim Curry just trying to eat some damn sesame cake, but there's something very charming about it, with its animatronic and puppet gorillas and the way all of these Very Serious Actors commit to an incredibly silly concept. It's a real testament to the acting skills of these people that they can pull this thing off with a straight face. Lookin' at you, Laura Linney.