Movie Review – Congo – When apes spoke and smoked

congo-amy-attacks-photoCongo started life as a Michael Crichton novel. I’ve never read it, but I would suggest the movie ended up very different from the book. In the movie a group of people enter the jungles of Africa for different purposes. They are accompanied by one smart ape named Amy. Amy has grown up in a lab, been taught to talk and appears to be more human than ape. Oh, yes, she talks. This is accomplished by high tech bracer she wears that translates arm movements into words.

Yes, it’s quite a technical marvel.

The plot of the movie revolves around this group of people. The group is composed of a college doctor (Dylan Walsh), a corporate doctor (Laura Linney), a mercenary (Ernie Hudson) and a treasure hunter (Tim Curry).  The group comes together in a trip to Africa. The college doctor is attempting to return Amy to the wild, the corporate doctor needs to congo-amy-smokes-photoget onsite to find out what happened to a research team from her company, the mercenary is looking for a buck and the treasure hunter is, well, hunting treasure.

While the movie sports dismal special effects, it is an enjoyable watch. The characters are developed enough, the action brisk and the story complete.

A couple of my favorite scenes:

  • The introduction of Amy: It is a pretty cool concept to interface a technology device to an ape to interpret sign language. You quickly find out, though, that Amy is not only able to talk, but she can feel.
  • congo-delroy-lindo-warlord-photoThe African warlord: Delroy Lindo plays a great African warlord part that extorts money from the group as they pass through is company. His character is slimy, funny and dangerous all rolled into one. He has access to information, which puts him in the power seat during the group’s detention.
  • The flight into the jungle: The flight doesn’t go well and the group needs to parachute out of the plane. The plane is flown by none other than Jimmy Buffet. He doesn’t perform, but he does a good enough job to keep the plane going while it’s being attacked.

Congo is not an award winning film, but if you’re looking for something to watch with the family it’s a good one to rent. I’d suggest kids 10 and above, as some of the violence is scary.

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