Combustible Celluloid
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With: Laura Linney, Ernie Hudson, Dylan Walsh, Tim Curry, Joe Don Baker, Grant Heslov, James Karen, Joe Pantoliano, Delroy Lindo, Bruce Campbell
Written by: John Patrick Shanley, based on a novel by Michael Crichton
Directed by: Frank Marshall
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for jungle adventure terror and action and brief strong language
Running Time: 109
Date: 06/09/1995

Congo (1995)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Gorilla My Dreams

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A group of adventurers travel into the Zaire jungle with three different goals. Dr. Peter Elliot (Dylan Walsh) wants to return his gorilla Amy to the wild; he has been experimenting on her with a speech simulator. Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney), a former CIA operative, has been sent by her boss to check up on a previous party and to perhaps bring back a diamond for a new communications satellite, and the Hungarian Herkermer Homolka (Tim Curry) wants to find King Solomon's diamond mines. Captain Munro Kelly (Ernie Hudson) is their eloquent and cool-headed guide. Gray, killer gorillas turn up, bred generations earlier to protect the diamonds. Joe Don Baker is the main villain, running his business at the expense of human lives. Adapted from a Michael Crichton novel, it's fairly ridiculous (the apes are clearly people in suits), but it's light and brisk and fun, with a nice open-air feel. (It was undoubtedly financed after the success of Jurassic Park.) Grant Heslov (the future co-writer of George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck) plays Dr. Elliot's whining assistant. James Karen, Joe Pantoliano and Delroy Lindo also appear. The great "B" movie star Bruce Campbell turns up right at the beginning but lasts all of seven minutes before his character is killed. Frank Marshall also directed the similarly entertaining Arachnophobia (1990), but normally works as a producer for Steven Spielberg's films. The award-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck, Joe vs. the Volcano) adapted the screenplay.

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