Making the Grades
Sometimes it's hard to tell if a movie wants you to take it seriously, or if the whole point of the film is a farce. I debated this for close to two hours as I viewed Congo, a jungle adventure movie similar to the old style jungle flicks that were king of the matinee crowd many years ago.
The adventure here is centered on finding the lost city of Zinj where hoards of diamonds are lying around waiting to be gathered. The owner of a hi-tech electronics firm, R.B. Travis (Joe Don Baker) needs one of these diamonds to perfect his laser blaster tool. His son Charlie is searching for them, and is in the middle of a satellite transmission when suddenly a huge beast descends on him and the screen goes black. Travis decides to send his assistant, Karen (Laura Linney) to find his son and get the diamonds.
Finally, there's Amy, a gorilla that talks using sign language and a speech synthesizer. For very complex reasons (mainly that they wanted a gorilla in this adventure) Karen is teamed up Amy and her trainer, Peter (Dylan Walsh), along with some porters, a guide, and Tim Curry playing a Rumanian who has spent his life looking for the diamonds. Off they all go into the African jungle, being met with obstacles around every tree.
Perhaps I could give this movie more of a broad recommendation if the language had been better. I think older children would get a thrill from the adventure, but profanities abound in many scenes and really have no reason for being there. The violence is intense in many instances as well, with people being dismembered by man-eating gorillas who later jump into a pool of burning lava. I find this unsuitable for younger children.
If you like jungle adventures, you may want to search for the Indiana Jones series on the rental shelves. However, for adults that like movies that are so bad they're funny, Congo could be your ticket.