Monster Crap Inductee: Congo
This Movie Definitely Is Not Elvis Presley
We continue with my summer of enjoyment with a film that both my mom, my brother, and I watched when it came out into theaters and we all enjoyed it very much. However, despite all of that, we were in the minority who liked it as it was a critical bomb. Everyone made fun of the film for its effects (which yes, if you look at now are bad), its acting by some, and its insane premise. But despite all of that and having not seen the film for a long time, I still enjoy this film, but I can admit its flaws.
So let’s talk about Michael Crichton first. Michael Crichton was an author who knew how to make books that could be easily made into films since he was also a screenwriter and sometimes even a director. Also as a physician, he could easily work in the science fiction and medical fiction stuff really well. As an author, he wrote books like Disclosure, The Andromeda Strain, Sphere, and of course his most famous being Jurassic Park. He also directed films like Westworld and Runaway. He wrote scripts to films like Twister and was the one who created the hit NBC show ER.
George Clooney Can Thank Michael Crichton For His Fame Since He First Found Fame In ER
With the hit that was Jurassic Park, Congo (a story based on the old Allan Quartermain adventure of King Solomon’s Mines) was easily able to become the must have property and Paramount easily got it. But then again, it wasn’t like production of this film was easy. They had a real issue with the person who scored the film as originally it was going to be Jerry Goldsmith, then it got changed to James Newton Howard, and then went back to Jerry Goldsmith because Howard had to back out. While they could film in the hot African jungle, they could not film in the Congo because well…The People’s Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic Of Congo (where this film mostly takes place and was Zaire at the time this movie was made) was embittered in terrible civil wars. So instead they had to film in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and a country in South America in Costa Rica. They film wanted to use the Jurassic Park CGI, but unlike the dinosaurs, the gorillas in this film needed hair and CGI at the time could not do hair so instead they had to use costumes…and some real apes. In fact, if you want to see the real gorillas, you would really have to look into the back of scenes as most of them were fake.
But still, this film was thought to be easy money that Frank Marshall (who was normally producer) decided to direct instead, although he had directed Arachnophobia and Alive. As far as casting goes, they had some big names turn them down like Fred Thompson, Robin Wright, and Hugh Grant. And of course there was the issue of the one lost diamond, but we’ll get to that when it comes. Oh and we have returning people to Monster Crap from past inductions like Ernie Hudson, Kevin Grevioux, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Frank Welker.
But enough waiting, let’s go into Congo.
We begin this film with a beautiful African sunrise.
Sorry, no Circle of Life song here folks.
More African footage is shown before stormy clouds show up and our title is shown.
As the African footage continues, we also hear African tribal chants to accompany the music and I really find this song very hard to get out of my head.
Oh And Trucks Are Shown, They Are From The Company Known As TraviCom.
Lion 1: Hey Jack, Why Are We Being Filmed Even Though We Contribute Nothing To The Movie
Lion 2: It’s Because Lion King Was Huge 2 Years Ago And Every Movie Set In Africa Needed To Show Us Being Here In Hopes Of Getting The Same Film That Did.
Lion 1: Did It Ever Work?
Lion 2: Not really, Bart.
The people from TraviCom also meet people from local villages.
Sorry People, We Gotta Put This Sign Here So Some People Can Actually Believe We Are In The Congo Despite Us Not Being Able To Do So Because The Virunga Mountains Are In The Congo. We’ll Take It Down After We Shoot These Scenes.
The people from TraviCom leave the trucks in the town and take their supplies to the jungle and up the Virunga Mountains.
Okay, I Know It Is Called Mt. Mukenko In The Book, But The Actual Volcano In The Congo Area Is Called Mt. Mukeno. And Mt. Mukeno Looks Nothing Like That Perfectly Shaped Volcano.
Mt. Mikeno Looks Like This. I’m Sure In Shape, You Can Tell The Obvious Difference.
Anyway, the crew sets up camp in the forest as our lead of this expedition decides to send a video conference call back to TraviCom HQ in Houston.
Hey, Bruce Campbell. Guess You Got Tired Of Killing Deadites In The Evil Dead Series. Bruce Campbell Also Auditioned For The Main Role, But Got This Role Instead.
Anyway, the leader of the expedition is Charlie Travis, who is the son of R.B. Travis, who is the head of TraviCom. Back in Houston, we already know R.B. is an unhinged individual as it is explained that he changes the passwords to get in anywhere constantly. We also meet Charlie Ross’ fiancé Karen Ross, who works for TraviCom as well
Fun Fact: This Was Laura Linney’s First Gig As Lead Actress In A Film
Charlie admits that he found the area where the diamond is that the company was looking for, but they may need to leave soon because the volcanic activity in Mt. Mukenko may be okay with a few tremors, but he wouldn’t recommend building condominiums in the area. Karen wants proof that they found the area where the blue diamond is and what its effects are so Charlie shows parts of the blue diamond, then puts it into a laser gun, and shoots a nearby bush.
Apparently, since only residue of the diamond can do that, they need to find the real blue diamond to get the full effect of what the company is after. Charlie says that his co-worker Jeffrey has gone off looking for the source of the stream where they found the residue. Karen says she will get Travis, but Charlie wants to get Jeffrey first with him so they can share in the glory. He says he will be back in one hour and signs off.
Charlie goes looking for Jeffrey and Jeffrey is excited by what he has found. He shows Charlie that he has found an underwater passage into another area that is rather beautiful.
Charlie can’t believe he is seeing this, but tells Jeffrey they can come back later as first they need to link up with TraviCom HQ once again in an hour to share in the glory of their findings. Jeffrey likes this idea, but he says he needs to get his equipment and he goes into the woods alone while Charlie eats a Hershey’s candy bar.
Hershey’s…The Official Candy For When You Decide To Go Into The Jungle
We also meet R.B. Travis.
Hey, Kids...It's Buford Pusser From The Original Walking Tall. Although Most MSTies Might Remember Him As Mitchell.
He is happy that they found the blue diamond and believes with the perfect diamond to create that laser, they can dominate the communications industry overnight.
As Charlie is eating his candy bar, something gets thrown at him and when he investigates, he does not like what he finds.
Oh No, Jeffrey May Need An Eye Patch! Travis Corp Better Be Able To Have Medical Insurance That Can Afford That.
Charlie is horrified by it and when something comes up from behind, he screams.
Yep. Bruce Campbell, A Man Who Has Killed Loads Of Deadites, Is Basically Screwed In The First 8 Minutes Of This Film.
Back at TraviCom HQ, R.B., Karen, and the rest of Travis Corp. link up with the camp, but find that it has been destroyed.
And There Are Lots Of Dead Bodies
A figure runs by the camera and the turns around to destroy it.
I Said No Pictures!
R.B. gets angry and destroys a monitor.
Karen assures him that she never saw Charlie among the dead, but R.B. is more concerned about losing that diamond. He even says that even Charlie knew what that diamond meant to business, which is why he was out there. Karen gets angry and declares that Charlie only went out there to please his father. She also talks about how she almost married the guy when R.B. gets an idea. He wants Karen to go into the jungle because apparently she knows the area. Karen is at first insulted by this, but only does so because R.B. swears to her that finding his son is the first priority. Karen then says that if she finds out that she went out here just to find a stupid diamond, then she will make her boss pay.
We go to Berkley, California and the University of California.
Or UCLA In Westwood, California, According To IMDB. Yeah, That One May Be A Bit More Inexcusable Than Not Filming In The Congo Since Cal & UCLA Have A Bit Of A Rivalry
We go backstage to see a gorilla painting.
Or A Person In A Gorilla Suit With Some Green Paint On Her Finger.
This is Amy and she is finger painting with the help of the assistant to her caretaker, Richard. Amy has a very good ability with sign-language, which is based off a real-life famous gorilla in the San Francisco Zoo named Hanibiko with the nickname of Koko.
Besides The Amazing Ability Of Sign-Language, Koko The Gorilla Is Also Known For Being A Gorilla Who Loves Kittens And At This Moment Has Three Of Them, Even Though Her First One She Had Sadly Was Killed.
We also meet the main caretaker of Amy (since Richards is his assistant) in Dr. Peter Elliot.
Based On A Real Ape Choreographer And Ape Performer, Who Is Also In This Film Somewhere As A Person In A Gorilla Suit
Amy is happy to see Elliot and makes him hug her. Elliot wonders how she slept and is glad to hear that she had no nightmares this time. Elliot then wants Amy cleaned up as it is time to show Amy off to some people. And this show is basically to show off that Amy has the ability to speak thanks to robotic gear that recognizes sign language.
The crowd is amazed by this revelation including this guy who just can’t get over that he is seeing a talking gorilla.
This Is The Greatest Thing I Have Ever Seen In My Life
And before anyone asks, I know that guy played Sheriff Lloyd Parsons from Arachnophobia, but I tend to know him from a different role.
Yep…He Was Earl Sinclair In A Show That Still Maybe One Of My Favorite Sitcoms Of All Time, Dinosaurs.
Yes, and he is talking to the Mom of the Goonies.
Amy tells Peter that she wants lunch so they end the presentation with the crowd clapping its appreciation for the show as they are of course potential donors for the continued study of animals talking. But one such potential donor is noticeable above them all.
The Man Who May Be My Favorite Actor Of All Time, Tim Curry.
This potential donor smiles as he looks at a ring he has.
We then get a close-up of one of Amy’s drawings.
We hear growls in the background and suddenly we go to Amy waking up from a horrible nightmare.
Peter and Richard comfort Amy after her nightmare. Peter then is sad that the nightmares are still continuing and wonders what it could mean. He feels that the nightmares may lead to Amy degenerating and having to be destroyed as they become a danger to all around, including themselves…which has happened to gorillas in captivity. Peter then sees all the drawings and realizes that Amy might need to go back to the jungle.
Peter tries to talk to the college president about the idea, but the president is against it because he says no one will fund Amy’s return to the jungles of the Congo.
Hi Frank From Return Of The Living Dead & Ed From Return Of The Living Dead 2
We then meet Tim Curry’s character who introduces himself as a Romanian philanthropist named Herkermer Homolka. Remember when I talked about Tim Curry being my favorite actor who is great when it comes to being a ham for film.
Sadly, This Accent He Has On And This Character Is Probably A Film That May Be Better Off Not Remembered For His Performance Because It Is Bad.
Richard seems not fond of the idea, but Peter loves it and they decide to get Amy ready to go home.
But First They Need To Read A Book In 3-D To Make Amy Understand That She Is Going Home
At the airport, they get ready to go when they are met by Karen, who wants to go with them to the Congo. Amy definitely doesn’t like Karen and Peter doesn’t want anyone else on this voyage. Unfortunately, the luggage starts getting taken off the plane as they do not have enough gas to make it to the Congo and if they want to refuel, it will cost $56,000. Homolka would pay for it, but it seems his cash flow has been frozen for some reason. Karen then smiles and tells Peter they need her as her company has the money.
I’ve Got You By The Balls Now
So they take her with them and they fly off.
Hey Kids, That Is Jimmy Buffett As The Pilot. He Must Be In Search Of Those Cheeseburgers In Paradise Since Wasting Away Again In Margaritaville Wasn’t Getting It Done. Remember That This Plane’s Fins Might Go A Bit To The Left And…
GET ON WITH IT!!!
Sorry. Anyway, in the plane, Amy keeps calling Karen an ugly woman and throws an egg that she got as a reward for putting on her seatbelt, at Karen. Peter tells Amy that we do not do that. Karen wonders if that animal is dangerous and Peter gets all high and mighty in talking about how humans are dangerous. Homolka asks Karen if she thinks Amy may be dangerous and implies she might be right. Peter gets really mad and says that we should not be perpetrating the King Kong myth of the killer ape. Oh boy, Peter…you are going to be that type of dick. Well two can play that game.
While apes may not be killers of humans by design, they will kill a person if they are in their territory or if the ape gets to the teen years where it is very dangerous to deal with. Chimpanzees have been particularly known for ripping off people’s faces and at times, taking a baby from its mother and smashing it to death. Cincinnati Zoo employees this year had to kill a gorilla named Harambe because the child of some irresponsible parents was able to fall into the gorilla enclosure and the gorilla was standing right next to the kid. Killer apes has the potential just as much as killer sharks or killer bears, meaning that while it may not be in their design to do so and more of them get killed than they do of us, it happens. So Peter, I am reeling out a middle finger just for you.
Karen tells him off that from what she can see, he and Amy belong in a circus. Peter starts to go off on Karen when Amy interrupts and asks for a raindrop drink, which is a martini. Peter initially refuses, but since Jimmy Buffett is flying this plane (my belief), Peter gives in.
Pilot Jimmy Buffett May Have Wanted Her To Have A Margarita, But Hey…She Doesn’t Like Those And You Can’t Tell A Gorilla What They Like
Karen is bewildered by the idea of giving a gorilla alcohol and Peter says that Amy is allowed to have one if it calms her down.
And Amy Burps After Drinking It
That night, Peter tries to apologize to Karen for his behavior with Amy. Karen then asks Peter why he wanted to teach an ape to talk. Peter tries to ask why teach at all, but Karen doesn’t want to hear any dodging of the question so she asks again. Peter then quotes William Butler Yeats in saying “a lonely impulse of delight” which she knows is from Yeats. She asks if it worked and he isn’t lonely anymore, and Peter cannot answer that question. Peter then asks Karen why she is going to Africa and Karen says that she is going to find something that she lost.
They land in Central Africa and are met by Eddie Ventro, who TraviCom asked to set up the expedition.
Hey Joe Pantaliano. Sad That At This Time, Your Biggest Role Was As One Of The Villains In The Goonies, I Would Love To Know How You Got To Be Uncredited In This Film.
While driving them to the next plane, Eddie Ventro offers to buy Amy and Peter (who Eddie keeps calling an asshole) says Amy isn’t for sale. Soldiers run by and when asked about who they are, Eddie says that he doesn’t know and he isn’t paid to know since this place is under their third government in three years. Karen asks if he is a guide, but Eddie says he is not, but they have Munro Kelly to be the guide, who Eddie assures them is very good. Suddenly an explosion happens next to them.
Dammit Michael Bay…Get Out Of Here!!!!
Aww…You’re No Fun
Eddie has now a feeling that the airport has gone to shit and with there being trouble in the neighborhood, who are you gonna call?
Yes, it is Ernie Hudson in one of his favorite roles as Munro Kelly and you will see why he and a bunch of people like myself love his portrayal. Although, I know in the Congo book, it was Captain Charles Munro, a mixed-race Scotsman who was born to an Indian mother, I don’t think anyone will mind that Munro Kelly here is a British man of African descent.
Anyway, Munro tells Eddie the bad news in that bomb was an assassination attempt of the current president and the worse news is the president didn’t get killed. Munro tells the people that he hopes they have lots of money because they are going to need it if they are going to get to where they want to go. Karen says that they do so Munro pulls a gun out and steals a truck. He has everyone hide in the back so they can try to sneak into the border.
Munro smokes in the back while one of his pals drives and Amy gets into his face. Munro’s answer is to give Amy the cigar, which she is okay with.
Amy Sure Is Smmmmmmmokin!
Munro introduces himself in the best way he can.
Munro Kelly: Munro Kelly…I’m your great white hunter for this trip, though I happen to be black.
When asked how bad the situation is, Munro says that whenever one of these Central African countries’ governments comes under question, they tend to murder everybody. He then says that they live for the opportunity to settle scores and they have a lot of scores to settle. He then talks about things being pretty bad in the Congo with the Kigani, who Eddie mentioned before leaving that they eat people. Munro doesn’t blame them though for as he says it, the 20th Century sucks and maybe the 21st Century will be better. Well, being in the 21st Century, it really depends on who you ask if things are better or worse.
When asked if Munro is some kind of criminal, Munro asks “aren’t we all?” Munro’s response to that is that he just runs a few guns and the sons of bitches who are scientists ruined the world. Peter doesn’t want any more involvement with these people and when Homolka asks what he would suggest they do, he says they should go their own way as soon as they can. Munro thinks he knows Homolka from somewhere and then reveals that Karen is using this gorilla return expedition for cover. When asked for what, Munro says he doesn’t know because she won’t tell him, but with the kind of money her company is throwing around, they don’t spend that for any gorilla. Munro then tells everyone to relax as they are in better hands than they should be.
The truck is stopped by a roadblock.
Led By One Of Harvey Dent’s Thugs From Batman Forever
A soldier peeks in the back and when he sees that there are people back there, the guns are drawn and they are all arrested. Peter and Richard are interrogated at a hospital and told they cannot go to Zaire (which is now the Democratic Republic of Congo) with the revolt going on. Richard says this is pure kafka, which you never want to say as kafka means something horrible in many ways so he gets yelled at.
At a hotel lodge, Karen, Munro, & Homolka are forced to meet with the head of this military unit, Captain Wanta.
Played Surprisingly In Another Uncredited Role By Delroy Lindo. I Would Love To Know What Happened To Have Joe & Delroy Uncredited Because You Don’t Get Two Roles Like These Uncredited Unless Something Happened.
Captain Wanta makes them sit down and also makes them eat some coffee and cake. Karen says he has no right to hold them and Wanta’s response is the old “Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire”. He then reveals that Karen used to work for the CIA, which makes him wonder why she left the CIA for TraviCom. Karen says that Wanta has a big mouth and the good captain laughs it off, saying that everyone tells him that. Wanta then tells Munro that he has the worst timing in the world since someone blew up the President’s car and now Zaire’s borders are closed. Karen gives Munro money under the table and Munro gives it to Wanta. Wanta wants more so he gets more so basically the way to somehow get to Zaire is to well, bribe a person. Homolka worryingly bites down on the cake when Wanta goes after him in probably a great scene.
Wanta: Mr. Homolka?
Wanta: Stop Eating My Sesame Cake.
*Homolka Pauses In Confusion*
Wanta: Stop Eating My Sesame Cake!!!!
He then asks Homolka what he is doing in his country and Homolka says that he only wishes to explore and discover. Wanta responds by telling the others that this guy is a big bag of shit and they should get rid of him as he owes money to everyone everywhere he goes. He then has a soldier forcefully make Mr. Homolka wait outside. One soldier tries to stroke Karen’s hair so she elbows him in the groin. Wanta tells her that she liked that as she surprised him. Wanta then takes the money, puts it into a bag, and staples it shut. Wanta then tells them that it is the gorilla that is going to get them across the border safely and not the bribe as everyone is so afraid of being seen in an American movie being cruel to a gorilla. He explains that this is a crazy world they live in and then allows them to leave. Karen and Munro leave with some men and free Peter and Richard from their binds while telling Peter to admit that he is happy to see her.
The group continues on their trek through the region. One of Munro’s good friends Kahega is there.
Hey Guy From That Thing Prequel That I Hate So Much And Is The Reason NegaSeth Has Sadly Come Into My Life.
Munro reveals that they are in Tanzania and they need to get on a plane to sneak into Zaire. The African mercenaries now in their crew make fun of Peter and Amy as being husband and wife. Homolka wonders when they will get to Zaire and Munro brings the bombshell that Homolka has been looking for the diamonds of Solomon’s Mines in the fabled Lost City of Zinj. Homolka tries to say that he is done with that search, but Munro doesn’t really believe him as he remembers having to carry Homolka out of the jungle. Richard said he knew that Homolka wasn’t a Romanian philanthropist. Munro says that while Homolka is Romanian and has done a lot of good, most of it was for him. Homolka tells Munro to shut up and is about to call him something before Munro gets in his face and asks him to finish that line. Homolka decides it is better not to finish the line and asks Munro to forgive him. Everyone gets on board and we meet Eddie Ventro one last time to give the group back their supplies from earlier and tells Karen that the boss wants her to call him once she gets there. So they fly off as Eddie prefers to stay in Tanzania as he had a bad experience with Central Africa and is never going back.
On the plane, Munro puts a tranquilizer in half of a banana and gives it to Kahega for later. Peter asks Munro how they are going to get into Zaire if the border is closed and Munro just relaxes and says “luck”. Peter notices the crew are putting the supplies in boxes with parachutes attached and the plane gets immediately attacked by Zaire border guards with rocket launchers.
Munro then puts a sedative into another banana and hands it to Amy so she will be calm during the situation. Karen and Munro try to divert some of the rockets away with flares since they are heat seeking, but it becomes apparent that they will have to get off the plane before it gets hit by a rocket and they all die so the crew puts on parachutes. They start jumping off and Richard has to be kicked off the plane with his parachute because he couldn’t jump on his own. Everyone, including the gorilla, makes it to safety as the plane blows up.
Now that they are in Zaire, Peter wants to call this off since there is so much danger going down. Munro rightfully tells him that if he can try to go back, but he will be dead if he does since the Zaire soldiers will be looking for bodies. Munro also tells him that Amy woke up after the plane ride and she bit him obviously. Peter finds Amy playing with a chameleon.
While walking to camp, Homolka asks Peter about Amy’s drawings and wonders if there was something she was drawing in them besides the jungle. Peter doesn’t believe so, but Homolka is persistent with the ovals and Peter can only say that he believes she likes ovals. Munro sees that Karen has a device to track Charlie’s camp and asks why she left the CIA. Karen originally denies she worked for the CIA, but admits she left because they are a bunch of loveless son of bitches.
The group sets up camp and we see that Karen has had the company spare no expense as they have easily foldable tents and air conditioning, which Munro is shocked by. Karen admits that the air conditioning may be a bit much, but Munro laughs and has her give him one. Munro talks to Homolka and accuses him of still trying to find Zinj and those diamonds, despite Homolka’s assurances that he has given it up. Amy plays and eats with Peter and Richard as Karen communicates via satellite with R.B. Travis & company back in Houston.
R.B. congratulates Karen on crossing the border and had the images of the creature that destroyed the camera earlier analyzed and here are the results.
It is obvious to them all that it is some form of ape that Travis’ primatologist has never seen before. The boss asks if Karen is sufficiently armed and if she has enough manpower, both questions which Karen nods at. Travis says the bad news is she has to hurry as the volcano in that region can erupt any day now. Unfortunately Amy destroys the camera, which pisses off Karen and of course R.B. says his God Dammit line that I have yelled many times.
That night, Munro stands watch while monkeys make noise and both Peter and Karen wonder what it is about. Munro talks about the full moon, Colobus Monkeys, and mating season. He finishes with this line that I must quote since I laugh so hard every time he says it.
Munro: When There Is A Moon Like That, Every Monkey For 200 Miles Thinks He’s Elvis Presley.
The scene ends with them all smiling and Peter making monkey noises.
It starts raining and we get more walking. They have problems as one tent nearly floats away thanks to the running water being very strong. A snake tries to get one of the guys on watch and the guy just kills the snake.
The next day, Amy knocks over a toad to get some food. Peter wakes up and realizes he has something on his penis. He yells and shows Munro, to which Munro laughs and says it is a leech. He gives him a cigar and tells the scientist to burn it off. He does so and it surprisingly isn’t as painful as I thought it would be. He tries to give the cigar back to Munro, but you know damn well Munro isn’t going to put something that touched another man’s privates in his mouth so he just throws it down.
Suddenly, everyone’s bemusement of the situation is stopped when they realize they are being watched by tribesman.
Munro says that this is the Ghost Tribe and after some small communication where the tribesman can’t believe that a black guy is leading an expedition of white people, the tribesman tell them that they have found a dead man with a TraviCom symbol on him. Karen is not happy about him being dead, but Munro assures her that the Ghost Tribe has several levels of dead and you aren’t really dead until you are completely dead. She asks to be shown the man so the tribesman have the group follow them and they see a chant going on.
Munro tells Karen that they believe the soul has left the man’s body and is lost so they are trying to guide it back. After all the chanting, they are led to the body.
Karen reveals him to be Bob Driscol. They sit him up and Bob seems to wake for a moment, but the first thing he sees is Amy and since they were obviously attacked by gorillas, he screams.
After the screams, Bob dies of something.
Afterwards, they go to the camp and Karen is convinced something in that uninhabitable part of the Congo killed the group like a grey gorilla. Peter says there is no such thing as a grey gorilla and Karen says that is what she saw. She says two men are unaccounted for and one of them is her fiancée, who she hopes is still alive.
So the inflate their inflatable rafts and in case anyone was worried about Amy being in one of these in the river, Munro and Kahega mention that Peter gave her the banana with the dope inside. Then we see Peter sing to Amy “California Dreamin” by The Mama & The Papas and everyone else joins in. Now with that out of the way and they are on the boats, Karen talks to Homolka about the whole Zinj thing. Homolka finally decides to stop playing dumb and reveals that the whole oval thing Amy was painting was the same open eye as the symbol that signifies the City of Zinj, which in his mind means that Amy has seen the place and she will take them there. So yeah, that whole open eye ring was the reason to all of this. Munro, who is on the same boat and hearing all of this, asks if Homolka has taken his medicine. Homolka mock laughs and says that he can have his laughter while he has his.
Bad news continues to plague this trip as the signal from doomed camp has stopped which means they may be going the rest of the way, blind. And for even worse news, at night…they get attacked by hippos.
Now despite me making that joke, this is a very dangerous situation as anyone who has ever been in Africa will tell you, wild hippos are some of the most dangerous creatures you can deal with. They are extremely territorial and they have no qualms killing ANYTHING that invades their space. Hell, even the late Crocodile Hunter, who everyone makes loads of jokes about dealing with dangerous animals with no problem, stayed far away from the hippos because he even said they will kill him. If there are hippos in the water near you, don’t be in the water in the first place and if you just the unlucky S.O.B. who is in the water and notice a hippo, get the fuck out of there because that hippo knows your ass is there and if you don’t run immediately, he will have you for lunch.
So with the hippos injuring one person (jeez…they are so goddamn luck), the people in this voyage decide to do the smart thing and get the fuck on land while only using a little ammunition to keep the hippos at bay. Also another plane catches on fire and crashes.
They climb up the mountain the next day and set up camp for a nap. Afterwards, they realize that two porters have run away. Amy wants on her machine that allows her to speak so they put it on her. When they continue, there is a fork in the row and while most of them think one way will work, Amy wants to go the other way. Karen, Homolka, and Peter convince the others to follow the gorilla so we get more walking. Yeah, this movie has a lot of scenes where it is nothing but walking.
They enter the jungle and they find the crashed plane. Karen realizes that it is another plane from TraviCom, which means R.B. didn’t believe she would make it so he sent another team and they met this fate. While this is done to make R.B. a bigger dick as he sends more lives to their deaths, that wasn’t what happened in the book. You see, in the book, TraviCom had a rival German-Japanese consortium and it was their plane that crashed and burned here. That whole rivalry sub-plot was completely axed out of this film. Anyway, they keep moving.
When they continue further, they are met by a gorilla.
Munro tells Peter not to move and Peter says he knows. Munro tries to explain what happens if he does run, but Peter finishes by saying the gorilla will chase him, meaning he knows full well. But didn’t Peter earlier talk about how the apes aren’t killers. Why don’t he go and give that gorilla a hug. That is of course, unless that whole diatribe he had on the plane was just Peter being a fucking smartass and trying to be better than everyone. So anyway, Peter stands still as the gorilla gets in his face. Peter stays calm and looks down until the gorilla goes back. We then go and see that Munro and everyone else fucking ran.
Richard reveals that this is the silverback (male) and Amy wants to talk to the gorilla using her away, shunning the new gorilla.
Peter realizes that the machine may have caused her to be shunned so he takes it off for her so when she tries again, it might go better next time. While walking, one of the mercenaries falls on a trip wire and a noise is made. Karen reveals that this is something set up by the previous camp to let them know if someone or something is coming, but it didn’t work and they find no signs of the camp anywhere, which is incredibly odd since there was 300 lbs. of equipment and that doesn’t just walk away. Kahega goes through the nearby ivy to see if there is anything on the other side. He comes back and yells for the rest to follow.
The rest then see that on the other side is…
Munro cannot believe this as Homolka tells everyone that it is the place that he has looked for all of his life. He even uses the ring to show the eye and shows the same eyes on the statue. He gets the last laugh as he tells everyone that they are going to be rich from King Solomon’s mines.
As they venture further into the city, Homolka talks about the story that Solomon’s people found the incredible diamond mine and then built a city around the mines so that it should be protected. He reveals that the savagery of the guards was legend as they fell upon any thief and any intruder of their city. Peter wonders why the city died if the diamonds made this place rich and Homolka doesn’t know. Munro thinks the diamonds ran dry and Homolka decries that idea by saying they are here and with the way Tim Curry delivers this line, this bad performance is signified.
Kahega finds a Hershey’s bar wrapper and Karen realizes that may have belonged to Charlie. Karen and Munro want most of the people to look inside one of the caves, but Richard would rather stay outside with Amy and Munro has two men stay with Richard just to make sure nothing happens. In the caves, they find the same hieroglyph over and over again, but Homolka doesn’t know what they mean. And before anyone cries that is Egyptian and should not be here, other places had hieroglyphs too. But what we can make fun of is the fact that while there were other hieroglyphs, they weren’t this far south of Egypt.
Outside, Richard tries to make small talk with one of the two men left with him. It doesn’t go well as you will see in this bit of dialogue.
Richard: So do you speak English?
Richard: What’s your name.
Richard: Claude? That’s an unusual name from someone from…um… Where you from?
Richard: Wow…that’s an usual name for somebody from Mbasa.
*Claude looks at Richard*
Claude: Have you ever been to Mbasa?
*Richard shakes his head as Claude once again stares at him*
Claude: Then what do you know it.
Richard decides to go looking for Amy, but he cannot find her. We then see Amy run off as Richard wonders why Amy is hiding and he soon finds out as a grey gorilla comes up behind him.
Back to the group in the cave, they see that most of the paths have been caved in and the rumbling from the volcano is getting worse. But that all doesn’t matter as they hear a scream and Richard comes running down the stairs in terror.
When Richard gets to them, he is a mess and dies in their arms.
Then a grey gorilla comes up to them and throws a severed head at them.
The gorilla charges at them and for some reason, we gets some really bad camera work here that just messes up everything in this action scene as they must use guns to fight off this killer gorilla.
They decide to go back outside before the gorilla returns. Another gorilla jumps at them, but it is Amy so this was kind of a pointless scare.
They go outside as Amy looks at Richard’s corpse before joining the others. Outside they see Claude and the other guy are also dead. Aww not Claude, we just knew the guy.
Munro says he never saw any animal move like that and they just kill. Homolka thinks that’s why Solomon’s Mines were never found. He then yells at Peter and reminds him of the earlier conversation of the myth of the killer ape, which he says is true. Peter can’t believe it. No, really…your entire life being a pontificating asshole who judges others harshly for their feelings on apes turns out to be all in vain.
The survivors set up camp in the city and build a protective barrier around themselves involving sensor-operated machine pistols on tripods. Amy gets her machine back on and talks about the bad gorillas. Peter decides to turn Amy’s volume down just in case she gives away their location. Suddenly shots ring out from one pistol (which seems more like a machine gun) and they go investigate. It turns out to be nothing and Karen makes them put out their flashlights so she can put on LED lights. Another pistol goes off and the same result of nothing to see. But they realize the gorillas are just testing the perimeters. Then Karen brings out the laser fence.
They see gorillas are coming towards them thanks to the computer scans and a gorilla tests the fence, but gets hurt.
So the attack begins and they fire on the gorillas. Thankfully the wave stops and the gorillas retreat for now, but not before knocking down a tree, which knocks down a pistol. They wonder what is going on as Homolka reveals that he has deciphered the hieroglyphs. It keeps saying “We Are Watching You.”
When daylight comes, Munro talks to Kaheg about the bodies of the men from yesterday being moved somehow and Peter is looking for Amy, who has decided once again to go exploring. Munro tells Peter that she has joined the club as two more porters have left and Mr. Homolka has run off as well. Peter wants to go looking for the gorilla, but Munro stops him by saying that people come first here so the plan is to retrieve the missing people, then get the gorilla, and finally get the hell out of Zinj.
We then go to Amy who has met with the gorillas from earlier, this time without the machine to have her speak. We go back to the men in the jungle as they go into the temple. Peter is forced by Karen to take a gun for protection. They then find wall writings that show the people of Zinj domesticated the gorillas to be killer guards and they believe that the gorillas must have turned on their masters. They smell something and of course, they see the bones of normal gorillas, which may explain why Amy is so scared of this place.
Another tremor happens, which alerts Amy who decides to leave the gorillas that she just made friends with to go help her human companions. The humans fall into a hole and they find Mr. Homolka who tells them not to go the way he came from because it is all caved in. He explains that he went to find the mines and then all this chaos happened. Kahega puts up a flare as a torch and the group goes to find a way out.
Munro says the air is making his eyes burn and Peter says that it is coming obviously from Sulpher. We cut back to camp where Amy puts her machine on that allows her to talk before we go back to the group hoping to find a way out of these caverns. Well, they do find a way out of the caverns, but they end up at the diamond mines, which Mr. Homolka is extremely happy about.
Mr. Homolka’s greed comes into play as he tries to grab as many diamonds as he can, but unfortunately, that brings out the gorillas.
Homolka tries to go another way, but another grey gorilla shows up. Homolka drops the diamonds in hopes that will stop the gorillas, but it doesn’t as one gorilla attacks him from behind and he falls. This leads to the gorillas huddling around him and one finally smashing his head in.
The others try to shoot their way through the gorillas, but there are too many as Kahega and every other member that isn’t our main three are killed.
Karen finds a room with a geode, which is a big diamond and thinks this is where the blue diamonds she was made to look for are so she goes. She sadly finds the body of Charlie Travis.
Karen is sad by the death of her fiancée and they go back as we see the volcano has finally erupted. Munro tells the two that they are almost out of rounds and Karen yells at them to buy her two minutes. She goes back to Charlie and grabs the rock in his hand. As she predicted, the rock he had was containing a diamond in it, which she breaks free.
As Peter reloads his gun, he is grabbed by a gorilla and brought into the middle.
It seems Peter is doomed, but Amy comes in for the save.
Amy gets in between them and Peter and calls them ugly gorillas, which confuses the hell out of the gorillas and Amy goes to hug Peter. Munro is surprised and explains that the gorillas don’t know what to make of Amy’s talking. Karen comes in with the diamond and special gun which she loads and tells Munro this.
Karen: Put them on the endangered species list!
And she shoots the laser.
Are you sure you want to have that diamond be used for communications because from where I am sitting, that diamond and gun could be used as a great weapon for defeating our enemies overseas. Just saying…
They use this as their way to escape, but what also helps is that the volcano’s lava is entering these caves.
This dooms the killer grey gorillas as some of the lava kills them.
Peter, Munro, Amy, and Karen run away from the lava as part of the land breaks loose.
As you can see, Amy has to save Peter from the lava, but it gets even worse as the land breaks, separating Karen and Munro, from Peter and Amy. Due to a slope, Peter and Amy have to grab hold of something so they don’t fall into the lava.
Karen uses the laser gun to knock over a tree, which creates a bridge. This allows Peter and Amy to thankfully cross into safety.
After that scare, they are thankfully able to escape as the volcano destroys the Lost City of Zinj.
Karen and Munro go back to the crashed plane and find that they had a hot air balloon in handy for escape and get a transmitter to talk to R.B while Peter goes looking for Amy. Karen is able to communicate with R.B. and the boss is happy to hear from her, worrying about her. He then asks if she got the diamond, but Karen gives him the bad news that his son was found dead. This really devastates R.B. to…
Karen confirms that she did get the diamond, which calms down the megalomaniac boss. But Karen reminds him that if she found out that her boss sent her on this trip from some stupid diamond and not his son and her fiancée that she was going to make him pay. She tells R.B. that she is going to send Charlie’s memory through a laser to that satellite that TraviCom makes money off of now. R.B. tries to convince her against it, but he made his fucking bed and now he is going to have to lie in it as Karen shoots the laser at the satellite, destroying it and TraviCom’s money source for the communication business.
Peter finds Amy and she tells him that she has found the good gorillas, which are the gorillas that shunned her earlier and have now allowed her to join their band.
Amy and Peter say their goodbyes as Amy is now home. Karen and Munro see this as well and are happy to see Amy is back in the wild. Peter wonders if Amy and the gorillas will be alright with the volcano erupting and all. Munro tells Peter that the gorillas know what to do with this situation and it is the three of them he is worried about. The three of them head to the hot air balloon, which lifts off with them inside.
While in the air, Karen tells Peter to throw the blue diamond away for her. Peter asks if she is sure about this and Karen says she is. Peter then throws it.
And There Goes That Diamond, Never To Be Found. No Seriously, The Real Diamond That Was Used As A Prop For That Fell Into The Jungle And Was Never Found By The Crew So They Probably Got Yelled At By Herkimer Diamond As There Are Two Places In The Fucking World That Could Get Those Crisp Diamonds And The One In New York (Which They Used) Were Large Enough To Make To Film. So Yeah, Rare Diamond Got Lost. Good Job, Morons.
With there being a wind in the sky, they hope it blows them some place good as Amy looks on. We end with her and the other gorillas as the African chanting song plays again.
Now despite the majority hatred of this film by critics, this film made a boatload of money. Against a $50 million budget, the film made $152 million worldwide ($81,022,101 domestic). However, 1996 was a great year for cinema profit wise so Congo didn’t even make the Top 10 in box office, topped by Toy Story.
As for the crew, Frank Marshall went mostly back to producing, only directing one more feature film in Eight Below, which was definitely a box office bomb. Laura Linney (who played Karen Ross) has gone on to have a successful career, being nominated three times in the Academy Awards for Best Actress. Dylan Walsh (who played Peter Elliot) has succeeded more in TV as he was Dr. Sean McNamara in the hit show Nip/Tuck and is right now the male lead in the TV series Unforgettable. Delroy Lindo and Joe Pantaliano (who had uncredited roles as Captain Wanta & Eddie Ventro) have gone on to be huge with Lindo scoring his biggest role in the voice of one of the dogs in Up and Pantaliano having his biggest role being in The Matrix as a turncoat and in Memento as the guy who is the killer. Unfortunately, despite having the best role, Ernie Hudson (who played Munro Kelly) has not had much success after Congo, although he did have a good run on the HBO hit Oz. Tim Curry (who played Herkimer Homolka) found a career in voice acting and Broadway, but sadly suffered a stroke in 2012 and has sadly been struggling with it since.
Worse news is that there have been a few deaths since the film’s release. Lawrence Wrentz (who played Professor Arliss Wender) passed away on June 16, 1997 at the age of 43. Mary Ellen Trainor (who played Moira, who was next to the guy who loved the talking gorilla) died in 2015 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. But probably the saddest news was that Michael Crichton, who was responsible for the book, died in 2008 due to cancer.
So my thoughts on the film. While I absolutely love this film, I do see the problems. The gorilla costumes look dated and you can easily tell who is a gorilla and who is a human in a suit. The CGI looks dated by today’s standards, especially the lava. Tim Curry’s accent is laughably bad. And sadly, only a few characters are memorable. But it is never boring and the music accompanies the film extremely well. The gore was done well. And you cannot tell me you were not entertained by Ernie Hudson as Munro Kelly. It is an extremely fun film that I will be okay watching if it is on.
Now we move into the 2000s and we are going to talk about a remake that I like, that most people do not like. And before anyone asks, yes…the original is bad too, but I will not be inducting it as it really has no monsters in it despite the title so without further ado, the next induction will be.