Congo (1995)

congo poster 1995 movie amy gorilla
1 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 1/10


Good cast wasted on a bad story with bad visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Congo

Studio:  Kenney/Marshall

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  June 9, 1995

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Smoke ’em if you got ’em!

A communications company called TraviCom which is seeking rare blue diamonds loses its expedition in the Congo.  Sending Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney), the company intends to find the lost group.  Ross finds herself teamed up with a Romanian named Herkermer Homolka (Tim Curry) who is taking Dr. Peter Elliot (Dylan Walsh) and his trained gorilla Amy back to the Congo region.  The mission however is a cover in the search for Zinj…the lost city of King Solomon.  With Captain Munro Kelly (Ernie Hudson) as their guide through the hostile region, the group hopes to survive the region but within the city of Zinj there is a greater evil lurking that has been seen in years.

Directed by Frank Marshall, Congo adapted the 1980 Michael Crichton jungle adventure novel.  The movie was released to a big box-office draw but extremely negative reaction from critics.  The movie was nominated for a number of Razzies for Worst New Star (Amy the Talking Gorilla), Worst Supporting Actress (Amy the Talking Gorilla), Worst Supporting Actor (Tim Curry), Worst Original Song (“(Feel) the Spirit of Africa”), Worst Screenplay, Worst Picture, and Worst Director (losing most of the categories to Showgirls).


“I ain’t afraid of no gorilla!!!”

I read Congo before I saw it and despite being a silly subject, Michael Crichton can write a nice adventure…for a teenage kid.  When Congo came out a year or so after I read it, even I wasn’t fooled by how bad this movie was…but it does go into so bad it is good.

For a movie about suspense and thrills, Congo is very non-thrilling and in fact is quite laughable.  You’ve got people entering a war zone who have no idea somehow.  I realize it was pre-internet, but someone could have asked about the stability of the region before going, and for a primate expert, Dr. Peter Elliot sure doesn’t know anything about the environment that he’s releasing Amy into.


Please Amy…kill me and end this misery!

The movie has a lot of being shot at scenes, a hippo scene, and finally gets to the apes…which are awful looking.  The whole movie is horrible and made even worse in that Jurassic Park (also a Crichton novel) was released a couple years before this.  Even the lead gorilla Amy is weak looking but the movie got rid of the idea that the gray apes used weapons to kill…an interesting concept.  The movie initially toyed with computer animated gorillas, but the budget and the technology weren’t there.  They probably should have just well enough alone and waited to make the story until technology caught up, but the story is so weak that it probably was never possible to make a good movie from it.


Ahhhhh!!!! Why couldn’t I just make another Evil Dead movie!!!!

The saving grace of the movie is the cast is pretty good but wasted on the movie.  You have an early Laura Linney role as probably the best character but both Dylan Walsh and his sacrificial “funny guy” coworker played by Grant Heslov really bog down any traction that Linney could get.  Ernie Hudson is nice as the guide but Joe Pantoliano (who just randomly pops up in different places) is irritating.  Joe Don Baker is Joe Don Baker as the angry yelling money loving leader of the TraviCom corporation and Bruce Campbell has a small role as his doomed son and Linney’s former love interest (which also cuts down chemistry between Linney and Walsh).  Delroy Lindo plays a good creepy warlord type African official and one of his guards is Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.  Another small role is another Oscar nominee John Hawkes as one of the original expedition.  Voice expert extraordinaire Frank Welker provides the voices of the evil gray gorillas.


My precious!!!

The scene stealer of the movie (beside the bad talking gorilla Amy) is Tim Curry as Herkermer Homolka.  It is like Curry is in another movie and the movie he’s in is a comedy.  He is goofy, over-the-top, and plays himself almost as a supervillain…and no one really seems to react to this.  If you met this guy in real life, you wouldn’t buy it for a second.

Congo is a bad film but it definitely falls into the “so-bad-it-is-good” category.  It is short and dumb and therefore a quick easy way to waste and afternoon with mindless entertainment.  I can’t imagine when the movie was being made that it was going to work so I hope that the actors just had fun with it.  In the world of remakes…please pray that Congo gets left alone.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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