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Laramie Movie Scope: Congo

An adventurous romp in the jungle

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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June 13, 1995 -- ``Congo'' is one of those entertaining summer movies in the tradition of ``Raiders of the Lost Ark,'' while ``Forget Paris'' is a Woody Allen-type romantic comedy.

Congo's roots go back to the old Saturday matinee serials that always ended with a cliffhanger. ``Congo'' brings the genre up to date with high-tech special effects. It also has a surprising amount of humor.

There's the bizarre character of Tim Curry, who is looking for King Solomon's mines, and Dylan Walsh, who just wants to get his gorilla home to Africa. They get tangled up with professional adventurer Monroe (Ernie Hudson of the ``Ghostbuster'' movies and ``The Crow'').

Hudson and Curry chew up the scenery and the rest of the cast, including the tough, but sentimental woman scientist (Laura Linney) also seem to be having a lot of fun in this light-hearted romp. There's one cliffhanger after another as the group has to contend with a tottering military dictatorship, rocket-firing rebels, killer apes and an angry volcano. The gorillas in the film, by the way, are a convincing composite of miniatures, puppets and other trickery. The talking gorilla, Amy, is a riot with its doll-like synthetic voice.

We've all seen this plot before in films such as ``Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold,'' but usually they are not done this well. Although the tone of the film is light, there is some graphic violence that might not be suitable for younger viewers.

Director Frank Marshall (``Arachnophobia'') keeps the suspense high and the action fast-paced enough that I didn't mind the holes in the plot. If you want to dwell on details, you won't like this film, but if you just sit back and relax and try not to be crabby, it is a lot of fun. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)