Skip to main content

Congo (1995)

Congo. Feature film. (1995, 109 mins) IMDB

...Why is CONGO such a bad movie?...


he question isn't: is this good or bad film? The question to answer is: why is this a bad film? It struck me very early in watching it, that I wasn't going to have fun watching this film and I didn't.

There are two elements to consider. The dialogue and plot.

On the plot, it's paint by numbers. Because three diverse groups have to hook up as one to make a trek from the US to the darkest part of Central Africa, the story creates these ridiculous scenes. Does Dr. Ross really have to plead to get onboard a charter flight leaving the US? No, but the film wants them together and so that's what happens. That's just one of many examples.

The ending makes no sense. The climax happens well before the end and they escape in a hot air balloon!

So much of the story makes no sense, isn't the least bit believable and truly ridiculous. It's painful to think about it.

Then there is the dialogue. It's filled with boring exposition. In an attempt to liven it up, melodramatic conflict is added. Errrrr!

One bright spot was Joe Pantoliano's small role as a hustler at the airport. Too bad he didn't have a larger role.

I still haven't answered my question. Why is CONGO a bad film? It's based on a book by Michael Crichton. That's a good start. The screenplay is credited to John Patrick Shanley. He's a top notch playwright and screenwriter, but I suspect his strengths aren't with action-adventure movies and it's difficult to know how much of what he wrote ended up in the screen. How much did the producers, director, studio execs and actors change or have changed?

Here's the other twist. There are lots of special effects movies and action-adventure movies with weak dialogue and ridiculous plots, but there's a certain level of entertainment in them that make them enjoyable--not great films, but enjoyable. CONGO is neither.

At this point, I'm only guessing at why it's such a bad movie. Too many characters with hero potential. Stick to one. Perhaps. No clear objective--at least one that's worthy of being in a film. The story should have been designed better with a clear focus on Dr. Ross.

I can't pinpoint it and maybe that's it. There are many wrong elements in this film, not just one.

The other question: how did this script get made? I can understand wanting to make a film based on Crichton's book, but why this version?

Posted 2009/03/10 at 19h25ET in Movie Commentary.


Popular posts from this blog

Cast of Characters from The Protectors

Friday, September 16, 2011 ... Cast of Characters from The Protectors... M ost novels do not include a list of characters, although I have read some with them. Tolstoy readers would likely appreciate it. Plays do. Scripts don’t. Not sure what the thinking is, but I didn’t include it with my novel. I had a feeling I’d be shot if I had suggested it, but with the internet, I can provide such a list and here is the list of the major players in my first novel The Protectors (A Thriller).
Black Carr Security Consultants Limited Baird Carr, Former CIA Officer, Co-founder, OwnerEmerson Black, Former Secret Service Agent, Co-founder, OwnerSarah Bishop, Former FBI Agent, Senior ConsultantDebra Paeytonne, Office AdministratorBeth, ReceptionistStephen Tedeschi, Former Secret Service Agent, ConsultantNigel, Independent Consultant
U.S. Secret Service Ken Milton, DirectorRichard Heyward, Retired AgentJulian Constance, Agent, Killed in Assassination AttemptTrisha Evrington, AgentTerry Flannon, Agen…

Day 5—Writing a Novel—The Deep Blue Cage

Monday, November 21st, 2016 No work on the novel on Day 4. Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 18:31 Office ... if I use Leänne instead of Leanne how will people react... Y esterday was Sunday and I took it off, plus I was dealing with some mental health issues. I know this story is something that is simply a matter of putting in the time to make it happen. I’m supposed to be working on it as much as I can but I haven’t been doing that. Two main reasons. It’s been a while since I’ve worked on a story. Then there’s the issues of my mental health. Things happen. I get down and it impacts on my writing. I might be using it as an excuse, but it’s clearly something I need to deal with. I have to find a schedule I can work with. Perhaps I need to put this first and cut out other things. Not sure but I will figure it out. A name for the hero came to me. For the moment going with Leanne or is it Leanna? Should be Le…

Writing a Novel–The Deep Blue Cage–Introduction

Thursday, March 9th, 2017 ... I fight my insecurities and doubts and I withdraw farther away from people and life ... I n November 2016 I started work on a new novel with the working title: The Deep Blue Cage. A few weeks after I started, I stopped. I was feeling too depressed about everything including the idea of writing a new novel. It happens to me at various times, with varying degrees, and it is debilitating. The ultimate issue was: Why bother? Why bother write another novel no one will read and no one will care about. I also found I was dreading the writing process more and more. It was painful to think about. I walked away and focused on other things. Or tried to. That didn’t work either. I felt trapped and unsure where I should head, what I should do. I even asked the big question, what the hell is life about anyway. There’s no one answer to this question despite the proclamations of some and because I believe I can think critically, can reason, I look at it from many a…