Here's the thing. I've set up a website about all this, but I can use this blog to go into a little more depth from time to time. So here goes...
In the UK, the television guide The Radio Times has given the film Congo 1 star out of 5. (See the review here http://www.radiotimes.com/servlet_film/com.icl.beeb.rtfilms.client.simpleSearchServlet?frn=3446&searchTypeSelect=5)
Now even Channel 4, and their sister channel Film Four, who show Congo most of the time, have given Congo 3 1/2 stars. (See their review here http://www.channel4.com/film/reviews/film.jsp?id=102273) This is closer to the film I love. At least other films can be better or worse than it.
I feel The Radio Times have given Congo a hard time. No film shown on television can get less than 1 star, therefore, according to The Radio Times, every film broadcast on television, including all the cable and sky channels, must be better than Congo, or at worst, as good as. For example The Radio Times has given Raiders of the Lost Ark a review of 5 stars, making it 5 times superior than Congo. In this case I would agree. But they have also given Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies a 5 star review. This film is in no way 5 times better, nor equal to Congo.
With the bench mark set I have taken it upon myself to review all the films I've seen based on whether or not it is better than, equal to, or worse than Congo. See the main web page under My Corner of the Web links.
This is all still an introduction. What I really want to say tonight is why I think Congo has been misrepresented. Talking monkeys aside (and even that doesn't happen much) Congo has a pretty tough lineup of cool actors. Joe Pantalioni, Tim Curry, Ernie Hudson, and even Bruce Campbell pops in for a brief role. In a line up you can't beat those actors. Delroy Lindo shows up for a brief cameo demanding Tim Curry not to eat his sesame cake. Dylan Walsh is in there and Joe Don Baker and even Peter Jason squeezes in a brief cameo. Then you've got Laura Linney leading the cast. I know she probably hasn't looked back on this experience since, but by my book its a great addition to any career.
And that's just the casting, story wise its a great adventure. It has action, comedy, horror, a crazy satellite lazer gun. All the things to make it an enjoyable experience. Not to mention the fact that its about evil killer monkeys. Now come on. Film bosses know monkeys can pull in a crowd. And these monkeys kill.
I think I've basically covered the main points. Oh, just remembered, Congo even had its own video game based on it. Granted this was actually rubbish but still. There's not many films out there that can boast all the above.
I can't see why Congo has been given a bad rap. It's based on a book by Michael Crichton and people ate up Jurassic Park. I know there's a talking monkey in it, but as I mentioned she doesn't talk as much as you think. The last time I watched it I was trying to see why someone would deem it worthy of only 1 star. And I honestly couldn't. This film is terribly underrated. I love it. I like the jokes, the ensemble cast, everything. Even the music is good.
I think I've proved my point (or madness) so I'll leave it to you to decide. I also realise that they are gorillas, and not monkeys but same difference. The reason behind the website is just to put things into context. It's a simple review system. Some films are actually better than Congo. Quite a few are just as good as Congo. And a hell of a lot just don't cut it.
Please check out the website to see for yourself. If you can't see a film on there yet, submissions are welcome.
Oh, and Congo is obviously as good a Congo before you go checking. It is the benchmark after all.