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Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘CONGO – Smart Gorillas, Dumb Script’


Congo, released in June of 1995, came hot on the heels of the mega hit Jurassic Park. Like that film, Congo was based on a novel by Michael Crichton. It was also a globe-trotting adventure big on effects and boasting aggressive animals to escape. 

That, in essence, is where the similarities end. Those correlations, though, were enough for the studio to mass market Congo as if it were the next must-see summer attraction. They spent nearly $100 million burrowing this movie into the psyche of impressionable children; a number that was nearly double its production budget. 

The campaign included a board game, multiple awful video games, generic action figures, and even a gnarly looking burrito from Taco Bell. In short, expectations were high. Yet, there was one inescapable hurdle: The movie just isn’t very good; and for a film that sells you on murderous gorillas, there is a distinct lack of them.

Unlike Jurassic Park—which does its damndest to bring dinosaurs back to life—Congo fails to create that same aura around its gruesome gorillas. Worse, itdoesn’t really know what it wants to be. Marketed to kids, but written for adults, it waffles between tones, never settling on one for too long. It’s poorly paced, nonsensically scripted, and under delivers on its initial promise of blood-soaked tension and terror.

One of the Aggressive Gorillas in Congo Gets the Laser Treatment

There is no whimsy to these maniacal apes. Thus, a film that could’ve been Aliens in the jungles of the Congo is instead a half-baked adventure story, jam packed with overacting and bad accents. The latter of which renders it so silly that it may actually be worthy of cult status.

So sit back, sheer off the top of a Sonoran White Chocolate Ale from the Sonoran Brewing Co. with a diamond-powered laser, and stop eating our sesame cake! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla are rolling up our sleeves to go toe-to-toe with some skull crushing monsters with an affinity for high-priced minerals!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Diamonds are forever; this movie’s appeal is not. Yes, it is bad, but is it so bad that it’s good? (00:00)
  • Fact or Fiction: The Lost City of Zinj – I challenge Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla to a series of Congo-related trivia questions.(1:00:38)
  • Recommendations – Next up: We begin our brave trek down the perilous road of terrible video game adaptations with Super Mario Bros.! (1:12:54)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the extremely dated tie-in commercials and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotifyAcastTuneIn, and iHeartRadio!


Thomas L. Kelly

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