December 31, 2013.

This blog is now closed. After three years and 311 posts, I have decided to end this blog. I have enjoyed watching the films, reviewing them, and interacting with global readers.

If you are interested in contacting me, you can do so by commenting on any of the posts. The blog will remain live on the web.
Thank you to all the readers for your comments, ideas, and thoughts. They were helpful, stimulating, and enriching. This is Alene, signing off.

November 28, 2011

Congo (1995)

When it's over, I'm amazed by how far special effects have come in the last 15 years.  Congo is based on the late Michael Crichton's novel of the same name about an expedition into the African jungle that takes a disastrous turn.  The film offers up some suspense and not much character development even though there's plenty of characters to explore and expand, including an CIA operative, a mercenary, a treasure hunter, and a researcher with a talking gorilla named Amy.  There's no Andy Serkis, the motion capture ace who brought Gollum to life from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, behind the character of Amy.  The use of puppetry is the main driving force with very little CGI used, if any.  The action sequences between man and gorillas isn't as elaborate or epic as the recent The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but the intent to generate horror and panic is still very much prevalent in the final scenes of Congo, which I can guess took twice as long to film without the convenience of CGI.  I think the age of CGI has definitely enhanced films visually and have allowed scenes of destruction to be more aptly achieved, but I still appreciate the craftsmanship, workmanship, and talent that goes into the lost art of puppetry. 

My rating: 3 out of 5

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