Sunday, October 23, 2016

#22 - Jaws 2 (1978), #23 - Congo (1995)

Back in the 70's, animal attack horror was huge.  There was Grizzly (one of my favorites), Ants, Killer Bees, Nightwing (another one of my favorites), Frogs, The Swarm, Kingdom of the Spiders, Squirm (another other favorite), and, of course, Jaws.  Jaws was like the first horror movie summer blockbuster, and launched the entire genre of animal-attack horror movies, one that still continues to this day.

Jaws 2 (1978) is obviously the sequel to the first summer blockbuster ever made, one that Hollywood has been trying to emulate for decades.  Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) returns as the police chief of the island community of Amity, after blowing the shit out of the giant killer shark in the first movie.  Everything seems to be going fine, normal day-to-day routine, until there's a boating accident, and if you've seen the first movie, there's always a boating accident.  Chief Brody starts to worry about another shark coming, and his worry soon overwhelms him.  After shooting his gun off on the beach, trying to stop a school of Bluefin that he thinks is a shark, Chief Brody is fired.  Unfortunately for Brody, his two kids have decided to go day sailing...

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:  Jaws 2 is not as good a movie as Jaws, to be completely honest, but sequels rarely are.  Still, it has the main character returning, his wife, the kids, the mayor, and it's all centered at the same location.  The action and story are slightly different from the first movie, and it's still a good movie in its own right.  Robert Shaw didn't come back for the sequel (he died the year this movie came out, and his character died in the previous Jaws movie, as well), and Richard Dreyfuss' character Matt Hooper was conveniently on an Antarctic schooner at the time, so Chief Brody has to handle the problem all on his own.  That makes this movie a bit bleaker than the first one, so the mood's a little different, but it's still a pretty awesome movie.  Two more sequels followed this sequel, and I'm honestly surprised they haven't decided to remake these movies, too.  You can catch Jaws and all the sequels on Netflix, but I happened to watch Jaws 2 on one of the premium channels, can't recall which one.  I've seen all the Jaws movies dozens of times already, and they never lose their luster.

Congo (1995) is another animal attack movie, this time with gorillas.  An expedition to the Congo goes missing, and Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney) joins another one, in search of her missing boyfriend (Bruce Campbell).  The expedition she joins is headed by Dr. Peter Elliott (Dylan Walsh), who is returning his captured gorilla to the wild with the help of Herkermer Homolka (Tim Curry), a Romanian who believes the ape has seen the Lost City of Zinj, the fabled Diamond Mines of King Solomon, which he has been looking for his entire life.  Along the way, they pick up a guide (Ernie Hudson), and unfortunately, everybody finds exactly what they have been looking for...

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:  The gorillas were actually pretty well done in this movie.  If there's another killer-ape movie that has Bruce Campbell, Tim Curry, Ernie Hudson, Joe Don Baker, Grant Heslov and Stuart Pankin in it, I'll eat my hat (and I don't wear a hat).  The movie starts out with a scary scene, goes into some backstory, has another scary scene, and then just gets scarier and scarier until the ending.  Dr. Karen Ross, an ex-CIA agent and current telecommunications genius, is quite possibly the most bad-ass babe I have ever seen, and makes Lara Croft look like a professional polo champion moonlighting as an amateur archaeologist.  Congo is an awesome movie that I love re-watching, and I highly recommend it.  I caught it on Epix Drive-In, and they may play it again if you're lucky.

In other news, an update on Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (on BBCA at 9pm on saturdays).  The series is pretty much carried by Elijah Wood (though I've only seen the first episode), and he does a good job of it.  It's a little loony (nothing unusual for Douglas Adams), and nothing is explained in the first episode, but it's not bad.  Funny in spots, a bit weird, nothing too loopy.  Although, there was one scene where this one woman is trying to break free from of being handcuffed to a bed frame (no idea why she's there yet), and it's patently obvious from how wide her cuffs are that she could easily have just slipped her hand free of the cuffs and walked away.  Minor glitch in an otherwise well-done show, but I can't stand Dirk Gently.  He seems like a pompous twit, "holistic" or not, and they had to explain the definition of "Holisitc" word for word from the dictionary, twice, to make sure the audience understood it.  I love the "Holistic assassin" who just shoots anyone she wants to, and says "Whoever I kill, that was my target."  Ridiculous, but meh.  Might be fun to watch and see where it leads, though the young assassin sounds like the lunch lady from my old high school after a 3-day whiskey bender.

That's all for tonight, I'm all caught up on my reviews, and I'll catch you guys tomorrow!  :-D

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