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Gordon Bombay

Did Anyone Ever See "Congo," the film that "Congo Falls" was loosely 'themed' after when Action Zone was built.

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So back in 1988, Amazon Falls made its debut at KI. An Intamin "chute the chutes" ride, it's giant splash has been an iconic view in the park. A few years after the initial Paramount acquisition, the area surrounding Congo Falls was re themed, remodeled and became the "Paramount Action Zone." AZ was intended to come off as an area that was like a Hollywood backlot featuring rides themed to Paramount's films. Of course you had "Top Gun," the company's 1986 Blockbuster that came to life as a roller coaster in 1993, but you also had two new attractions that took on Paramount themes. "Face/Off" and "Drop Zone" debuted. Aside from sharing names with lackluster action movies, the "themes" pretty much ended there (Drop Tower did have an automated spiel from a "director" for awhile who gave you safety instructions under the pretense that you were filming the climactic ending to a forgettable Wesley Snipes film). Amazon Falls, whether you knew it or not, also joined the movie lineup by becoming "Congo Falls," named after Paramount's commercially successful, but critically panned film "Congo."

At the time, and as a 10 year old, I saw Action Zone as Paramount (technically Viacom) really making an effort to tie in their movie properties into a true theme park ala Universal Studios. Looking back the "theming" really just came off as lazy and cheap, although the ride additions were great.

I've never bothered to watch Face/Off or Drop Zone, but last night I noticed Congo was on Netflix. "What the hell?" I thought and queued it up. Maybe it would bring back some late 90s, Action Zone, ten year old nostalgia. Maybe the movie had a climactic ending on a waterfall which is why the ride was themed that way?

So, I watched it and here's a review. Warning: Spoilers Ahead, but really I'm saving you time, trust me.

The movie starts out with some cinematic music and these great, beautiful shots of a safari heading through Africa. The safari begins an expedition, finds some diamonds, uses techno babble to video link with a communications headquarters back in the USA and report on the expedition's progress. The whole scene takes a lot of time to convey what seems like primitive technology now, essentially they're using old school "FaceTime." Then the expedition is mysteriously killed.

Ok, cheesy 90's action, let's keep watching.

Yeah, so, then there's this elaborate plot revealed with a communications company wanting to steal diamonds and some professor teaching a gorilla to use sign language to talk. This whole part makes no sense and takes about 30 minutes for everyone to get to "The Congo," but they have to bribe a guard and parachute out of a plane for some reason.

Also, the one black guy from Ghostbusters shows up and is in this movie.

I fell asleep after that, woke up and read the rest of the plot on Wikipedia. Apparently I slept through the climactic laser fight with the super gorillas at the end.

TL:DR - Don't watch Congo, it's bad, and not a cheesy but loveable 90s action flick bad. It's like one of the crappier of the crappy Sci-Fi channel original movies.

...and Paramount "themed" a ride to it.

All in all, I think the true theme if Action Zine wasn't movies. Like Congo, the theme was, how poorly can Viacom make something and expect people to buy into it? Congo cost a lot of money and people paid to see it. It wasn't good, but it made money. Much like how Action Zone had cost money and people came to the park to ride some good rides, not "experience" the movies like at other theme parks.

The lesson to be learned: Congo Falls theme wasn't "Congo," it was actually "Viacom Corporate Strategy."

Edit: This isn't to say Paramount/Viacom didn't do great things for the park, they certainly did and Cedar Fair follows a lot of their "themes" to this day.

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Some black sand with some glass nuggets, and an animatronic ape would have completed the theming.

I saw it in Auburn Maine, early in the afternoon about a month after it was released.

(Interesting note (maybe?): I was already a little depressed after someone in the row behind us announced the death of painter Bob Ross (one of my heroes), which happened that week, so I was a bit distracted anyway; however, by about the time the ultra-fake-looking lava started chasing the antagonists... to ... wherever, people literally started getting up out of their seats to go watch something else. My friend and I stayed, and just MST3K'd the remainder of the film, to the delight of a couple of old ladies who found our running commentary (esp. my friends') more entertaining than the film.

One example: "Who dares disturb the temple of crystal paperweights?!"

Ah, good times.

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Yeah, not a good movie.

Novel (which is pretty good) was written by the fella behind Jurassic Park and Lost World, though, so I'm sure that was the intention... A Jurassic Park-sized triumph. Whoops. Even with Drop Zone and Face/Off, Congo might be the most "in name only" moment in Action Zone haha.

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Bruce Campbell got killed off early, it kinda soured me towards the rest of the film.

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Kings Island has some stuff from the movie in the old cinema 360 during one season. It was not to much just some movie props.

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I think it's because I rode and enjoyed the rides before seeing the movie, but I actually enjoyed The Italian Job. I've heard it's a travesty compared to the original with Michael Caine, but I thought it was enjoyable.

Then again, maybe I'm not the best judge. The original Star Wars trilogy bored me to tears.

(Time to dodge the onslaught of light sabers...)

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Nor with "The Lost World," imho.

He originally didn't want to write Lost World. He was persuaded to do so by Spielberg. It is rumored he brought back a dead character (Malcolm) out of a sick joy since he is a rough character to enjoy from the first book.

my favorite Mc books: Jurassic Park, Prey, Congo, Airframe, Micro

Least favorite: Lost World, Pirate Latitudes

Sent from my SM-T520 using Tapatalk

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I saw it when I was 9 or 10 years old...and was convinced I would have nightmares.

I'm gonna be the odd person out and admit that I actually kind of enjoyed the movie, in that it was at least entertaining enough for me. I agree it was pretty badly made, though. And after reading the suggestions here, I'm definitely gonna read the book.

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The "bad gorilla!" part towards the end was just soooo horrendous. That's all I really remember about it.

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And it's Shoot the Chutes.

Also (don't) see Italian Job.

It's even worse.

I enjoyed The Italian Job, 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to the 21% that Congo picked up, for what ever that is worth.

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On my "horribleness" of movies scale, "Congo" ranks somewhere midway between Joel Schumacher's "Batman & Robin" (1997) and Kevin Costner's "Waterworld" (1995).

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Read the book...never saw the movie. I think that Viacom/Paramount had hoped "Congo" would be their answer to Jurassic Park...didn't quite turn out that way.

I think it's also debatable that either FaceOff or Drop Zone were "themed" to anything...yes, the rides took on the same names as a few Paramount films, but there really was no theming involved. The Paramount Parks at that time definitely seemed to confuse "naming" and "theming" sometimes :-)

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To be fair, they had a catalogue of titles. It would've been silly to not use them. Sure, Drop Zone didn't have any allusion to the film. Didn't really need one, did it? Drop Zone is just a great name for a drop ride. Same with FACE/OFF. Nicholas Cage wasn't delivering the safety spiel or anything, but if you've got it, use it.

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I lost faith in Paramount's movie themed rides when they failed to build racing Wild Mouse coasters themed to the movie "Rat Race"

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I think that Viacom/Paramount had hoped "Congo" would be their answer to Jurassic Park...didn't quite turn out that way.

I remember thinking as a kid that Congo would be "the next Jurassic Park", and getting excited that a new ride would be put in themed to that movie. Then I saw the movie...

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Then again, maybe I'm not the best judge. The original Star Wars trilogy bored me to tears.

(Time to dodge the onslaught of light sabers...)

You would dare sully the name of the Star Wars original trilogy?!

Get. Out. Of. Here. Now. :P

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To answer the sentence (there's supposed to be a question mark somewhere...) posed in the title:

Yes.

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