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JulyDiaz

Episode 73 — Congo

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Thats what happened, it was on a tripod (which was part of the satellite phone, I believe, and had its own motors and stuff to get it into position), not her shoulder.

 

Although its kind of explained stupidly, "what would happen to the satellite if I put its phone number in this laser and pull the trigger...The chip from the transmitter has the satellite's number, doesn't it"

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Paul, you read The Onion A.V Club? Nice nice.

 

Good show. Good luck on your movie June!

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If he's deaf, how can he hear his "voice" for the first time?

(if a tree falls in a forest....)

 

He wasn't deaf, he was mute.

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Also, did I miss it or was there no discussion about Amy's constant requests to be tickled?

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There was, Jason compared it to some kid who was used to being molested. (like "lets play the tickle game" or whatever.) It was in the discussion about how the love story is between Peter and Amy.

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There was a bit of talk about her tickling and how it was kinda molesty for Peter to do that to an ape.

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There was a bit of talk about her tickling and how it was kinda molesty for Peter to do that to an ape.

 

I must have missed it, I was listening to this in the car so I missed a few things.

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Who's eyeball was that in the beginning? The one that Bruce Campbell picked up. I thought it was Grant Heslov's eyeball but, he had both eyeballs when they see him later on. Did he find the missing eyeball and pop it back in?

 

Grant Heslov isn't the guy with Bruce Campbell in the beginning though, that's Taylor Nichols. So presumably it was Taylor Nichols' eyeball.

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None of you realize how validated I feel just because they talked about how this plot centered on Communications.

 

Also, I GENUINELY think that Laura Linney was not the ex-wife or ex-fiancee of Bruce Campbell. I thought that they WERE engaged, and that Laura Linney said "I almost married him for Christ's sake!" because she was beginning to believe he was dead, thus the follow up line, "what am I saying".

 

I wouldn't put it passed this screenplay to be so clumsy with exposition, but if they were currently engaged that would be a very weird way of putting it. I'd think she'd say, 'That's my fiance!' or 'That's my boyfriend you're talking about!' instead of 'Hey, I almost married that man that is probably dead now because we are engaged!'

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Here's a mass gorilla suicide gif for you. Why? Because those bastards ate my sesame cake, that's why.

 

massgorillasuicide_zps45a3b1f5.gif

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When the ape starts to drink and Tim Curry's character continues to talk, I imagine that hearty sigh was Tim Curry sighing, forcing himself to endure a ridiculous scene while trying not to break his equally ridiculous character.

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Am I the only one who read the novel? I thought there would be more people. I mean it was a bestseller.

 

The book had many flaws (the biggest one being a stupid ending) but it did a very good job of building suspense. It really had you on the edge of your seat, wondering what they would eventually find. The movie couldn't even accomplish that because it just made no sense. How can you be scared or tense about what's coming when you don't even get what's going on?

 

Also this movie (and the book, and popular culture in general) greatly exaggerates the ability of gorillas to communicate via sign language. It is extremely stilted compared to what humans can do. Apes that have been brought up and constantly taught sign language from birth can learn 100, maybe 200 different words and have almost no understanding of grammar. Whereas a typical human adult nows more than 50,000 words, and has mastered countless rules of grammar, syntax, and intonation that allows almost infinite shades of meaning and subtlety. It's not even that humans are smart. We have structures in our brain specifically designed for language that other animals simply do not. So to look at apes and say they can do language is like looking at the world's best human high jumpers and saying they can fly.

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Thats what happened, it was on a tripod (which was part of the satellite phone, I believe, and had its own motors and stuff to get it into position), not her shoulder.

 

Although its kind of explained stupidly, "what would happen to the satellite if I put its phone number in this laser and pull the trigger...The chip from the transmitter has the satellite's number, doesn't it"

 

OK, good. I guess my brain was convoluting what actually happened with how they described it on the podcast and how she sliced the white gorillas in half.

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Jason: "I feel like she [Amy] learned a game about being molested and was going to keep playing the game. Like she might as well have been like, 'Paint on my back?'"

 

I laughed so hard at work.

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Am I the only one who read the novel? I thought there would be more people. I mean it was a bestseller.

 

This is a podcast about the movin' pictures! This aint no highfalutin, mamby-pamby podcast about words on pages.

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Holy shit.

 

I just read the Wiki to see how big a difference the movie was from the book and its insane. Munro really was white in the book, hence the joke by Ernie Hudson saying he was the great white African hunter but he was black. Also Dr. Peter and Amy were treated almost as an afterthought and were used more as a possible safe gaurd against any gorillas that they may come across in the jungle. The diamonds were meant to be used for new computer processors rather than lasers, and a lot more of the team survived. Also, Tim Curry's character wasn't even in the book, so his character was created SOLELY for audiences to watch a douchey European guy get killed by a gorilla. The one thing I glad wasn't transferred over to the movie was the idea that the gorilla's may have been gorilla/human hybrids. Also the volcano only exploded in the book because the Laura Linney character was setting off explosives to do geological surveys of the area, rather than just because.

 

What's weird is that the screenwriter basically decided to give Crichton the finger when he wrote the script, especially after how well Jurassic Park did. While he did have some elements of Crichton's style in the book with the tech talk and some corporate espionage, it was all so rushed and came off has unnecessary. And instead of a post-credit scene of just the balloon not taking them to a safe place, I want it to be that along with Peter saying something like "I know Amy is now happy and safe" and then cut to the Silverbacks just viciously killing Amy since she's not part of their herdand came off as trying to take over as the alpha.

 

Ditto. I got on a real Crichton reading kick after I saw Jurassic Park and read through all of his earlier stuff. Congo was one of my favorites. I was very excited for this flick, but man was it a disappointment to my 15-year old self. It's like the screenwriter took the basic beats of the movie, threw out any of the technical stuff, shifted the focus to the damn talking gorilla, and rounded it off with a set piece monster-killing scene. They lost a lot of good stuff, like the scene in the book they find a way to make peace with the grey gorillas and leave Zsinj, and later have an encounter with the ghost tribe(who throw poop at them).

 

And yeah, I think I unconsciously blocked it out before, but now that Jason mentioned it, Peter was definitely banging that gorilla.

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What's weird is that the screenwriter basically decided to give Crichton the finger when he wrote the script, especially after how well Jurassic Park did. While he did have some elements of Crichton's style in the book with the tech talk and some corporate espionage, it was all so rushed and came off has unnecessary.

I haven't seen the movie, but if there was ever a writer who deserved to be given the finger early and often, it's Michael Crichton.

 

I'll give him a pass on his novels with medical themes and plots; I've only read A Case of Need, and nothing about it jumped out as being obviously stupid. But with the exception of Airframe and Disclosure, every other book of his that I've read has some insane and gratuitous logical or factual howler in it. (Note that I'm only discussing logical and factual flaws, here. I'm purposely leaving out political and social arguments.) Jurassic Park had a moronic digression where the mathematician character argued that chaos theory proved that Jurassic Park would fail. Rising Sun out and out lied about the reason why T. Boone Pickens wasn't allowed onto the board of directors of Koito; it was actually because he didn't really own all of the shares he claimed to, and the whole thing was an attempted greenmail scheme to get paid by Koito to shut up and fuck off. Prey had swarms of nanobots outracing human beings, a notion that any physics graduate student could have told him was stupid, because the movement of objects that small would be severely limited by the mean velocity of the air molecules. And State of Fear was utterly retarded when it came to discussing global warming. The generous interpretation of Crichton's writing in that novel would be that he consciously decided to lie about it to get money from stupid right-wingers. It would almost be slander to state that Crichton actually believed that shit.

 

So, Congo and those colored diamonds. Look, if you could preferentially dope diamond films with n-type and p-type dopants, like you do with silicon when you make integrated circuit elements, you could (potentially) do some really interesting engineering, as diamond has higher thermal conductivity and has a higher breakdown voltage, allowing for smaller features and therefore a greater density of features in an IC. But if there is some way to use a naturally occuring colored diamond to make those features, no one has been able to explain to me what the hell it is.

 

And there it is. The whole reason given in the book for going to get the damn diamonds makes no sense. Let's stop implying that an adaptation of a Crichton novel sucks because it wasn't faithful enough to the source material. Because most of the time, that's a fucking plus.

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Ixnay on Cannibal Holocaust. That should be removed, no one associated with this podcast is gonna watch it. Like I said before, I own the damn thing and I'm not going to watch it. Actual on camera animal abuse/death = NOPE.

Like this week's movie, the animals in "Cannibal Holocaust" that were abused/killed were really all tiny people in suits. Clearly.

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What I don't think ANYONE has pointed out at all is that the idea having the gorilla that "talks" through using sign language is COMPLETELY unimpressive when we know it's just a person in a suit. If it was never going to be a real gorilla, they should have just gone for all the bonkers with it and had the damn thing actually speak.

 

And did Paul say X-BOX Power Glove at one point? That's ridiculous. I mean, it would have had a red ring of death the second they hit that humid jungle air!

 

(also, it was a Nintendo product.)

 

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I honestly do not know what to think of the gorilla suits. When I was thinking back to this movie, I didn't think they were god awful, but when I rewatched, I found myself staring at Amy's rubber face.

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So, Congo and those colored diamonds. Look, if you could preferentially dope diamond films with n-type and p-type dopants, like you do with silicon when you make integrated circuit elements, you could (potentially) do some really interesting engineering, as diamond has higher thermal conductivity and has a higher breakdown voltage, allowing for smaller features and therefore a greater density of features in an IC. But if there is some way to use a naturally occuring colored diamond to make those features, no one has been able to explain to me what the hell it is.

 

Well, it does at least sound plausible. Like maybe there could be some sort of technology, that we haven't developed yet, that would use them. If you are more educated in the science behind it, that does make it less believable but for most people it sounds plausible because most people don't know enough about how microprocessors work. And it at least makes sense that this technology, if it existed, would be useful and profitable. In the movie, you can't even wrap your head around what the technology is supposed to do. It makes lasers? But it's supposed to be for information technology? But they have a gun that is clearly designed to use them as a weapon of mass destruction? But it's used for satellites? But it's so powerful that it blows up satellites? What the fuck is this?

 

I'm not saying the book is great, by any means. But I think it does what does pretty well, and would say the same for most of Crichton's novels up till the mid-90s. They're hardly classic literature, but they work well as entertaining pulp. Whereas this movie is just a complete train wreck.

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"...he was born without the organs for speech..."

 

Considering the two human organs required for speech are the brain & lungs, I don't understand how he could be alive without either of them.

 

Also, I can willingly suspend disbelief and buy that the Nintendo PowerGlove device tracks specific arm/hand movements and interprets them into audible words... But Amy the gorilla pretty much (or quite literally, actually) does the exact same motions for everything she "says". Makes no sense. But then again, nothing in this film really does.

 

post-63714-0-74439100-1381469385_thumb.png

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Well, it does at least sound plausible. Like maybe there could be some sort of technology, that we haven't developed yet, that would use them. If you are more educated in the science behind it, that does make it less believable but for most people it sounds plausible because most people don't know enough about how microprocessors work. And it at least makes sense that this technology, if it existed, would be useful and profitable. In the movie, you can't even wrap your head around what the technology is supposed to do. It makes lasers? But it's supposed to be for information technology? But they have a gun that is clearly designed to use them as a weapon of mass destruction? But it's used for satellites? But it's so powerful that it blows up satellites? What the fuck is this?

When the movie Starship Troopers came out, fans of the Robert Heinlein novel were hugely outraged by it. The way they spoke about it, you would think that the movie literally exhumed Heinlein's corpse and viciously kicked it to smithereens. They thought of the novel as a brilliant science fiction epic with incisive social and political commentary, and here was this cheesy teen love-triangle space soap opera that reduced the story to a bunch of models shooting giant bugs.

 

Which is why the movie is so great. Heinlein's book -- a loathsome apology for fascism -- is completely beneath contempt and it deserved every bit of mockery the movie cleverly aimed at it. The fact that the novel has a superficial science fiction plausibility, at least in the eyes of its fans, doesn't make it any more realistic than the movie, which ends up being a smarter piece of fiction by far.

 

There are any number of science fiction movies and books that require a limited suspension of disbelief in order to get the plot going. Primer, an amazing movie, works off of the premise that it is possible to create a time machine, albeit one with limited scope. That's as unrealistic as movie devices can get, but Shane Carruth carefully figured out a plot that had an airtight consistency, and used it to push forward a great story about the struggle between ambition and conscience. Jurassic Park had to posit that it was possible to clone dinosaurs from DNA that was millions of years old and spliced with frog DNA, because otherwise you don't get dinosaurs in the 20th century. It's also impossible, but fine. But because Michael Crichton wasn't smart enough to know when he didn't fucking understand what he was talking about, he told himself, "Hey, chaos theory is neat, why don't I shoehorn it into the plot, even though it's completely unnecessary and what the mathematician says about it makes no fucking sense?"

 

Which brings us to Congo. Crichton could have decided to have the team search out a rich vein for mining coltan. He could have decided that they were after diamonds, but for the usual reason that they're (artifically) valuable, and can be sold to jewelers. In the book, it's just a MacGuffin, after all, and the plot is really about intelligent apes. But he just couldn't resist. He just had to bring up diamonds for use in integrated circuits, because that would demonstrate just how smart he was. And the actual effect was the exact opposite of what he intended.

 

So the movie, which as you say claims that the diamonds are variously for making lasers, information technology, satellites, and for blowing up satellites, isn't any less plausible and isn't the slightest bit dumber than what Crichton had in mind. And the big plus of the movie being all over the place about this is that it serves as a nice kick in the teeth to a completely unnecessary part of the novel, just like how Starship Troopers the movie apparently raped the childhoods of Heinlein fans, to hear them go on and on about it. From what June, Paul, Jason, and Nick say, it was an accidental kick in the teeth, but fuck it, it still counts. And that's why if someone put a gun to my head and forced me to choose between watching Congo the movie 4 times in a row and re-reading Congo the book, I'd pick the movie in a heartbeat.

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