The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)

I've heard it called "JAWS with claws" and that's a fair summation 
of the plot, though that tag line does little to quantify quality.  
Director Stephen Hopkins (BLOWN AWAY, PREDATOR 2) and screenwriter 
William Goldman (MAVERICK, MISERY) would have you believe that this 
is an epic historical drama about man against nature, based on what 
really happened in Africa to the railroad workers trying to build a 
bridge to the 20th Century.  They've stacked the deck with two big 
stars (Val Kilmer, Michael Douglas), a bigger production design, 
beautiful photography (by Academy Award winner Vilmos Zsigmond), 
and a score so overblown that it makes THE LION KING soundtrack 
sound like chamber music.  The movie doesn't make a lick of sense, 
though, either as an epic or as your basic boo-fest.  In fact, some 
of the bits are so laughably ludicrous that you may think you've 
stumbled into the sequel to MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE 
MOVIE.  How about the three guys with rifles, who trap a lion and 
then can't even hit the damned thing?  Or the ham-on-wry acting of 
Michael Douglas, who chews more scenery than the animals ever do??    
Or, my favorite, lions so agile that they can even climb onto 
rooftops?!?  (Rated "R"/110 min.)

Grade: D+

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: October 24, 1996

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