Gorillas in the Mist
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Gorillas in the Mist 1988

The story of Dian Fossey, a scientist who came to Africa to study the vanishing mountain gorillas, and later fought to protect them...

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WEAVER IS REMARKABLE IN THIS MOVING AND DISTURBING DRAMA. THE FILM DRAWS YOU INTO THE STORY AMAZINGLY WELL
This movie is dramatic and more black and white with poachers and gorillas than some of the other movies. It introduces how gorillas live and are misunderstood. Also display how far people have to go in order to keep from effecting the animals from which they studied. This movie is good reminder of what people are capable of and how easy it's to become that way simply because animals can't stand up for themselves. This inspiring tale is a true story and is based in Congo region of Africa, where Dian Fossey (Sigourney Weaver), is sent to find more information about little known Mountain Gorillas. Dian starts as bystander pleading to be sent for the trip to Africa in order to help in some way or form. And boy does she finish wrapped in core of the Mountain Gorillas chance of survival. Dian faces love, war, poachers, and beats them one by one as her courage and determination prevails, she's truly an icon, a lady to be remembered. This is made possible by outstanding performance of Sigourney Weaver who succeeds in portraying this strong willed, complex character. Sigourney is fantastically gifted actor and shows us this in this movie.
11-08-06
(***):

Weaver is good in here role and the jungles scenes are beautifully shot. A little long but there are some surprises in this movie.
It's a very sad movie that made me think about the importance of taking care of our planet, especially of the animals in endangered animals. It was a touching movie.
Sometimes, We Need the Obsessed

I really don't know much about Dian Fossey, I have to admit. I will further admit that knowing more about her is not exactly my top priority, research-wise. I admire her passion and intensity, and consensus really does seem to be that she did good things for gorillas--though she, too, was exploited by people who used her name and claimed her goals but if anything were actively working against them. There are certain bare facts of her life which we know to be true, and I'm pretty sure one of them is that she wasn't quite so crazy as she's shown to be here. Certainly the most deeply disturbing stuff in the film is completely fictional, at least of her own behaviour. However, people being the way they are, this is the Dian Fossey who will be remembered. The crazy woman who turned into a witch in the eyes of the locals so that she could protect the gorillas. The woman who staged a hanging to scare off certain poachers. The woman who burned poachers' huts. These images are generally false, but that's who we think she was regardless of what the reality was. It's interesting to speculate what we would see of her had she lived to assist with the film as planned.

Dian Fossey (Sigourney Weaver) wants to work with gorillas in Africa. She convinces world renowned archaeologist Louis Leakey (Iain Cuthbertson) that she should be given the ability to go into the mountains, deep into the African jungle, to study mountain gorillas. She finds a guide, Sembagare (John Omirah Miluwe), and it's only as they're in the jungle that she discovers that he doesn't know any more about finding gorillas than she does. Still, the two of them start bonding with the apes, and they also work together to fight poachers. She has a love affair with Australian photojournalist Bob Campbell (Bryan Brown), but it ends when he can't stay on the mountain with her. She antagonizes local government, even being kicked out of Rwanda on suspicion of being a foreign spy. On 26 December, 1985--shortly after signing a million-dollar deal with Universal Pictures to make a movie of her life story--she was murdered in her bed. To this day, the crime remains unsolved.

Oddly, one of the things which bothered me most about the movie was a superficial thing. She is told at one point that the natives consider her to be a witch because she has hair the colour of fire. Which Fossey kind of did. Only Sigourney Weaver really, really didn't. It had a little red in it, but it was mostly brown. There was also a shot of a Snickers wrapper which was awfully lingering. It also kind of bothered me how fake some of the gorilla suits were. Oh, I know--you can't exactly train wild mountain gorillas to do some of the things which were required here, and by 1988 standards, the whole thing was actually kind of impressive. What's more, I'm not sure whether some of the shots were guys in suits or actual gorillas. However, there were one or two where it was really obvious, and it kind of threw me out of the picture. I also found it hard to believe that a woman would think that bringing a hair dryer to a hut on the top of a mountain in the jungle would be a good idea, or if she would, that anyone would think it would be a good idea to let her do that research in the first place. I mean, underwear, okay. But makeup?

I'm also not sure I really like the Dian Fossey we're presented with here. Again, I quite respect what she did, or at least intended to do, with regards to preserving the gorillas. It really is shameful to have an animal's hands cut off just for ashtrays, and it really is shameful to have a whole family of gorillas killed so that one or two can be carried off to a zoo. It's not even just because these animals are our close relatives. It's because it's stupid. It's like the Far Side cartoon with the elephant, minus a leg, in a phone booth--"They did what with it?" (For those unaware, elephant legs were made into umbrella stands. Yes, that is awfully stupid.) At one point, Weaver threatens to cut off a man's hand and make an ashtray out of it if she ever finds his poachers on "her mountain" ever again, and I have a lot of sympathy for that. But the first planned marriage, the one she's supposed to have after six months on the mountain, just doesn't happen, and the man who leaves his wife for her ends up leaving her alone, because he can't stay on the mountain, either. She is obsessed, and she doesn't understand that her way of protecting the gorillas--just generally pissing off everyone who might help her--isn't the best way of doing it.

Overall, this was a pretty good film. The making of the actual gorilla bits, up on that mountain, involved a lot of fiddly work that most directors aren't really able to do, I think. Sigourney Weaver manages to stay calm while interacting even with a silverback, one of the big, intimidating male gorillas, the leader of his family group. Mostly, the film avoids making people into caricatures, though Van Veeten (Constantin Alexandrov) comes awful damn close. I think that, while some of Weaver's emotional outbursts seem kind of histrionic, it's not unbelievable that someone who's been holding herself in so tight would act like that when she finally let go. I think that, often, we need movies to tell us about things we should be caring about--shameful but true. In this instance, I think that is what has been done here. It's also true that, through this film and Fossey herself, people stopped seeing gorillas as scary King Kong figures and started seeing them as gentle and intelligent, though unafraid to defend their territory and their families. That's got to count for something.
I always mix up DIAN FOSSEY with JANE GOODALL - I apologize to any purest out there. GORILLAS IN THE MIST was advertised as simply a message movie - SAVE THE GORILLAS. You know how the rhetoric goes...it seemed to be a thoughtful as well as challenging look at FOSSEY'S life and obsession. The film doesn't shy away from the controversial nor is it steeped in political correctness but is an honest look at honest hard work. Well done even if SIGOURNEY WEAVER is over the top as usual.
If It Weren't For Mrs Fossey Gorillas Would have Vanished from this planet looong ago .. Her work continues to this day Thanks to her!!! Many people get the chance to Know more about this animal And if you are rich enuff you can go play In the forest with the Gorillas For a few hours.. To have Your own Feel of what her passion was all about .. She didnt deserve to die the way she did !! Nothing can justify cold blooded murder.. And I cryed when I seen that they made a grave marker next to diggit I love everything this movie stands for Atleast someone had the balls to do SOMETHING!