Welcome to 90 from the ‘90s; the movie-related post in which I watch, discuss and debate a film from the 1990s – a film that I’ve NEVER SEEN. Posting on a semi-regular basis, I aim to work my way through 90 movies that I’ve previously missed/avoided, recording my thoughts along the way.
I’m going to watch good films, bad films, forgotten classics, Oscar winners and everything in between. Some of these films you’ll be surprised I’ve never seen, others you’ll completely understand why I’ve avoided them for 20+ years.
The rules are as follows:
- The film must be from the 1990s (1990-1999)
- The film must be a movie I’ve not watched before
Today’s second unseen ‘90s movie (as I watched Poison Ivy (1992) this morning) is…
The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
Ah, The Ghost and the Darkness, an African adventure movie starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas. A movie which I’ve had at least a couple of opportunities to watch, yet I’ve passed these opportunities up each and every time over the past 22 years.
So, why have I ignored this movie?
I’ll be honest, it looks a bit dull. The idea of Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas on an African adventure didn’t appeal to me back in 1996 and it doesn’t really appeal to me in 2018, but I’m willing to give it a go.
*Clicks the play button*
3mins – Val Kilmer is doing some kind of accent. I have NO IDEA what it is. Is that supposed to be an English accent? An Irish accent? What is it, Val?!
8mins – It’s more Irish than English, but it’s still very bizarre.
16mins – Val Kilmer is in Africa and has just shot and killed a lion. Everyone seems impressed. I’m less impressed as it was hardly a fair kill – the lion was unarmed! Kilmer had a gun; the lion didn’t. I’d like to see what would have happened if that lion had been packing heat!
17mins – I’d actually watch a film about a lion that carries a gun.
22mins – Another lion has just wandered into camp, he’s grabbed one of the locals and has killed him. Maybe the lions don’t need guns after all.
26mins – Val Kilmer: “I will kill the lion and I will build the bridge.” Is this a political campaign statement circa 2016? If it is, you’ll probably get voted into office. 😪
32mins – More lions.
35mins – Er… Kilmer’s accent seems to be American now.
34mins 30secs – No, it’s Irish again. I think.
37mins – So, Val Kilmer has been hired to oversee construction of a bridge in Africa. The job would be going smoothly if it wasn’t for all these pesky lions.
44mins – Michael Douglas has just turned up and apparently he’s a better lion hunter. I think his means he’s got a more powerful gun and a better grasp of accents.
46mins – The inclusion of Michael Douglas has already improved this film. It’s not made it any more interesting, but in my mind this is now an unofficial sequel to Romancing the Stone/Jewel of the Nile.
57mins – Val Kilmer is face-to-face with a lion and the gun has stalled. Jeez, Val, even Elmer Fudd checks that his gun is in full working order before he heads out to hunt – it’s like hunting rules 101! Well, that and to actually remember to take the gun with you.
1hr 4mins – The music suddenly sounds very reminiscent of Jaws. Shame there’s simply no suspense in this film. There’s more tension in my trouser elastic than there is in this film.
1hr 5mins – On the plus side, the lions look good. If this film was made today it would be all CGI and the lions would look terrible. It’s just a shame it’s so boring.
1hr 13mins – Kilmer and Douglas are off on another hunt.
1hr 16mins – The pair have just discovered a cave, filled with row upon row of bones. Douglas has noted that lions don’t usually do this kind of thing. Er… maybe it’s a Predator that’s causing all these deaths. Did you think about that, Douglas?
1hr 17mins – I’d definitely watch a movie about a lion carrying a gun, fighting a Predator. And maybe a Xenomorph from the Alien series.
1hr 24mins – Sadly there are no gun wielding lions in this movie. Or Predators. Or Xenomorphs. All there is, is Val Kilmer, Michael Douglas and a running time that outstayed its welcome more than 40 minutes ago.
1hr 28mins – Oooh… a bit of drama – at last! Kilmer’s wife (and baby) have just arrived (causing Kilmer to lose his accent again). And what’s this? A lion has just eaten the wife’s face! Jeez – brutal!
1hr 29mins 30secs – Oh, it was just a dream. I actually thought something exciting had happened. My mistake.
1hr 31mins – I think Michael Douglas just got killed. Did Douglas just get killed? I sort of blinked and missed it. What a shit death.
1hr 32mins – Kilmer’s pissed off. Me too, Val. Me too.
1hr 32mins 10secs – He’s firing his gun in the air and he’s ready to take some manes and split some wigs! Yassssssss, this movie is finally getting going. This must be where things get interesting!
*Checks running time*
There’s ten minutes left. Talk about leaving things until the last minute to get (mildly) interesting.
1hr 35mins – The lion is dead. Kilmer shot it. Oh and his wife (and baby) have turned up and they are both fine and have their faces intact. Hurrah! Can I stop watching this movie now?
Not going to lie, my initial impression back in 1996 was right – The Ghost and the Darkness is a boring movie.
Sorry to all those The Ghost and the Darkness fans out there (all three of you), but this film is just not very exciting. It looks great and I genuinely believe there’s a good film in there somewhere, but it’s not in the finished article.
- Read: Part 37
For past entries in the 90 from the ’90s series, check out: Poison Ivy (1996), Body of Evidence (1993), Turbulence (1997), Fatal Instinct (1993), True Romance (1993), Newsies (1992), Contact (1997), The Pelican Brief (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994), Shakespeare in Love (1998), A Perfect Murder (1998), Quigley Down Under (1990), Of Mice and Men (1992), Friday (1995), Mannequin on the Move (1991), She’s All That (1999), Double Dragon (1994), Stay Tuned (1992), Murder at 1600 (1997), Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993), My Own Private Idaho (1991), Wagons East (1994), In the Line of Fire (1993), Postcards from the Edge (1990), Universal Soldier (1992), Passenger 57 (1992), Mo’ Better Blues (1990), The Client (1994), Good Will Hunting (1997), Pump Up the Volume (1990), Mr. Nanny (1993), Fargo (1996), Hudson Hawk (1991), So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993) and Timecop (1994).