Somebody call central casting, there's been a Hannibal Lecter sighting! What the hell were the filmmakers thinking when they cast Anthony Hopkins as Ethan Powell, the primatologist who's sitting in prison waiting for go-get 'em psychiatrist Theo Caulder (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) to come figure him out? Throughout the entire film I got this image of some producer weasel, sitting in front of an executive with one thumb still in his ass, explaining, "It's 'Gorillas in the Mist' meets 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' with just a smidge of 'Silence of the Lambs.'"
Hair extensions and all, Dr. Powell hasn't spoken to anyone since his capture in Rwanda. Seems Powell was out communing with the gorillas and something went terribly, horribly, inexplicably, fundamentally awry. Now he won't talk to anybody. Fortunately, there's one guy in the whole wide world who can make him talk, and that's Dr. Caulder. Thank God for that. After they become best buds, Ethan teaches Theo about life, which is summed up at the end of the movie when Theo stands in the rain and enjoys it. It was beautiful. It brought moisture to my loins.
The stupidest parts of this movie occur inside the psychiatric unit of the prison where Dr. Caulder, with Dr. Powell's help, changes the entire prison culture. Suddenly, the guards and the inmates are watching television together, and everybody gets along and it all becomes one big happy episode of "Friends (on Clozapine)." Then, of course, there's the part where Cuba starts talking about Pepsi One. Listen here, Cuba: Just what part of artificial sweetener = shit don't you understand?
How come in these movies there's only one guy on the entire planet who empathizes with animals? Everybody else is presumed to run over squirrels and beat baby ducks, but along comes Dr. Powell, ready to teach us Neanderthals about the purity of our animal brothers. Here's a message for all you animal lovers: If the meat tastes good, eat it; horse, buffalo, mountain gorilla or baby seal, a burger is a burger.
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