The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)

The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) Val Kilmer

Not a Ghostly

Construction engineer Col. John Henry Patterson (Val Kilmer) is hired by Robert Beaumont (Tom Wilkinson) to oversee the construction of a railroad bridge in Africa as he races against the German's to get his line up and running before them. But shortly after arriving at the camp John discovers the river he is due to build across is not the only problem as his arrival coincides with the arrival of some man-eaters, large lions which stalk the camp both day and night. Inexperienced John manages to kill one but with the workers scared Beaumont employs legendary hunter Charles Remington to work with John to kill the beasts.

Oh no I am in the different movie zone again as my opinion of "The Ghost and the Darkness" seems to differ from others with many seeming to love this movie where I think it is just about bearable. Now before I get too my issues let me just say that I like the story, the whole having to deal with these killer lions who seem to be outwitting John and Charles is entertaining. But this is a case that Hollywood having taken the true story of Col. John Henry Patterson and then changed it so it is not the completely true story which it claims to be at the start.

But the messing about with the story doesn't bother me that much but things such as the obvious use of green screen to at times make it seem like Val Kilmer is in Africa. I get a feeling that some of these scenes which stick out like a sore thumb were probably added after filming was done but they really do stick out like a sore thumb. Then again there is Kilmer's Irish accent which at times sounds more German than Irish and all the time sounds wrong. Then we come to Michael Douglas who seems to have shown up to make a comedy which changes the tone of the movie altogether as to how it started. It is a case that the movie doesn't seem to know what it is and changes track half way through.

What this all boils down to is that "The Ghost and the Darkness" is the sort of movie I would have enjoyed as a teenager as all the bits entertain but now grown up I need all the bits to work together and they don't making it a movie which whilst still enjoyable is heavily flawed.