Director: Luis Llosa
A documentary filmmaking crew hops on a boat and travels to the heart of the Amazon jungle to film some lost Tribe. Alas. Instead they wind up having to wrestle the world's two most deadliest snakes: 1) Giant anacondas and 2) Jon “overacting” Voight. Let the swallowing begin!
"Anaconda" tries to do for snakes what "Jaws" did for sharks, but it eventually crumbles under its own silliness and winds up being pure dumb fun as opposed to a competent/mature horror thriller. This is a schlock B-movie with lots of coin to spare; nothing more, nothing less.
Now even though the flick’s first hour is mostly all build-up, I still found myself grooving to what was going down. The pace of the film flowed effortlessly, the scenery was beautiful (although a tad “fake looking” at times), the occasional snake attack helped keep me in the game and Jon Voight’s (Paul) incredibly hammy delight of a show had me drumming on pots and pans. The movie eventually goes full slither for its final block, offering all kinds of zany "snake vs human" shenanigans to delight. The waterfall jump that transcended into a snake snack, for example, was so over the top that it had me standing up in cheers. It’s one of my favorite moments in the whole picture (note to self: get a life).
On a character level, well, the cast is pretty to look at, but that’s pretty much that. Apart from Jon Voight (Sarone) going energized “Pac Man” on all of the scenery before him, the actors here basically play themselves evoking little sympathy and diminishing the tension that I could’ve felt in the process. I just didn’t give a used panty about them as people. Sure, I grooved on stoner-like Owen Wilson (Gary) and was charmed into a boner by Kari Wuhrer (Denise), but in the end, it was the "heavy" (Voight) who kept me rooting for him...at least the dude had a personality and a drop of intelligence.
Which brings me to the lead’s inane stupidity; why does it take the crew that long to pick up on Sarone’s devious motives? I mean, did you see the guy’s fucking face for the love of logic? That upside down shit eating grin gave his M-O away the moment he hopped on the freakin' tug boat. This guy has “evil” (and over-actor) written all over his freaking forehead! COME ON GUYS! WAKE UP! Another beef I had with this petting zoo was Jonathan Hyde’s (Warren) humble presence that was all about being the obvious “comic relief”. Unfortunately for me, he didn’t bring any relief or comedy into my lowly existence. In fact, he inspired the total opposite effect...grating me with all of his being. Take that golf club and shove it in your “hole in one” buddy!
Scare-wise, the movie had its minor moments here and there, but Llosa introduced the creatures fairly flatly and the shoddy effects that accompanied them pretty much nixed the fear factor that I could have felt. Let's face it, the CGI snakes looked like rejects from any old “Coleco” game and the animatronics snakes actually appeared kind of cuddly in a “Care Bears’ kind of way; I WANT ONE. Sure, when the film pulled a "Jaws" and went for the POV approach, I did feel a little bit of tension, but the second that the snakes popped out of the woodworks while making all these cutesy noises (Snakes scream? That’s a first) that would be that. The scares were out the window and made way for the giggles.
In the end, "Anaconda" did provide me with an easy and entertaining 90 minute time waster and just wound up being unintentionally humorous (and sometimes intentionally-- all about that Voight wink). This is a genre TV dinner ready for mass consumption. Will you dig in? And to get this off my chest...yes, Ice Cube...mark my words, there are snakes out there DAT BIG! Zippppp! YOU SEE!
We get some red stuff: a throat puncture, snakes crushing folks and swallowing or puking out others. We also get neck snapping and snake bites.
Jennifer Lopez (Terrir) plays Jennifer Lopez but in chill mode. Ice Cube (Danny) plays Ice Cube in semi junkyard dawg mode. Owen Wilson (Gary) plays Owen Wilson but with a very fly shirt. Kari Wuhrer (Denise), on the other hand, takes a nothing part and elevates it to a higher level. She is such a hottie, her smile; charm and cleavage alone are worth the price of a rental. Jon Voight (Sarone) is the show; his cartoon-like villain rendition had me rolling in laughter. Thanks dude; can I take your daughter out now since Billy Bob is done with her? Eric Stoltz (Steven) spends most of the film lying down and sleeping. Needless to say, it's one of his most accomplished performances. I’m just kidding! Or am I?
T & A
We get J-Lo in a transparent teddy early on showing off her G-string and her nips. Later on, she’s all about wet tank tops. Kari Wuhrer is all yummy cleavage; God, I love this gal! The ladies get this cut dude shirtless and really long snakes.
Apart from the establishing shots of either the scenery or the snake on the moves (POV shots), the flick’s style isn’t all that; fairly basic. The cinematography, on the other hand, is gorgeous.
The score went from decent to a little too over the top. I also remember a rap tune.
Distributor: Columbia Tristar Home
This DVD is “Superbit”, meaning that most of the dual layered single-sided DVD is used for optimal quality in picture and sound.
IMAGE: The anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) image is admittedly gorgeous and yes, flawless.
SOUND: The English DTS Digital 5.1 Theatrical Surround Sound and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound is much like the image; flawless. WOW! We also get English Captions, Closed Captions for the hearing impaired and French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai Language subtitles.
If you’re seeking audio and video perfection; this “Superbit” DVD is for you. If you’re seeking a kool menu and extras. Look elsewhere.
"Anaconda" isn’t a smart or innovative flick, but it is a tacky “mainstream” horror piece of candy that’s worth a few licks. Sure, the script is just there, the plot turns are fairly idiotic and the characters are either over-the-top or dull, but can you go wrong with phony giant snakes gobbling people up, J-Lo’s Mack Truck bootie in full gear, Kari Wuhrer's wood-inducing presence and Jon Voight’s hammy acting on the loose in all of its over-the-top glory? I didn’t think so. Crack open that beer a-holes….crack it open…AND HAVE A BLAST!
Danny Trejo (of Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn) plays the opening victim. I love that guy!