ANACONDA is a horrible movie but a hell of a lot of fun. I
have a feeling director Luis Llosa made it to be that way and so, after
laughing at an overacting Jon Voight, an underacting Ice Cube and a
fake-looking 40-foot long snake (which looks like it was computer
generated on a Mac Classic), I'm giving ANACONDA a thumbs-
It's constructed like a disaster movie, with a big cast of
caricatures who will be in constant danger, fatal for most of them.
There are also a string score, endless p.o.v. shots from the snake and
even a few fake scares. None of this is original, but there are a lot of
cheesy moments to make it a self-aware bad movie -- Ice Cube
listening to his own music, a character saying "The jungle is making
me horny" and a memorable and almost frightening waterfall attack
The movie begins as a film crew boards an Amazon boat. The
plan is to make a documentary on a lost tribe, with Jennifer "Selena"
Lopez the director, Ice Cube (that perpetual scowl still on his face) the
cameraman, Jonathan Hyde the snooty TV host, Eric Stoltz the expert
on Amazon tribes, Owen Wilson the sound guy, Kari Wuhrer as
Secretary of Cleavage, and Vincent Castellanos the ship captain. Two
will live to see the end credits, and it's not much of a mystery who.
Voight soon hops aboard, after the crew members spot him
stranded on his broken-down boat. From the beginning, his Spanish
accent betrays him as the Man To Watch Out For, and when he talks
of his love of anaconda hunting, there might as well be a flashing
subtitle reading "Foreshadowing!" Indeed, within a few scenes, Stoltz
is put out of commission when he goes scuba diving and some giant
wasp gets stuck in his throat (which should serve as a lesson -- when
you're scuba diving, never use a wasp hive as your oxygen mask) and
they have to rush him to medical help, which will take a few days.
Voight purposefully points them down a river path that is infested with
those damn 40-foot snakes.
The disaster springs from there, and when you're up against
anacondas that big, it pretty much has to. The crew members start to
get picked off, the least important ones first. There are plenty of scenes
with the giant snakes wrapping around their prey and devouring them,
and the pre-credits notation that anacondas regurgitate their prey to
hunt and kill them again turns out to be no lie. The last 30 minutes of
ANACONDA are the best 30, although the movie's IQ never rises to
the three-digit level. If you think you can enjoy a laughable, mindless
movie about giant killer snakes, well, here you go.
Copyright © 1997 Andrew Hicks