directed by Luis Llosa
(Columbia, 1997)

Let me say this about Anaconda: an opening scene with Jennifer Lopez in a sheer nightgown is just about the best special effect in the film.

Otherwise, the effects are pretty terrible. When, for instance, the giant snake attacks the hungry panther, you will believe that a computer-animated serpent can kill a stuffed cat. And when that giant snake attacks members of the cast, you will believe the actors were between jobs and really just needed an income.

Anaconda is set in the Brazilian rainforest, where a documentary film crew sets out to film a mysterious aboriginal tribe. En route, they are hijacked by evil Paraguayan snake poacher Paul Sarone -- played with a constant sneer by Jon Voight -- who will stoop to putting wasps in people's scuba gear just to get his own way. Today, he wants to poach a really big snake, and he's willing to eat a lot of scenery to get it.

This snake, however, stalks its prey up and down the river, hunting and killing recreationally, then regurgitating its meals so it can do it all over again.

Drawing paychecks for this film, besides Lopez (as documentary director Terri Flores) and Voight, are Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde, Owen Wilson and Kari Wuhrer, all of whom we can hope got new agents right after Anaconda wrapped.

There is also a lot of amazingly bad dialogue, from "Is it just me or does the jungle make you really, really horny?" to "The last time I was in water like this I had to stay up all night picking leeches off of my scrotum." Oy.

review by
Tom Knapp

5 December 2009

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