Directed by Luis Llosa
Written by Hans Bauer, Jim Cash
and Jack Epps Jr.
Starring Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, John Voight,
Eric Stoltz, Kari Wuher, Owen Wilson and
Running time 89 minutes
What do you get when you add a giant snake with a mad man bent on revenge, and a naive film crew trying to find a lost tribe?? Why monster movie magic, thanks for asking! Anaconda is another film the long history of nature gone wrong thrillers, that take something that is a pretty normal fear, big snakes, and exaggerate it to monolithic proportions, 'cause bigger is always scarier right?!
Anaconda is a bit all over the place on the review scale when it was originally released back in 1997. It was nominated for both Saturn Awards (best Actress for J. Lopez & Best Horror Thriller) and numerous Golden Raspberry Awards (ranging from worst acting award, to worst directing and many more , 6 nominations in all), but went on to be a loser in both. The film is a complete contradiction its listed in the Official Razzie book as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made! It came in with a budget of around 45 million, but went on to bring in almost 100 million more than it cost to make, pretty profitable in any book!
The story is almost a modern Moby Dick, only instead of Ishmael and Ahab hunting a giant whale you have Terri (J.Lo) and Paul Serone (Jon Voight) hell bent on finding and capturing this elusive mythological giant snake. The story starts off with a film crew made up of Terri, Danny (Ice Cube), Gary (Owen Wilson), Denise (Kari Wuhrer), Warren (Jonathon Hyde), and Dr. Cale (Eric Stoltz) boarding a boat in the South american rain forest preparing for a trek to document their search for the lost Tribe of The Shirishama. During their journey they stumble upon Paul Serone who is in distress, on the water and welcome him aboard where he tells them he knows of their Tribe, and offers to help them find what they seek, but his plans aren't as pleasantly helpful as he tries to make them believe. It doesn't take long for the truth of his nefarious plan to come to light. As if the jungle didn't offer enough in the way of dangers, now theres a mad man to contend with too! Will any of these poor naive documentarians make it out of the jungle alive, or will Serone and his giant snake prove to be the end of them all???
This film is as addictive as coffee! Its one of those so bad its good films which tends to be the case with many of the nature gone wrong films in my opinion. The cast is made up of some pretty big names in entertainment but at the time many of them were still sort of budding in the industry, well with the notable exception of Academy Award Winner Voight! The acting is old fashioned cheesy goodness especially by Voight who just lays it on thick in this one, and really drives the movie as far as I'm concerned. Opposite his portrayal of bad guy Serone we have J Lo as the primary protagonist, who tries to play her role very seriously making for a fun combination of classic maniacally bad vs oh so sweet good. The film combines some decent tension with silly humor and over the top CGI effects in the baddie of all baddies the Giant Anaconda, but set against some really beautiful back drops in the jungle river boat scenes. When you put all of these elements together you end up with a film that is actually a really good time! Its a fun, silly romp of a film that will make you jump a bit , laugh and honest to goodness enjoy yourself. So grab the popcorn and drinks, gather up the group and settle in for a bit of mindless fun with this one!