in Shocktober

Shocktober: Day 25

Anaconda (1997)

I remember hearing about this movie when my mom and stepdad went to go see this in theaters in 1997. It started out promising enough but by at about the midpoint everyone in the theater was cheering for the snake to kill everybody and I think I see why. It’s not that the cast is that bad, quite the contrary, it’s a solid lineup including; Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson, Jonathan Hyde, and Jon Voight, but there’s something that’s undeniably satisfying about watching all of these people get murdered by a big ass snake. Anaconda, unlike many of the other film’s I’ve reviewed recently is a fairly competent production it just all turned out really campy, but hey that doesn’t mean it can’t be entertaining.

A National Geographic film crew headed by director Terri Flores (Jennifer Lopez) is heading out to the Amazon River to shoot a documentary about a long lost indian tribe that we never learn anything about. The film crew includes; Steve Cale (Eric Stoltz) a dashing anthropologist, a stereotypical black cameraman Danny (Ice Cube), a production manager Denise (Kari Wuhrer) who’s got a serious thing going with sound engineer Gary (Owen WIlson), Mateo (Vincent Castellanos) the ship’s captain, and Warren Westridge (Jonathan Hyde) who appears to be some sort of David Attenbourough-like documentary host. During a storm on the Amazon the crew encounters a mysterious Paraguay snake hunter Sarone (Jon Voight) who’s been stranded on the river. I don’t really know what people from Paraguay sound-like but Jon Voight sounds exactly like Mandy Patinkin from The Princess Bride and that’s awesome, he’s easily the best part of the movie with his eccentricities and burning desire for the hunt.

What the crew doesn’t learn until later is that all Sarone cares about is tracking down and killing a giant Green Anaconda that’s been terrorizing the area. Sarone then takes control of the crew after team leader Eric Stoltz is stung in the throat by a wasp and goes into a coma for the rest of the movie. So why is Eric Stoltz in this at all? He has about 15 minutes of screen time if that and then he’s out like a light, what’s the deal? At least the film is pretty quick to the point when it comes to the reveal of the Anaconda. We see it early on and all the time as it seems to hunt down and kill off the crew one at a time. It’s funny that the crew is supposed to be hunting the snake after Sarone takes over but it’s really the other way around. Though I don’t blame the fact these people have so much trouble hunting this anaconda cause the thing practically has superpowers. Every time it shows up it just seems to whip around at incredible speeds almost like it’s flying from one place to another, it’s insane.

Anaconda was made in that strange transition period from animatronics to full CGI so it’s a little odd. The animatronics are good enough but all the CGI is just so terrible they should of held back a little. We may see the snake a great deal, which is fun but at the same time it’s one of the film’s biggest downfalls. Take Jaws, clearly the inspiration for this knockoff, you practically never saw the monster and it was terrifying. The snake attacks in this film are just so ridiculous that you can’t take any of it seriously. Though that all aside this isn’t a terrible movie it’s just really dumb, though what do you expect it’s about a giant snake that kills people.

Here’s an awesome scene of the anaconda killing Jon Voight.

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