Anaconda

Directed By: Luis Llosa

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson, Jonathan Hyde, Kari Wuher, Danny Trejo

Subgenre: Creature Feature

Synopsis: A documentary film crew on the Amazon River cross paths with a hunter who is after a very large anaconda.

Thoughts: I am an admitted fan of giant creature movies.  Give me monstrous sharks, gators, bugs or spiders and I am in heaven, but for some reason, giant snakes don’t do it for me as much.  It’s not like I have issues with snakes in general, so I’m not sure what the deal is.  Maybe there just hasn’t been a movie that sticks with me like Jaws or Alligator.

Anaconda sure gets credit for going “big” with its attempt though.  The movie had a massive budget for a horror flick, somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 million (http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1997/ANACO.php) and featured a huge cast, including the likes of Jon Voight, Ice Cube and Eric Stoltz.  Anaconda also featured very early career appearances by Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson.  In spite of this accomplished cast, the acting seemed wooden at times, especially from Voight.  Some of the lines resulted in unintentionally humorous exchanges.

I was not familiar with Director Luis Llosa, but after looking at his work, I did recognize one of my favorite guilty pleasures, 1993’s Sniper.  He also directed The Specialist in 1994 before moving on to Anaconda.  It’s pretty obvious from his work that the guy is comfortable in a jungle, which makes sense as he is from Peru.  I was surprised to see that Llosa has not been behind the camera but once to adapt his cousin’s novel (The Feast of the Goat in 2005) since helming Anaconda.  While Anaconda might not have been a critical success, it returned a large profit, with worldwide box office totals nearing 137 million. However, he has been very busy as a producer for many Latin American series throughout the years.

At the time of its release, the anaconda itself was touted as being a very good piece of special effects.  The advances the last 16 years make the animatronic snake look laughable, especially when combined with some of the FX at the end of the movie (here’s looking at you Jon Voight).  It was successful enough to launch 3 sequels, two of which were made for TV, and one that starred The Hoff!  I’ve yet to see any of the sequels, but I’m sure they will cross my path someday, and subsequently end up on Cenobite Me.

Over the years, Anaconda has developed a reputation as a bit of a cult classic, falling into the so bad that it’s good category.  While it doesn’t quite reach those heights for me, I can see how it belongs in that category.  Check it out and judge for yourself, but I recommend that you don’t go in taking this too seriously.

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Comments
  1. charleswms3 says:

    Been a while since I’ve seen this one. What I remember most is how much Jon Voight’s performance cracked me up.

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