They strike, wrap around you. Hold you tighter than your true love. And you get the privilege, of hearing your bones break before the power of embrace causes your veins to explode.
Director: Luis Llosa
Starring: Ice Cube, Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight, Owen Wilson
Synopsis: A National Geographic team led by Ice Cube and J Lo head through the Amazon jungle to make a documentary about.. something.. it is never really explained. On the way down the river, they pick up an insane river hunter (played by a wonderful Jon Voight). Unfortunately, the hunter has ulterior motives and holds the crew hostage for his own purposes: hunting down the largest anaconda snake ever spotted. The plot plays out like any other monster/hunter flick. Not many surprises are to be had.
Why it fails: Anaconda is not really a bad movie as much as it is a B-movie. None of the character’s motivations are questionable, you know exactly what everybody wants and why they are doing what they do. The plot is easy to follow, and only really suffers for being derived from other, better animal horror movies (Jaws is an easy comparison). What really drops this movie to the B-movie category is the over-the-top performances of the actors and the questionable use of CGI. The problematic CGI really takes its toll near the end of the movie as Ice Cube attempts to fight off his anaconda nemesis. Simply put, I have a hard time calling this one a bad movie, but it is not a good movie by any means. Instead, it comes across as a middling monster film vehicle for Ice Cube to make more money and push his “acting” career forward.
Should you watch it?: Yeah, Anaconda is a lot of fun, in the classic B-movie sense. There is not much to laugh at in the plot, but what really makes this movie sparkle are the performances, buoyed by Jon Voight’s over the top and hugely enjoyable role. If it were not for Jon Voight, this movie would not be nearly as fun as it is. Whether he is snarling commands, mumbling incomprehensible lines or making sleazy passes at J Lo, Voight is having a blast. And that really goes for all the actors and actresses. They know the movie is ridiculous and are having a great time making it. Nobody ever gets super serious, even when characters are swallowed whole by snakes in hilariously low-budget CGI. The plot moves along at a good pace, never getting boring. And that is what you want from a B-movie: a good fun time that lets you laugh and have fun.
Rating as a real movie: 6/10
Rating as a bad movie: 9/10