Starring: Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube
Director: Luis Llosa
Running Time: 89 mins
Anaconda is an American film about a National Geographic film crew who travel deep into the rainforest to document indigenous cultures, but soon find themselves battling for their lives against an enormous reptillian menace.
The late ’90s. A ‘creature feature’. A cast with leads more famed for their music than their acting. Campy practical special effects. These aren’t the things that conjure up the image of a real cinematic classic, and so proves the case with the ridiculously stupid Anaconda, a preposterous, dull, cheesy and unintelligent ‘horror’-thriller that takes us into the depths of the Amazon in painfully moronic fashion.
That’s not to say there aren’t parts of this movie that can’t work as a guilty pleasure (as well as good bit of campy ’90s nostalgia), but for the most part, Anaconda is a bad, bad film, and there’s not much about it that you wouldn’t expect to see just from hearing the title.
The premise is fairly simple, a documentary crew venture deep into the Amazon rainforest and, after a series of mishaps (some more ridiculous than others), they find themselves doing battle with a vicious and seemingly invincible enemy – the enormous anaconda.
However, this is the late ’90s, and just playing on tropes of vintage adventure serials as is common nowadays wasn’t enough for Hollywood. So, more than just the odd bit of action with a massive snake jumping out of the river, Anaconda has cheesy drama, cheesy romance, and terrible, terrible comedy.
It’s difficult to look back on a movie like this seriously without being wholly sarcastic. The late ’90s were far from the best era for mainstream action movies, let alone horror and creature features, but it’s clear to see why with the likes of Anaconda.
The story is nonsensical at best, attempting to draft dull character drama, pointless romance and more into the mix, and where it briefly proves entertaining with deliberately campy and so-bad-it’s-good creature feature action, it undoes all of that work with a terrible screenplay that seems to take itself a whole lot more seriously than it really should.
As a result, unless you’re just watching this for a good, campy laugh, there really isn’t much to write home about with Anaconda. Its cast features all manner of rising stars from the era, although none put in particularly memorable or worthy performances (it’s fair to say that’s not too easy with a film like this), so wherever you look, this film is a frustrating mess of mediocrity and rather braindead idiocy, which is why I’m giving it a 4.9 overall.