Anaconda (1997) starring Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde, Owen Wilson, Kari Wuhrer, Vincent Castellanos, Danny Trejo directed by Luis Llosa Movie Review

Anaconda (1997)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Jennifer Lopez as Terri Flores in Anaconda (1997)

Big Snake, Big Bore

I knew "Anaconda" was a bad movie before I watched it but I was hoping it was going to be one of those movies which is so bad it becomes entertaining. Sadly it wasn't and so what we have is a b-movie creature feature trying to be scary yet never is and never clever enough to go for tongue in cheek to make it amusing. It means it is dull and for the most formula driven with Jennifer Lopez cast not so much for her acting but because she looks hot when in a tank top and her body is glistening with sweat.

A group of film makers head into the Amazon jungle in search of a lost tribe in the hope they will be the first to catch them on film. But as they make their way via river boat they come across the stranded Paul Serone (Jon Voight - Mission: Impossible) who before his boat run aground was there trying to capture a special snake for a collector. And unbeknown to the film makers he plans to capitalize on their generous help to try and trap the giant Anaconda.

Jon Voight as Paul Serone in Anaconda (1997)

So here we are in familiar territory, a small group of people in an isolated place having to deal with a giant creature. It is the basis you expect and in fairness the idea of the sinister Serone manipulating the situation so that he can continue to go after the giant snake he's been hunting is not bad. The trouble is that whilst this means we have double trouble for the group of documentary film makers as they have to watch out for giant snakes and the slippery Serone what happens is all very ordinary and dull.

It almost feels a case of someone watched various creature features, making a note of the big scenes but forgetting to note the need for atmosphere. That is what is distinctly lacking though out "Anaconda" and it means when we get a scene where we should be put on edge we are barely woken from our slumber and when there is action it is unimaginative. It also doesn't help matters that the CGI Anaconda is so fake looking it is as laughable as the animatronic one used in some scene. In fact if only they had embraced how bad it was then "Anaconda" would have become entertaining for being cheesy, over the top and bad but because everything is done seriously it only ever is dull.

As for the acting well surprisingly there are a lot of recognizable faces; Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight, Owen Wilson, Eric Stoltz and Ice Cube are just part of the cast which even includes a small part for Danny Trejo. But there is not a single interesting or original character in the movie although both Jon Voight and Jonathan Hyde deliver poor characterisations which are not creepy, funny or believable just annoying. With the exception of the poor CGI the only thing you remember is Jennifer Lopez and that's not because of her character but because so many scenes revolve around her in a tank top with glistening skin.

What this all boils down to is that not only is "Anaconda" a bad creature feature it fails to embrace the bad to become entertaining. It is basically 89 minutes of your life you won't get back and for nothing.