A documentary crew goes down a river in the Amazon looking for a tribe to film for National Geographic. Along the way, they run into a stranded snake hunter, Paul Sarone (Jon Voight) who has offered to help find the tribe and guide them through the jungle. Along the way, Paul, surprisingly, takes control of the boat and the crew is left to go along on his personal mission which is to capture the largest snake alive: the anaconda.
For some reason, ANACONDA (the film, not the snake) holds a special place in my heart. I can’t quite pinpoint a reason why, but it happens to be one of those films I watch every so often as one of my “guilty pleasure” or “comfort” films. It’s not because of the acting, which is not bad…just average, although if you look at the credits you will see some A-listers who have gone on to do better things. And it’s not because of the plot, although interesting, is very formulaic and nothing special. I think if I had to narrow it down to one thing I enjoy the most about this film, it would be the CGI snake, please just go with me on this one.
I have a small addiction to movies where a creature, either natural or genetically enhanced, turns on the human race. This is disturbing, but I find the whole concept completely fascinating which is why I dig ANACONDA and other bad movies such as DEEP BLUE SEA. The Amazon is such a mysterious and dangerous place that watching a boat full of people being tracked by a twenty plus foot snake is creepy but exhilarating at the same time. There’s a scene in the movie where the snake eats Owen Wilson and as we watch the snake swim under the boat, we see a lump in its stomach that looks like Mr. Wilson posed in a frozen scream. It’s so corny and over the top it’s fun!
I also enjoyed the opening screen shot, where we get a brief description of what kind of creature the anaconda is and how it has been known to regurgitate its prey so it can eat again. I love that because you know that in some point during the film we’re going to get to see a huge snake vomit up something so he can keep attacking. I don’t know if this is a natural thing for anacondas when in the wild, but in a Hollywood film it works really well.
Finally, it should be noted that this is one of my favorite performances from Ms. Lopez. Now, I know there is some controversy surrounding plastic surgery in the facial region of JLo, so all I’m going to say is watch Anaconda and then watch The Wedding Planner and you can decide for yourself. Either way, her acting is superb and if she gets sick of dong Rom-coms, she has a promising career in monster/horror films. So if you haven’t seen Anaconda, I would recommend it as a light-hearted monster film that has slithered into my heart-not because it’s a quality film, but because it’s a fun watch.