How much can you do with a jungle and a river?

 

Anaconda (1997) Review 5
Director:Luis Llosa,
Starring:Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stolz
Length:89 minutes
Rated:PG-13

 

Here we are again, led by a mad man into a dangerous environment where monsters wait to devour us one by one.

A small crew of documentary film makers have chartered a boat to take them deep into the Amazon jungle in hopes of filming a remote tribe of natives. Early in their journey they rescue Paul Sarone (Jon Voight performing his best mumbling so far) from his floundering river boat. Once aboard, Sarone sets out to divert their course in favour of his plan to capture a giant Anaconda. It never seems to surprise anyone that research failed to uncover any mention of these giant snakes which, judging from their aggressiveness and population, are certainly more common that the lost tribe the film crew seek to record.

The design of the film is fine, but then how much can you do with a jungle and a river? There are some solid talents in the cast, most notably Eric Stoltz (who spends most of the film languishing in a bunk), Jonathan Hyde (whom you might recall as the father in Jumanji) and Ice Cube (although he seems to be forever falling down or knocking over tables). The computer generated snakes, when not intercut with some very clumsy rubber mock-ups, are impressive to witness and they interact with the characters and setting very believably.

If you seek a little action, some cartoon violence, and plenty of heaving cleavage; and if you can live with some implausibilities (a man can survive being crushed by a fifty foot constricting snake; Jon Voight can still act; computer graphics make a film better) then Anaconda is not a total waste of ninety minutes.