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Anaconda
1997 - PG-13 - Mins.
Director: Luis Llosa
Producer: Verna Harrah, Carole Little, Leonard Rabinowitz
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Ice Cube, Kati Wuhrer
Review by: John Ulmer
   
What at first appears to be another stupid, B-movie horror piece, is actually...well...a stupid, B-movie horror piece. "Anaconda" falls into the cliche zone. "Anaconda" is essentially a two-hour repeat of those 1950s films with giant ants attacking cities. What "Eight Legged Freaks" (2001) spoofed so finely, "Anaconda" simply falls into.

The plot, if there is one, has something to do with researchers investigating a long-lost tribe in the Amazon. They take a boat down the Amazon, through the steamy jungles, and come across a river rat played by the hateable Jon Voight. "Deliverance" aside, Jon Voight has not given a half-decent performance in years. "Anaconda" does not change my outlook on him.

The expedition is led by Jennifer Lopez. The other members of the team are Ice Cube, Owen Wilson, Kati Wuhrer and Eric Stoltz. After they pick up Voight on their boat, before you can hum the theme to "JAWS," a massive, forty-foot Anaconda appears, slowly killing off the cast members.

There are a lot of big stars in this film, which is probably why it is so darn awful. When many stars flock to a given movie, it will turn out to be good ("Mars Attacks!"), or bad ("Gigli"), but never delightable. Never whimsical, original, never enchanting. Save the rare "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," this never happens.

Why must we endure so many "JAWS" cash-in's? Steven Spielberg had it right when he didn't return for "Jaws 2," because "Jaws 2" wasn't as much a sequel as it was a cash-in. Ever since "JAWS," there have been millions of these creatures-on-the-loose tales. They started sometime in the fifties, but those kind were silly. They were fun to watch. We were laughing with them. "JAWS" changed all that, taking itself seriously, but at the same time presenting us with something a bit more plausible than giant cockroaches attacking Manhattan. Suddenly the Creature Features changed; they started taking themselves seriously, hoping to be as popular as "JAWS." I remember a particular film I once saw on AMC about giant ants being bred in a small town by evil geniuses, who had been sprayed by the queen ant and were under her control. That was a very bad movie. But it was funny. I could laugh at it, but to a point that it never got too serious. "Anaconda" does get too serious. It gets very serious, then very cheesy, then very dramatic, then tries to be very funny. On the whole, it fails.

"Anaconda" is in-between a lot of bad movies. It doesn't have style, purpose or good performances. Of course this is acceptable given the type of film it is, but the main problem remains that the film has no fun side to it. It isn't funny, laughable, or a guilty pleasure like "Eight Legged Freaks," a film I strongly recommend to the horror lovers out there. No. Instead, "Anaconda" isn't laughable but laughably bad. We aren't laughing with it. We're laughing at it.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable. Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable.
  1.5 out of 5 stars

 
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