After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area's new razor-toothed residents.
In New York, the ambitious Dr. Jack Byron and his associate Gordon Mitchell present the research of his assistant Sam Rogers to the CEO and board of directors of a corporation to sponsor a scientific expedition to Borneo. The objective is to find a flower, Blood Orchid, that flourishes for a couple of weeks every seven years and could be a fountain of youth, prolonging the expectation of life of human beings. They are succeeded and once in Borneo, they realize that it is the raining season and there is no boat available to navigate on the river. They pay US$ 50,000.00 to convince Captain Bill Johnson and his partner Tran to sail to the location. After an accident in a waterfall, the survivors realize that a pack of anacondas have gathered for mating and their nest is nearby the plantation of Blood Orchid, which made them bigger and bigger. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Bad movie, but since I wasn't expecting much, I can't say I was disappointed.
Rating: * 1/2 out of ****
As if further proof that I am in serious need of better taste, I was actually looking forward to seeing this movie, not so much because I was expecting anything great but because I'm a sucker for big-studio, jungle-set adventures. The fact that it's got giant snakes can only help, and heck, this movie's own predecessor wasn't half-bad. All things considered, Anacondas was about on par with what I expected: cheese, but reasonably watchable cheese.
In the hopes of becoming millionaires, a group of young, "attractive" researchers hire a boat, whose captain is expectedly hard-boiled and hunky, to take them into the jungles of Borneo in search of the rare Blood Orchid, a flower with the ability to prolong life but the catch is that it blooms for only a six month period every seven years, and they're approaching the last few weeks of that time span. The expedition's boat sinks in a mishap involving a waterfall, leaving the group stranded and easy prey for the freakishly large anacondas in the vicinity.
The title Anacondas suggests probably a bit more than even the movie can deliver, with the first genuine snake attack (barring the opening credits) not even occurring until the forty-minute mark, and even then, it's not for another half-hour until someone from the same group is munched on by one of those slithery reptiles. There's a surprisingly bare minimum utilization of the titular creatures, though I suspect that has a lot to do with budgetary limitations.
If there's anything I expected to be a vast improvement upon the original, it'd be the visual rendering of the anacondas, but they're actually a few steps backward from the already spotty work in the original. For cost-effective purposes, virtually all the effects are CGI, and they're only a tiny bit better than what one would expect from a Sci-Fi Pictures Original. Making the snakes larger also works against the effects, making them goofier and harder to take seriously as a genuine threat.
Worse, the snakes themselves seem a lot wimpier despite those "advancements." The anacondas have been essentially mutated by the Blood Orchid, so they're understandably larger (at least twice so) than the snakes in the original and probably a lot longer as well. Unfortunately, they're also inexplicably much easier to kill this time around. One whack from a machete (used by someone who's never wielded one before in her life) is enough to hack off one of these monstrosities' heads clean off. One of the snakes even manages to explode after being set alight by gasoline and a flare. And correct me if I'm wrong, but when did anacondas actually have teeth?
The movie's various roles and characters are as stereotypical and obvious as one can expect from the genre. There's the hunky male American with his haunting past and he's got a hunky Asian sidekick/first mate. There's the "serious" black guy and the comic relief black guy, the latter of whom is probably the most obnoxious character I've seen in film all year. There's also the serious chick with "depth" and the whiny chick. In performing these roles, the cast is almost all terrible (especially Johnny Messner as the lead), the only modicum of acting talent coming from Morris Chestnut and the promising Kadee Strickland.
While I've done nothing but harp on the movie, the biggest praise I can shower it with is that it's rarely boring. From the lush jungle scenery to the splendid visuals of the snakes right under the surface of the water, Anacondas is at least a movie that's always nice to look at. Even if it's never genuinely exciting or suspenseful, there are a few cheap thrills and a fast pace that doesn't let up. I suspect very undemanding and forgiving genre fans might even like it and it's to them I would even consider recommending this movie. Everyone else should first set their expectations straight.
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