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movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Anaconda

Starring: Eric Stoltz, Jennifer Lopez
Director: Luis Llosa
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: April 1997
Genres: Action, Horror

Review by Walter Frith
2 stars out of 4

Anacondas are snakes that are primarily found to be living in the Amazon jungle. They allegedly grow to be forty feet long in some cases and can eat people. Your enjoyment of the move 'Anaconda' will depend entirely on how you accept the film's visual effects. It is obvious to tell that at most times they are computer graphics but the chills and terror set fourth by the film are genuine.

A group of documentary filmmakers led by their director (Jennifer Lopez) venture into the Amazon jungle to film a piece detailing the existence of a South American tribe of natives. She is accompanied by her camerman (rapper Ice Cube) and an anthropologist (Eric Stoltz). Along with a few others they rescue a stranded and mysterious stranger (Jon Voight) from his broken down barge and he seems to be a nice guy at first. It turns out that Voight is bounty hunter whose quarry is snakes and he sabotages the boat's crew at gunpoint and any other means necessary in his quest for an anaconda which will make him a rich man.

This is a clever and enjoyably campy film from director Luis Llosa ('Sniper', 'The Specialist') who never over estimates the value of his subject matter and directs 'Anaconda' in a frightfully pleasant way reminiscent of 1990's 'Arachnophobia' which was about a gigantic and deadly amazon spider on the loose in small town California. That film had more humour than 'Anaconda' but there isn't much to laugh about when we see nature in its most furious and fatal moments.

Jon Voight makes a cunning and precariously acceptable villain along with the snake and his character reminded me a little bit of Quint (Robert Shaw), the salty and crusty shark hunter of 'Jaws'. Both are men of determination and both end up losing their lives in a struggle to big for them to handle. 'Anaconda' has a biting and firey climax which will leave you as mesmerized as any jungle picture you're ever likely to view.

Copyright 1997 Walter Frith

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