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"ANACONDA"
(1997) (Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Moderate Moderate Extreme Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Moderate Heavy None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Mild None Minor Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Horror: An anaconda stalks a documentary film crew as they make their way through the Amazon.
PLOT:
A film crew is hired by Dr. Steven Cale (ERIC STOLTZ) to document a primitive Amazon tribe that he has discovered. Transported upstream by a local river boat captain, Mateo (VINCENT CASTELLANOS), the film crew, consisting of producer Terri Flores (JENNIFER LOPEZ), pompous narrator Warren Westridge (JONATHAN HYDE), cameraman Danny (ICE CUBE), sound-man Gary (OWEN WILSON), and production assistant Denise Kalber (KARI SALIN), prepare themselves for anything. After they pick up a stranded snake hunter, Paul Sarone (JON VOIGHT), however, things begin to go downhill for them. Sarone is hunting for a giant anaconda, a snake that will bring him great worth. But none of them ever expect that the snake will turn the tables and turn the hunters into the hunted. From that point on, the crew must do whatever they can to avoid the deadly snake.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they don't like snakes, it's very doubtful. If, however, they like "monster" films or "fun" horror/thriller movies, they'll definitely be drawn to this one.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For intense adventure violence, and for brief language and sensuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JON VOIGHT plays a great snake hunter who puts other people's lives at stake in order to pursue the snake and his profit.
  • The REST OF THE CAST is rather two-dimensional and other than for some drinking and smoking, are neutral role models, unless you consider their "movie cliche" stupidity where they wade through the water after they've seen what the snake can do (in which case they're not good role models).
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    This is a somewhat enjoyable film that's a "B" movie variation of what one would get if the movies "Jaws," "Apocalypse Now," and "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" were mixed together. Borrowing liberally from these films, this one puts the standard varied ethnic cast in harm's way so that one by one they can be picked off by the "beast." By the end you know there will only be a few of them left who then must do whatever they can to kill the monster/creature. What made "Jaws" such a classic and actually was a fluke caused by technical problems was that we rarely saw the shark (because Spielberg could never get "Bruce" the mechanical shark to work). Thus, as great directors of the past learned long ago, "less is sometimes more," and allowing the audience to fill in the "blanks" themselves is more effective than showing everything. While today's computer graphics are indeed impressive, they can't compare to the human imagination and this movie proves that point. The snake is fun to watch, especially when it's racing along after people and then coiling them up, but greater suspense occurs when you know that the snake's there, but can't see it. As in most "B" movies the "monster," or in this case the snake, usually looks fake (in either its computer graphics or animatronics form), and as said above would have been more effective had we seen less of it. The effects are surprisingly bad, especially in this day of realistic, jaw dropping special effects. Perhaps the fact that they make the snake move at unrealistically fast speeds hindered creating realism as we would expect it. Of course a slow-moving snake makes for poor drama and almost no suspense so a speedy snake makes for a more interesting movie. Most of the actors inhabit "throw away" characters that have no real personality and could easily have been played by anyone. Jennifer Lopez is wasted in her role and is most often seen glistening in sweat in a skin tight tank top and she will probably wish this film wasn't on her resume. Jon Voight, on the other hand, chews up the scenery more than the snake does on its victims. His squinty leer is a scene stealer, and he revels in knowing that he's hamming it up. And a final wink in one gross out scene brings down the house and will have everyone reacting in either humor, disgust, or fright. Other scenes are lifted directly from older movies, such as when this crew catches the snake on a tow line and then must contend with it wrecking havoc on the boat ("Jaws") or the shot of the burning snake chasing the heroine (last year's "The Relic"). Some scenes are telegraphed such as when Sarone has just been stabbed with a large sedative dart (it looks like a knife) and falls into the river supposedly dead and drowned. But after a character mentions that the dart fell out, are we supposed to be surprised when he shows up again? That and many other scenes lend this film its "B" movie status. If you like your films on the serious, realistic side, you had better skip this one. On the other hand, if you like cheesy effects served up with similarly cheesy acting, this one's for you. We give it a 4 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The biggest issues of concern here are the many frightening and tense scenes that will surely give younger children nightmares if they're allowed to see this. Older children and teens will probably see this for the "B" movie that it is, but younger kids will not. Beyond the scary scenes and snake-related deaths, only Sarone's behavior (endangering the crew member's lives to pursue the snake) and some moderate profanity should be of major concern. There are a few sexually implied messages and one scene where two characters fool around and the side of a woman's bare breast may be seen from a long distance. One "f" word is the worst of the language and while there is some drinking and smoking, none of it's too bad. Since many kids will probably want to see this film, we suggest that you first check out the scene listings to determine whether it's appropriate for them.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • In the first scene a beer sits in front of a panicked man on a boat, but he doesn't drink it.
  • Warren drinks champagne in several scenes.
  • Mateo drinks from a flask.
  • Sarone and Gary drink beer together.
  • After someone mentions that they could get any local along the river to guide them after "five whiskeys," Sarone says, "Five whiskeys? That's breakfast in the Amazon."
  • Danny and Warren mention, among other things, that they can't wait to get back to a "six pack" and a "gin and tonic."
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A small snake bites and holds on to Warren's finger and causes some blood to rush out.
  • They pull a large tropical wasp from Cale's mouth in a scene that will "gross out" some viewers.
  • A good amount of blood flows from Cale's tracheotomy wound in two separate scenes.
  • Blood drips down from a dead monkey into a bucket. Sarone then takes the bucket and tosses a large amount of that blood onto Terri and Danny to make them more attractive snake bait.
  • The snake regurgitates a man who comes out covered in a gooey, slimy coating.
  • The snake is a little bloody after it's struck several times with an ax.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Sarone puts the others' lives at stake in order to pursue the snake and his bounty. In one scene he prevents Terri from shooting the snake and saving Gary (because he needs the snake alive for his payment).
  • Warren half-seriously tells Danny that he could hire a local tribesman to kill him. Danny responds, "I could just kill you for free right now" as they argue about the playing of a radio.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • There are several scenes where the anaconda chases after and/or catches crew members, coils around them, and finally kills them.
  • There are other suspenseful scenes throughout the film that will be more intense for those who don't like snakes.
  • A lone man on a boat fears for his life as something tries to get him. Floorboards pop up as the creature tries to get in from underneath and the man scampers up onto deck, firing his pistol down into the hold. He then climbs up the mast, terrified beyond belief and puts the gun to his head and pulls the trigger instead of facing the creature that's after him.
  • Gary and Denise are chased by something through the jungle. Sarone suddenly shows up and fires his rifle in their direction. However, instead of shooting at them, he kills a wild boar that was chasing them.
  • Cale scuba-dives in the river to free a rope that's tangled in the propeller. There are point of view (POV) shots of something coming at him, and then of him panicking. He's brought up out of the water unconscious and a large tropical wasp is pulled from his mouth. They pour whisky onto his throat to sterilize it and they then perform a tracheotomy on him and a brief shot of the knife cutting into his throat, and the resulting blood, is seen.
  • As Gary swims to a tribe-made bridge, more POV shots suggest that something is after him. After the bridge is blown up, many small snakes fall onto the boat and the crew, and those who don't like snakes will hate this scene.
  • A small snake bites and holds on to Warren's finger and causes some blood to rush out.
  • Sarone snares the snake that then attacks the boat and much of the crew then have close encounters with the anaconda as it tries to free itself (and attack the crew members).
  • Denise falls into the water and Gary jumps in to rescue her before the snake gets there.
  • Their boat gets stuck and several crew members must wade or swim across the river to tie ropes to wench the boat off the rock it's sitting on.
  • A tree falls onto the boat and everyone must jump overboard back into the river where the snake may be lurking. Danny then finds that he's stuck in the river as the snake may be nearing him. He nearly gets on the boat but is caught by the snake that Terri shoots several times (and it's a little bloody).
  • Terri and Danny then must contend with the snake that intends to eat them. It coils around them, but they manage to escape.
  • We see a throat POV of the snake swallowing a character and then see his still kicking feet as the snake swallows him.
  • The anaconda chases Terri and Danny slams a pick ax down into its tail. The snake then tries to get Terri who's climbed up inside an old smokestack that later blows up, catching the anaconda on fire and sending her into the water. The burning snake then comes after her until Danny strikes it in the head with an ax.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Used to shoot at the snake or by Sarone to threaten the other crew members.
  • Handgun: Used by a man to kill himself so that he doesn't have to face being killed by the snake.
  • Rifle: Used by Sarone to shoot a monkey (for snake bait) and to fire warning shots into the air.
  • Dynamite: Used to blow up a tribe-made bridge.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Bastard" and "Bitch" (not referring to women).
  • A man commits suicide with a handgun (but only the gunshot is heard, nothing is seen).
  • Denise gives Gary "the finger" and says, "Respect this," as they refer to something else being a sign of respect.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • There are several scenes where the anaconda unexpectedly rears up and startles or attacks crew members.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There is a heavy amount of suspenseful music throughout the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 1 "f" word, 11 "s" words, 7 hells, 5 "ass" words (2 used with "hole"), 4 damns, 1 S.O.B., and 3 uses of "God damn," 2 uses each of "God" and "Oh my God," and 1 use each of "Christ," "My God," "For God's sakes," "Oh God," and "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Gary asks Denise, "Is it me, or does the jungle make everyone really horny?...I've got one thing on my mind..."
  • There's some minor sexual innuendo as Cale and Terri talk about the mating habits of fireflies. While on the surface they factually describe the mating ritual, there are inferences to themselves in their conversation.
  • Gary and Denise make out in the jungle and in a long shot, it appears that the side of her breast is seen as he gropes it. They stop "fooling around," however, when they notice that all of the jungle sounds have suddenly stopped.
  • As Terri tries to seduce Sarone (for ulterior purposes), he says, "It's been a long time since I had a woman."
  • SMOKING
  • Several characters (Warren, Mateo, Gary and Cale) smoke cigarettes while Danny smokes one cigar.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Snakes and whether the portrayal of the anaconda is realistic.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A lone man on a boat fears for his life as something tries to get him. Floorboards pop up as the creature tries to get in from underneath and the man scampers up onto deck, firing his pistol down into the hold. He then climbs up the mast, terrified beyond belief and puts the gun to his head and pulls the trigger instead of facing the creature that's after him (only the gunshot is heard).
  • Gary and Denise are chased by something through the jungle. Sarone suddenly shows up and fires his rifle in their direction. However, instead of shooting at them, he kills a wild boar that was chasing them.
  • A black panther is attacked and killed by the anaconda.
  • Warren half-seriously tells Danny that he could hire a local tribesman to kill him. Danny responds, "I could just kill you for free right now" as they argue about the playing of a radio.
  • After Warren refuses to carry some equipment for him, Sarone smacks him several times and then holds a gun to his face to convince him otherwise.
  • Terri shoots the anaconda that is attacking Danny and injures, but doesn't kill the snake.
  • Danny tries to sneak up on Sarone who then spins around and holds his gun on him. He doesn't see Warren, however, who comes up behind him and hits him several times with a golf club.
  • Terri punches Sarone (who is tied up) for stopping her from helping Gary.
  • Although he's tied up, Sarone manages to grab Denise around the head with his legs. He then strangles her to death (or to unconsciousness) and then pushes her overboard.
  • Sarone punches Danny and then struggles with Terri during which a gun is fired into the air. He then pushes her aside and moments later stabs Danny in the leg with a knife.
  • Sarone suddenly grabs Terri and she bites him on the leg as they struggle. He then knocks her aside and prepares to shoot Danny but Cale appears and stabs him in the back with a sedative dart and Sarone falls into the river.
  • The anaconda chases Terri, and Danny slams a pick ax down into its tail. The snake then tries to get Terri who's climbed up inside an old smokestack that later blows up, catching the anaconda on fire and sending her into the water. The burning snake then comes after her until Danny strikes it in the head with an ax.



  • Reviewed April 7, 1997

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