Anaconda (1997) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Adventure / Horror / Thriller
Sony || R - 89 minutes - $28.95 || June 2, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-06-28


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Luis Llosa
Writer(s): Hans Bauer and Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr. (written by)
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson


Theatrical Release Date: April 11, 1997


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • BD-Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Portguese (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Thereís cheesy bad but fun entertainment and then thereís just plain old cheesy bad movies period. Anaconda is in the latter category. I had seen the movie years ago and itís even worse than I remember...

The ďstoryĒ finds a documentary crew traveling through the Amazon in search of a lost tribe. You have the director Terri Flores (Jennifer Lopez), cameraman Danny Rich (Ice Cube), Professor Dr. Steven Cole (Eric Stoltz), the journeyís host Warren Westridge (Jonathan Hyde), soundman and woman (Owen Wilson, Kari Wuhrer) and their boat driver, Mateo (Vincent Castellanos). Early in their exploration they come upon Sarone (Jon Voight), a poacher shipwrecked off the side of the river. He asks for a lift to the next village and despite his creepy demeanor, they oblige. But when rope gets entangled in the propellers and the professor (?!?) goes down to dislodge it, he gets stung by a nasty bug. Thanks to Sarone, he is stabilized but they must get him medical treatment.

Since they are deep in the jungle and Sarone knows the land like the back of his hand, he offers a shortcut to get back home. Of course, the man with the hilariously awful squinty eye has other plans. He takes them off course where they come upon a dam built to keep something in rather than help water levels. Even though the shipís crew isnít too trusting of Sarone, they go along with his plan to use C4 (which he had carried on board, no alarms there) and blow the dam to smithereens and causing more damage to the already creaky ship.

Well, as you can imagine this ďsomethingĒ are actually snakes and one big ass snake that Sarone has been trying to capture as it (alive) would command buko bucks. Soon enough the giant anaconda is out for revenge going after anyone in its sights, even the delectable Jennifer Lopez!

I realize one can look at a movie like Anaconda as a B-movie horror film with its awful screenplay/story, questionable performances (save for one, more on that later) and truly laughable visual effects. Of course that last one can be chalked up to 1996-97 technology when CGI was probably prohibit-ably expensive.

Iím not going to drone on and on about the nuisances of each actorís performance, or lack thereof, only to mention one of the most bizarre performances Iíve seen in a long while by none other than Jon Vought. First, he uses this odd accent followed by a creepy (and not in the intended way) eye droop which goes in and out seemingly whenever Voight pleases. Perhaps his portrayal as the movieís human villain was showing us that he (Voight) was the only one who knew what a pile of crap this really was while the rest of the cast and crew, including director Luis Llosa (The Specialist, Sniper) thought they were making something truly terrifying.

Unfortunately little of Anaconda really worked. It wasnít bad itís funny nor was it very scary. The part mid-90s CGI/rubber snake did not at all frighten me, yes even when this massive anaconda somehow breaks through a wood floor and chases a man down up a pole. I guess if you want to watch Jon Voight once again ham up the screen as heís been prone to do throughout his career, then take a gander at Anaconda, otherwise leave it sit on the story shelves.

Note: Sony has since released THREE sequels (2004, 2008, 2009), and while I havenít watched even one of them, one can assume those probably were the B-movie that this shouldíve been.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Only feature here is a BD-Live portal plus some trailers for other Sony releases. *Yawn*



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The 1080p high-definition video presentation (2.40 aspect ratio) of Anaconda at times was as murky as the water the snake was swimming in. The picture actually wasnít awful as I didnít really notice much in the way of dust or graininess which for a 12 year old film, itís impressive, but itís also yet another Blu-ray that does not have the wow factor either. Detail levels arenít too bad and skin tones looked alright, but overall itís just not a high-def video that I can get behind.

The Lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track fairs a little better, though itís still not a bang out experience. All five channels get used with some solid dialogue levels and the ambient noise such as the boat traveling on the river all came through the system fairly nicely. Just donít expect to be majorly impressed even compared to other catalogue Blu-ray releases.



.::OVERALL::.

Iím unsure exactly why anyone would want to buy Anaconda on Blu-ray unless you fall into the category of finding this to be some sort of classic so bad its good kind of flick. Iím not on that side because I did have a hard time getting through it all. In any case, if you are that person you probably already own the DVD and with only standard audio and video, youíre not getting much of an upgrade for your money.