Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Luis Llosa|
|Produced by||Verna Harrah
|Written by||Hans Bauer
Jack Epps Jr.
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Edited by||Michael R. Miller|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||April 11, 1997|
|Running time||89 minutes|
Anaconda is a 1997 adventure-horror film, directed by Luis Llosa, starring Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson, Kari Wuhrer and Jonathan Hyde. It centers on a film crew for National Geographic who are kidnapped by a hunter who is going after the world's largest giant anaconda, which is discovered in the Amazon Rainforest. Despite receiving mostly negative reviews from critics, the film was a box office hit and was followed by three sequels.
The film begins with a poacher (Danny Trejo) calling for help on the radio. Something breaks through the floor of the boathouse, causing the poacher to run upstairs and climb up the tower with a gun. As the unseen predator climbs up the tower and stares at the horrified poacher, he shoots himself. Shooting a documentary about a long-lost Indian tribe on the Amazon River known as the Shirishama tribe, director Terri Flores (Jennifer Lopez) and members of her crew—including cameraman Danny Rich (Ice Cube), production manager Denise Kalberg (Kari Wuhrer), sound engineer Gary Dixon (Owen Wilson), visionary Warren Westridge (Jonathan Hyde), anthropologist Professor Steven Cale (Eric Stoltz), and captain of the boat Mateo (Vincent Castellanos)—come across stranded Paraguayan snake hunter Paul Serone (Jon Voight) and help him, believing he knows how to find the tribe they are searching for. But Serone acts strangely, and the crew suspects something.
While trying to free the boat's propeller from a rope, Cale is stung in the throat by a wasp inside his scuba gear, leaving him unconscious. With that, Serone takes command of the boat and the crew. They are then forced to help him achieve his true objective—hunting down and capturing a record-breaking Green Anaconda he had been tracking.
Mateo is the first of the crew to be killed by the anaconda, which wraps around him and then breaks his neck near a boat where the poacher had been killed at the beginning of the film. The others try to find him while Gary sides with Serone, who promises if they help him find the anaconda, he will help them get out alive. Ironically, Gary is eaten next when they attempt to capture the anaconda. The survivors overcome Serone and tie him up. When Denise attempts to kill Serone, he gets the edge and strangles her to death with his legs before dumping her body in the river where she drowns. The anaconda returns and kills Westridge and coils itself around Danny, only to be shot dead by Terri and Serone incapacitated by the newly awakened Cale (who later loses consciousness again). Danny punches Serone, knocking him into the river.
Later on, Terri and Danny, two of the surviving members of the crew, are captured when Serone catches up to them. He dumps a bucket of monkey blood on them and then uses them as bait in an attempt to capture a second, larger anaconda. The anaconda wraps around Terri and Danny and begins to suffocate them. They are caught in a net by Serone, but the snake breaks free. Serone tries to escape, but the anaconda finally manages to coil around him and suffocate him. Terri and Danny cut their bonds and watch in horror as the anaconda slowly swallows Serone whole. Terri finds a nest of baby anacondas in a building, but the snake arrives, and after regurgitating the still twitching Serone, chases her up a smoke stack. The snake becomes trapped in the smoke stack, whereupon Danny ignites a fire below and burns the snake alive. As Terri and Danny recuperate on a nearby dock, the snake appears one final time. Danny beats the anaconda with an axe until it is finally dead.
Afterwards, Terri and Danny reunite with Cale, who begins to revive on the boat. As they float down the river, they accidentally locate the natives for whom they were originally searching. They realize Serone was right and begin filming their documentary as the film ends.
- Ice Cube as Danny Rich
- Jennifer Lopez as Terri Flores
- Jon Voight as Paul Serone
- Kari Wuhrer as Denise Kalberg
- Owen Wilson as Gary Dixon
- Jonathan Hyde as Warren Westridge
- Vincent Castellanos as Mateo
- Eric Stoltz as Dr. Steven Cale
- Danny Trejo as Poacher
- Frank Welker as the Anaconda (voice)
- Jack Flyper Walker Jr. as Jonh Nikel
Gillian Anderson and Julianna Margulies were the first choices for the role of Terri Flores (whose last name was originally Porter), but they passed due to scheduling conflicts with both The X-Files and ER respectively before Jennifer Lopez signed on. Jean Reno was considered to play the part of Paul Serone, until Jon Voight was immediately cast.
Anaconda received mostly negative reviews upon its release. Some critics did praise the film's effects, scenery, and tongue-in-cheek humor, but many criticized the acting, "forgettable" or "cardboard" characters, inaccuracies, and "boring" start.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a "rotten" rating of 38%, based on 48 reviews. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 37 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Despite the initial negative reception, Anaconda has since become a cult classic, often viewed as so-bad-it's-good. The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.
Awards and nominations
The film was nominated for six Razzie Awards in 1998 including Worst Picture (which lost to The Postman), Worst Actor (Jon Voight; which went to Kevin Costner for The Postman), Worst Director (awarded to Costner for The Postman), Worst Screenplay (lost to The Postman), Worst New Star ("the animatronic anaconda"; which went to Dennis Rodman for Double Team) and Worst Screen Couple (Voight and "the animatronic anaconda"; where they lost to Rodman and Jean-Claude Van Damme for Double Team). It was also nominated for two Saturn Awards including Best Actress (Jennifer Lopez; who lost to Jodie Foster for Contact) and Best Horror Film (which went to The Devil's Advocate).
|Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Picture||Verna Harrah||Nominated|
|Worst Director||Luis Llosa||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay||Hans Bauer||Nominated|
|Jack Epps Jr.||Nominated|
|Worst Actor||Jon Voight||Nominated|
|Worst Screen Couple||Nominated|
|The animatronic anaconda||Nominated|
|Worst New Star||Nominated|
|Saturn Award||Best Actress||Jennifer Lopez||Nominated|
|Best Horror or Thriller Film||Nominated|
The film opened at #1 with $16.6 million in its first weekend and remained at the top spot in its following week. In total, Anaconda went on to gross $136.8 million worldwide, making it a sizable box office success more than recouping its $45 million budget.
The film was given a PG-13 rating by the MPAA. Despite this, the film was referenced in the film Zombieland, when a character says it was the first R-Rated film she saw.
The film was followed by three sequels, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid in 2004, which was released to theaters and two made-for-television films, Anaconda 3: Offspring and Anacondas: Trail of Blood, both produced in 2008 and 2009. Even though no characters from the first film appear in the sequels, they are referenced by the character Cole in The Hunt for the Blood Orchid when he says he knows a friend who knows a friend that took a crew down to the Amazon and they were all eaten by snakes. The Blood Orchid from the second film also referenced in the film's sequels.
- Ebert, Roger (April 11, 1997). "Anaconda". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0.
- "1997 Archive". Razzies.com. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
- Anaconda at the Internet Movie Database
- Anaconda at AllMovie
- Anaconda at Rotten Tomatoes
- Anaconda at Metacritic
- Anaconda at Box Office Mojo