This is definitely a guilty pleasure for me. I have always been fascinated, and admittedly, a little freaked out by snakes, particularly ones that could eat you. This is by no means an excellent film, but it is entertaining, which is really the point of movies in the first place. It begins with a poacher (Danny Trejo – woo hoo!) attempting to reach help over a radio on a small boat in the Amazon. We, by the title of the film, know what he is afraid of. Instead of succumbing to the anaconda’s strength and intentions, he decides to commit suicide. His character is important because he will be referenced later on in the movie. The premise of the story is that of a documentary film crew in search of a legendary Indian tribe in the Amazon rainforest. The director, Terri, played by the lovely Jennifer Lopez, is sort of dating professor Cale, played by Eric Stoltz. The other crew members include Danny, played by Ice Cube, and a younger Owen Wilson as the sound guy, his girlfriend, Denise, the production manager, Mateo, the ship’s captain, and Westridge, the narrator.
Along the way, the encounter a man stranded in his boat that is caught in the roots of the river during a storm, so they save him and allow him to come on board. This is Jon Voight’s character, Paul Sarone. Everyone seems to think there is something strange about him from the start. He claims to know the location of the tribe the crew is searching for, causing some tension between he and the professor. Shortly after this, Professor Cale goes underwater to untangle a rope from the propellers of the boat, and a wasp gets in his airway, preventing him from breathing. The crew gets him out of the water, while Sarone gives him an Amazon-style tracheotomy to allow him to breathe. Sarone slowly begins to take over control of the boat, and after coming upon an abandoned boat (the same one the poacher killed himself on in the beginning), he tells the crew of anacondas, and how big they can really get. This freaks everyone out, especially since Mateo has yet to come back from the abandoned boat. By now, we know, he is anaconda food. Sarone tries to talk Gary into helping him capture a snake that could be worth millions. Entranced by this, Gary joins in. Everyone on the boat is against this, but the only guy with a gun is Sarone, so what are you going to do?
So, they kill a monkey to use as bait, and that night, it works. However, panic breaks out, and in the shuffle, Gary is attacked and killed by the anaconda they’re after. Now, the crew knows Sarone is the real enemy, and make a plan to knock him unconscious. He is tied up to a pole on the boat as the crew attempts to find their way back to civilization. They get stuck in the river, and have to pry themselves loose, and while they are in the water, Denise tries to kill Sarone. Turns out, Sarone is stronger and smarter, and Denise ends up in the river, dead. Now it is time for Mr. Anaconda to come back, and it chases Westridge up a cliff where he is attacked and killed. While they are trying to help Westridge, they are also fighting Sarone. Cale wakes up and tries to help by stabbing a tranquilizer dart into Sarone’s back. Sarone falls in the river and the crew thinks they are finally rid of him. They get the heck outta dodge, and end up needing fuel. As they come upon an abandoned building, Terri and Danny go to look for fuel, and what they find inside is Sarone. He’s got more lives than a cat, I swear. Sarone ties them up and throws monkey blood on them to attract his ‘warrior snake’. Through a twist of fate and some quick moves by Ice Cube, the snake ends up after Sarone, and proceeds to devour him. Whew. Oh wait, we’re still facing a giant snake.
Danny and Terri attempt to outwit the snake by going different ways. While Terri is running up the smokestack of the building, Danny bashes it with a pick-axe several times, but it gets free. You saw this coming, yes? Terri uses a rope at the top of the building and lowers herself down, with the anaconda not far behind. Danny has by now set the snake on fire and the smokestack explodes just as Terri lets go and falls into the river below. The snake, while still on fire, is still chasing her through the water, until it gives up and goes under. Sitting on the dock, the two are relieved, until the snake pops back up. Danny uses an axe to kill the snake, and honestly, that part made me sad. Of course, right? But it looked and sounded pitiful when it died, even though it wasn’t real. Danny and Terri get the fuel and leave that area. As they are going down the river towards society, with Cale now becoming conscious again, the three see the tribe that they had been searching for to begin with…
Like I said, this movie is by no means excellent, but it is entertainment nonetheless. We love seeing Voight being a badass, or in this case, an absolute asshole, and who doesn’t like Ice Cube and J. Lo? If for nothing else, it will make for a fun afternoon, and a few laughs. Or, in case you’re terrified of snakes, a real nightmare. But truth be told, it is one of the better creature features out there, so if you are in the mood for one of those, go for this 🙂