Anaconda is a 1997 American adventure horror film directed by Luis Llosa and starring Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde and Owen Wilson. It focuses on a documentary film crew in the Amazon rainforest that is led by a snake hunter who is hunting down a giant, legendary green anaconda. The film received generally negative reviews, but was a box office success, grossing $136.8 million worldwide against a $45 million budget, and also became a cult classic. It was followed by a series of films.

Snake eyes
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLuis Llosa
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyBill Butler
Edited byMichael R. Miller
Music byRandy Edelman
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • April 11, 1997 (1997-04-11)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million
Box office$136.8 million[1]

Plot edit

On the Amazon River, a poacher hides from an unknown creature in his boat. While it breaks through the boat and attempts to catch the poacher, he commits suicide by shooting himself to prevent it from killing him.

Meanwhile, a film crew is shooting a documentary about the Shirishamas, a long-lost indigenous Amazonian tribe. The crew includes director Terri Flores, cameraman and childhood friend Danny Rich, production manager Denise Kalberg, Denise's boyfriend and sound engineer Gary Dixon, narrator Warren Westridge, anthropologist Professor Steven Cale, and boat skipper Mateo. The group encounters stranded Paraguayan snake hunter Paul Serone, who convinces them he can help them find the Shirishamas. Most of the crew are uncomfortable around Serone, and Cale clashes with him several times about Shirishama lore. Eventually, Cale is stung by a wasp, and an allergic reaction swells up his throat and leaves him unconscious. Serone performs an emergency cricothyrotomy, seemingly saving Cale's life, but soon after takes over the boat, forcing the crew to help him achieve his true goal: hunting down a giant record-breaking green anaconda he had been tracking, which he believes that he can capture alive.

Danny, Mateo and Serone search the wreckage of the poacher's boat. A photograph in an old newspaper reveals that Mateo, Serone, and the poacher were working together to hunt animals, including snakes. Leaving the poacher's ship, Mateo falls into the water, where the giant male warrior anaconda, measuring 25 ft (7.6 m), attacks and kills him, while Danny and Serone return to their boat, unaware of Mateo's fate. Serone promises that if the crew helps him find the snake, he will help them get out alive. That night, the anaconda attacks the boat crew. Serone attempts to capture the snake, but it coils around Gary, crushing him. Terri attempts to shoot the anaconda to save him, but Serone knocks her gun away and the snake devours Gary, leaving a heartbroken Denise in tears. The crew overpowers Serone and ties him up as punishment.

The next day, the boat becomes stuck at a waterfall, requiring Terri, Danny, and Westridge to enter the water to winch it loose. Denise confronts Serone and attempts to kill him to avenge Gary's death, but he strangles her with his legs before dumping her corpse into the river. The anaconda returns, and Westridge distracts it long enough for Terri and Danny to return to the boat while Westridge ascends the waterfall. Serone breaks free during the attack and attacks Danny. The anaconda climbs a tree and attacks Westridge, but the tree snaps. The crew winds up in the water, Cale wakes up in the process, and Westridge is killed in the fall from the waterfall. The snake attacks Danny, but Terri shoots it in the head. Serone, still believing he can capture the snake alive, attacks her. Cale stabs him with a tranquilizer dart before losing consciousness again himself, and Danny knocks Serone into the river.

Serone eventually catches up to the group and captures Terri and Danny, dumping a bucket of animal blood on them and using them as bait for a second, much larger female Queen anaconda, measuring 40 ft (12 m). The snake attacks the pair, slowly suffocating them. Serone attempts to catch the anaconda in a net, but it breaks free and attacks him, eventually swallowing him whole, while Terri and Danny watch as they escape their bonds. The anaconda gives chase to Terri, who retreats into the building and finds a nest full of newborn anacondas. The snake regurgitates the still-alive, but partially digested Serone and chases her up a smokestack. Danny pins its tail to the ground with a pickaxe and ignites a fire below the smoke shack, setting the snake on fire. The resulting explosion sends the burning anaconda flying out of the building and into the water. As Terri and Danny recuperate on a nearby dock, the anaconda resurfaces, but Danny kills it with an axe to the head.

Afterward, the pair reunites with Cale, who begins recuperating on the boat. While floating downriver, the trio locates the Shirishama tribe they were originally seeking and, realizing Serone was right, begins filming their documentary.

Cast edit

Soundtrack edit

Anaconda: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by
ReleasedApril 22, 1997
Film scores
LabelEdel America Records
Anaconda soundtrack chronology
Anaconda: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

Randy Edelman composed and conducted the film's soundtrack, released by Edel America Records.[2]

Track listing
  1. Main Title (4:45)
  2. Watching and Waiting (4:43)
  3. Night Attack (2:47)
  4. This Must Be Heaven (1:39)
  5. Down River (2:43)
  6. Seduction (3:27)
  7. Travelogue (2:45)
  8. Baiting the Line (2:47)
  9. My Beautiful Anna... (conda) (2:54)
  10. The Totem's Scared Ground (2:26)
  11. Sarone's Last Stand (3:00)

Reception edit

Box office edit

The film opened at No. 1 with $16.6 million in its first weekend and remained at the top spot in its following week.[3][4][5] In total, Anaconda went on to gross $136.8 million worldwide,[6] making it a sizable box office success collecting more than three times its $45 million budget.

Critical response edit

Anaconda received generally 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 rating of 42%, based on 55 reviews, with an average rating of 4.9/10. The site's consensus reads: "Anaconda's pulpy pleasures are constricted by its own absurdity, but creature feature fans may enjoy its brazen silliness".[7] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 37 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[8] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[9]

Film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film a mixed 2 out of a possible 4 stars, criticizing the film's "hokey" special effects and "expositionless" script but complimented the film's use of Brazilian locale and Voight's campy performance.[10] Roger Ebert awarded the film 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and called it a "...slick, scary, funny Creature Feature, beautifully photographed and splendidly acted in high adventure style".[11]

Despite the initial negative reception, Anaconda has since become a cult classic, often viewed as being 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.[12]

Accolades edit

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).[13] 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). It won two Stinkers Awards including Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Fake Accent for Jon Voight (who also won the latter award for Most Wanted).

Award Category Subject Results
Golden Raspberry Award Worst Picture Verna Harrah Nominated
Carole Little Nominated
Leonard Rabinowitz Nominated
Worst Director Luis Llosa Nominated
Worst Screenplay Hans Bauer Nominated
Jim Cash 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
Stinkers Bad Movie Award Worst Supporting Actor Jon Voight Won
Worst Fake Accent Won

Legacy edit

The broadcast of the movie during primetime viewing on South African television station has become a national running gag, with the station airing the movie several times every year since the mid-2000s.[14][15][16]

Sequels and crossover edit

A sequel, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, was released to theaters in 2004. Three more films follows with a direct-to-video release, Anaconda 3: Offspring (2008), Anacondas: Trail of Blood (2009) and Lake Placid vs. Anaconda (2015), a crossover film with the Lake Placid franchise.

Even though no characters from the first film appear in the sequels, the events of the first film are referenced by the character Cole Burris in the second film, when he says he knows a man (Dr. Steven Cale) and another man (Danny Rich) that took a crew down to the Amazon, where they were attacked by snakes; in Lake Placid vs. Anaconda, character Will "Tully" Tull describes the same incident of the snakes in the Amazon to Reba, without explicitly mentioning the characters.

Reboot edit

In January 2020, Sony Pictures announced a reboot is in development and screenwriter Evan Daugherty was hired to write the reboot film.[17] In 2023, Tom Gormican was announced to direct the film.[18]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Anaconda (1997)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on January 26, 2022. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  2. ^ "Anaconda – Randy Edelman". AllMusic. Archived from the original on January 25, 2022. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  3. ^ "'Anaconda' Slithers Into the Top Box-Office Spot". Los Angeles Times. April 14, 1997. Archived from the original on 2022-09-21. Retrieved 2023-03-31.
  4. ^ "Weekend Chart 1" Archived 2021-01-29 at the Wayback Machine. boxofficemojo
  5. ^ "Weekend Chart 2" Archived 2021-01-28 at the Wayback Machine. boxofficemojo
  6. ^ "Anaconda" Archived 2022-01-26 at the Wayback Machine. boxofficemojo
  7. ^ Anaconda at Rotten Tomatoes  
  8. ^ Anaconda at Metacritic  
  9. ^ "CinemaScore". Archived from the original on 2019-08-09. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  10. ^ Leonard Maltin (2 September 2014). "Leonard Maltin's 2015 Movie Guide". Penguin Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-698-18361-2.
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 11, 1997). "Anaconda". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 30, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  12. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0.
  13. ^ "Razzie Award (1998)" Archived 2017-11-13 at the Wayback Machine. IMDb
  14. ^ "'Not again!' - eTV's Saturday Night Movie choice sparks huge backlash". 13 January 2022. Archived from the original on 25 January 2022. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  15. ^ " dragged for airing Anaconda movies". 13 January 2022. Archived from the original on 23 January 2022. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Is this why eTV refuses to retire 'Anaconda' from its archives?". 14 January 2022. Archived from the original on 24 January 2022. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (January 24, 2020). "'Anaconda' Reboot in the Works With 'Snow White and the Huntsman' Writer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 30, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  18. ^ Kamal, Nathan (March 11, 2023). "Exclusive: Anaconda Reboot In Development From Massive Talent Director". Giant Freakin Robot. Archived from the original on May 26, 2023. Retrieved May 26, 2023.

External links edit