Anaconda Preview

Finally Patrick and I get a chance for a little R&R while travelling to Bolivia via cruise ship. We pay no mind to the man arguing over his lost bagpipes and hit the pool like a couple of relaxed dudez. That’s weird, though, that same guy seems to have no interest in the nouveau-Scottish ska band rocking out on board. How suspicious. Suddenly the cruise ship lurches and we are told to evacuate the ship. Patrick’s spidey senses are a-tingling, though. Was that Bagpipes McGee he saw running the opposite way from the designated evacuation route? We better set him straight. When we confront him he reveals that he is in fact a maniacal eco-terrorist who hid a bunch of bombs inside his bagpipes. He’s hell bent on turning the cruise liner into a pirate war ship capable to disrupting the world’s shipping lanes that are the source of so much of our world’s pollution. Also he got bit by a whale as a child and contracted a whale-specific chronic blood condition that requires the use of diamonds to clean his blood… because there are also diamonds on the cruise ship so that’s also part of the plan. We quickly tire of his exposition so we give him a patented Twin Chop to the neck and save the day (“This was supposed to be our vacation!” we say with a sly smirk). Bagpipes McGee is taken away by the Sea Police (all rights reserved) and we continue on our way to Bolivia with the sweet dulcet tones of Reggae music pleasing our ears. “This is great!” I say to Patrick. “Yeah, super relaxing!” he says, “The only thing that could ruin this trip is if we encounter one or both of my greatest fears: snakes and rare flowers.” That’s right! We’re doing a double dose this week as we knock out both theatrical releases in the Anaconda franchise. Anaconda is a classic bad film and smash hit released in 1997. Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid was released seven years later and was neither of those things. Let’s go!

Anaconda (1997) – BMeTric: 75.4

Anaconda_BMeT

Anaconda_RV

(Below 5.0 is actually quite shocking. I saw this in the theaters when I was like eleven years old and I never really got the sense that it was a terrible film … how did movies work back then? Why would my entire family go out and watch Anaconda one night on a whim. We must have known it was just utter and complete garbage. What else was on? One second … We could have seen Liar Liar. I bet it was my older brother who wanted to watch Anaconda though.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Documentary film crew adrift on the Amazon is besieged by a giant killer snake. Hokey special effects and an expositionless script detract, but there’s campy fun in the form of Voight’s demonic snake poacher, who speaks with a bad Brandoesque drawl and strangles human victims between his knees. FIlm makes most of beautiful Brazilian rainforest locale, yet the big serpentine climax looks strangely like deepest, darkest Arcadia. (In fact, it’s the Arboretum in L.A. County.) Followed by Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid and two TV sequels.

(Did someone say TV sequels? Voight is definitely the highpoint of the film. And I love the inside baseball fact with the filming locale. Definitely a place Leonard Maltin would end up at some point.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkX5t5ZJLEk

(Boom. The Anaconda looks fine in most of those shots although by all accounts it looks like complete trash for the most part. That murderer’s row of actors though, phew. Complete with Ice Cube declaring that he wants to go back to LA? Sign me up.)

Directors – Luis Llosa – (Known For: Sniper; Future BMT: The Specialist; BMT: Anaconda; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: Peruvian. He’s had a winding career going from film critic to low-budget exploitation film producer, to action director. He seems to now produce television in his native country.)

Writers – Hans Bauer (written by) – (Known For: Titan A.E.; Future BMT: Highwaymen; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Anaconda; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: The man behind the movie. He made this as his first script. And then wrote a book (!) about his original vision for the movie. He loves Anaconda.)

Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. (written by) – (Known For: Top Gun; Dick Tracy; Turner & Hooch; The Secret of My Succe$s; Legal Eagles; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Anaconda; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: Writing partners since college they worked together for twenty years until Cash’s death. Epps hasn’t seemed to have done anything after that. Anacondas is just a story credit.)

Actors – Jon Voight – (Known For: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Heat; Transformers; Mission: Impossible; Tropic Thunder; National Treasure; Deliverance; Holes; Zoolander; Midnight Cowboy; Enemy of the State; U Turn; Varsity Blues; The Manchurian Candidate; The Champ; The Rainmaker; Ali; Catch-22; Glory Road; Runaway Train; Future BMT: Big Fat Important Movie; Four Christmases; Pearl Harbor; Most Wanted; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Pride and Glory; BMT: Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2; Bratz; Anaconda; Getaway; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; September Dawn; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Anaconda in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1998 for Most Wanted, and U Turn; in 2005 for Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2; and in 2008 for Bratz, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, September Dawn, and Transformers; Notes: Occasionally in the news for all the wrong reasons. Like, currently he’s in the news because he’s in an anti-abortion film called Roe v. Wade with Milo Yiannopoulos which is so blatantly disingenuous that even Christian-film stalwarts like Kevin Sorbo dropped out once they got the completed script.)

Jennifer Lopez – (Known For: Parker; The Cell; Selena; Out of Sight; Antz; U Turn; Home; Shall We Dance; Jersey Girl; An Unfinished Life; My Family; Lila & Eve; Blood and Wine; Future BMT: Maid in Manhattan; The Wedding Planner; The Back-up Plan; Monster-in-Law; Money Train; Ice Age: Collision Course; Angel Eyes; Enough; Jack; El cantante; Ice Age: Continental Drift; BMT: Gigli; Anaconda; The Boy Next Door; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Gigli in 2004; Nominee for Worst Actress in 2002 for Angel Eyes, and The Wedding Planner; in 2003 for Enough, and Maid in Manhattan; in 2006 for Monster-in-Law; and in 2016 for The Boy Next Door; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2005 for Jersey Girl; and in 2013 for What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Nominee for Worst Actress of the Decade in 2010 for Angel Eyes, Enough, Gigli, Jersey Girl, Maid in Manhattan, Monster-in-Law, and The Wedding Planner; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Jersey Girl in 2005; Notes: You know, sometimes I forget that Alex Rodriguez was a person until I read about him dating Jennifer Lopez and the stunning pinstripe pants suit she wore for a date. Thank you J-Lo.)

Eric Stoltz – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Jerry Maguire; Little Women; Mask; 2 Days in the Valley; Say Anything…; Some Kind of Wonderful; The Rules of Attraction; Singles; Rob Roy; 5 to 7; Memphis Belle; The Prophecy; Kicking and Screaming; Class Rank; The House of Mirth; The Rachel Papers; Naked in New York; Grace of My Heart; Future BMT: The Honeymooners; The Fly II; Harvard Man; Keys to Tulsa; Sleep with Me; Killing Zoe; A Murder of Crows; BMT: Anaconda; Notes: Famously dropped from Back to the Future after five weeks of filming for being too intense for the character. You can even see some of it in the documentary they made.)

Budget/Gross – $45 million / Domestic: $65,885,767 (Worldwide: $136,885,767)

(Smashed it. Kind of weird they waited so long for a sequel, although perhaps the reviews were so terrible they couldn’t lure the main players back and they had to wait a bit for people to forget who was in the original.)

#19 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Huge recent surge in the genre with Alien, Predator, Jurassic Park, Godzilla and King Kong all coming back. Alien Vs. Predator might be the saddest highest grossing BMT film I’ve ever heard for the genre. A Sound of Thunder being the lowest is quite nice.)

#4 for the Horror – Terror in the Water genre

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(If not for the clockwork like way water-based-horror comes back every 5 years I wouldn’t have even shown this … why would that be. Regardless, this is now the highest grossing we’ve seen. Jaws 3D is the only other one.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (19/49): No consensus yet.

(Oooo I’ll have to write one. Corny with some of the worst effects you’ll ever see. And yet … who doesn’t love a snake that eats everything? Reviewer Highlight: The monster looks like a maniacal garden hose in a couple of sequences. Still, it delivers the necessary thrills and chills.  – Carol Buckland, CNN)

Poster – Sklogs Don’t Mess With No Snakes (A-)

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(I enjoy this. A masterfully made poster. The font is shit – can’t even give me some snake skin pattern on that? – but besides that I think this is great.)

Tagline(s) – When you can’t breathe you can’t scream (B+)

(A little cliche at this point. Almost a joke in the end at just how easy this tagline would be to predict. Also a little clunky, but still, it’s a classic for a reason.)

Keyword(s) – monster movie; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 84.5 Piranha 3DD (2012); 75.4 Anaconda (1997); 69.2 Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004); 60.5 Cursed (2005); 58.7 Godzilla (I) (1998); 58.6 The Cave (2005); 55.8 Primeval (2007); 53.6 Bride of the Monster (1955); 51.3 The Mummy (2017);

(I’m unreasonably excited about The Cave. A very rare spelunking film we’ve never really gotten around to.)

Movie Stub – Anaconda (Start class) – I absolutely love the Soundtrack section, which is somehow both rare, and weirdly common … I mean, who remembers or cares about the Anaconda soundtrack? And it doesn’t even seem to have Ice Cube or J-Lo songs on it, it mainly seems to be the score! Anyways, the lacking section is the production (a common theme on wiki it seems). Perhaps I’ll peruse Variety a bit and try and bolster it over the next few days.

Notes – During the filming of one scene the controls for the animatronic Anaconda shorted out, causing it to completely lose control. Some of the footage is included in the movie. (Oh terrible)

The Amazonian film shoot was occasionally disrupted by the fact that a number of the cast were incredibly afraid of snakes. (I would refuse to shoot in the Amazon entirely personally. I would be too afraid of getting sick)

The CGI for the Anacondas cost $100,000 a second. (Awful, and I would imagine completely untrue. That would mean a minute of footage would be $6 million)

The film makes mention of the Candiru, a tiny catfish (also known as the Vampirefish) which has been attributed with the peculiar behavior of swimming into the human body through the urethra (in men) or the vagina (in women), where it lodges itself with its spines. This is not as common an occurrence as the film implies. Only one such incident is known to have happened to a man where a small catfish traveled into the urethra whilst he was urinating in a river. This account has been corroborated by Jeremy Wade in River Monsters – Amazon Flesh Eaters. (Another reason I wouldn’t shoot in the Amazon)

This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book The Official Razzie Movie Guide. (Huh)

In the theatrical trailer, when Gary is attacked by the Anaconda, the CGI snake had not yet been put in, so he was falling backwards with nothing grabbing him. (Fun fact)

Contains two allusions to Ice Cube’s musical career. His first line of dialogue is “Today is a good day,” referring to his 1992 hit “It Was A Good Day.” There is a scene of him listening to Mack 10’s song “Foe Life,” which he co-wrote. (Fine, you do you Ice Cube)

Anaconda was not filmed in the Dominican Republic. The majority of the river scenes were filmed on the Rio Negro, in the vicinity of Manaus, Brazil. The remainder were filmed at the Los Angeles Arboretum. (As Leonard Maltin said)

Jean Reno was considered for the part of Paul Serone. (Would have been a better choice)

Most of the river scenes were filmed in LA Romana, Dominican Republic, tours are available to this area. (Wait one second! But that other note said it wasn’t. I’m starting to think these IMDb notes might be written by random people! …)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Verna Harrah, Leonard Rabinowitz, Carole Little, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Jon Voight, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Jon Voight, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Luis Llosa, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Hans Bauer, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr., 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (1998)

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