Movie Review - Anaconda
Story about big snakes story is no charmer

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Somewhere, someone thought Anaconda would be a good movie.

Somewhere, something went horribly wrong.

The movie, about a documentary film crew in the Amazon being stalked by giant, computer-generated snakes, is a morass of cliches, contradictions and clumsy attempts at suspense.

The heroes are Jennifer Lopez as a young director and rap star Ice Cube as her buddy and cameraman. Eric Stoltz plays the anthropologist who hires them, but spends most of the movie in bed after he's disabled by inhaling a poisonous wasp.

(PG-13; horror violence, profanity) -- Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight. 90 minutes. At National Amusements, Showplace 8, Danbarry Middletown.

They're supposed to be searching for a primitive tribe, but what they find instead is Jon Voight, who should know better than to get mixed up in a movie that requires him to speak in a silly accent; it's supposed to be Uruguayan, but it sounds like Ricky Ricardo.

His character, Paul Sarone, pretends to be stranded so he can take over the film crew's boat and use it to hunt the legendary giant anaconda, which he describes as ''a perfect killing machine.''

Before the opening scene, the movie tells us that these snakes are so horrible they'll regurgitate one prey just so they can kill and eat another.

That kind of advertising doesn't make the movie snakes any more frightening when we actually see them. We know when they're coming, for one thing, because their arrival is announced by the typical Jaws-like beat. We also see them hunting as efficiently on land as on water, rendering the many ''Get out of the water!'' scenes pointless.

Neither the human actors nor director Luis Llosa do much to overcome the dopey script by Hans Bauer, Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.

The movie is dominated by the flashy, gory special effects of its last 15 minutes. I suppose some horror addicts might get a kick out those moments, but for most of us, they just prolong the suffering.

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