OCTOBER 22, 2007
A long running joke among me and myself concerns the inane number of (credited) writers on Halloween 4 (four of them), a movie that really has no story at all (“Michael returns to Haddonfield and kills some folks”). That film, which I love, was directed by Dwight Little, which is the only reason I bothered with his Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid. So imagine my surprise to see SEVEN credited writers on it, a movie that is basically “Some folks get eaten by some snakes”. What the hell is with you, Little?
Now, I have never seen the original. J Lo AND Ice Cube in one movie? Christ. I caught some of it on TNT one day (apparently they lost their Shawshank Redemption DVD and had to put SOMETHING on) and it didn’t exactly compel me. If it wasn’t for Little being the director, I wouldn’t have bothered with this one either. Luckily, I had no trouble following the labyrinthine plot despite coming in blind to the dense mythology of the Anaconda franchise.
Actually, and surprisingly, the movie isn’t too bad. Sure, it’s junk, and the CG snakes are terrible 90% of the time, but there’s some semblance of effort to be seen, and it certainly moves along nicely enough. I “called” two characters certain deaths when they turned out to survive, always a plus (though no other characters take their place inside a snake’s belly – there’s eight people in the movie and four live!).
And come on, this shot is fucking cool:
The strange thing about the movie is that the resident “Bad guy” human was actually the one you want to see survive. Sure he’s a bit of a dick, but all he wanted to do, besides get rich, was bring back a rare orchid that could save the lives of millions. The “good guy” people more or less try to stop him so they can just go home (rendering the deaths of their friends wholly pointless)? One character even seems vehemently OPPOSED to the entire attempt, even before the snakes show up. “No, I want cancer to keep on killing”? Strange. The movie doesn’t even make clear if the surviving characters bother bringing any of the damn things home with them.
There’s also a hilarious moment where a boat capsizes, likely ruining all their high tech gear. This is emphasized, poorly, when a guy picks up a CD-ROM drive (even though they were all using laptops) and says “Hard drive’s ruined!”. So? What about the CD-ROM drive??? Will it at least read at the visibly promised 52x speed?
I remember seeing that this film would be released in theaters (where it actually made some decent money) and being amazed. Come on, a name-only sequel to a 7 year old movie no one really liked to begin with? Why did this movie even exist, let alone get a wide release? But hey, I remain relatively surprised with how un-awful it was. It reminds me of that classic Onion story: “Catwoman praised for not being as awful as expected”. The subtitle alone (who the fuck cares why they are there? Especially since the movie itself doesn’t seem to) is grounds for straight to Sci-Fi channel land, but kudos to Little and all 85916902 of his writers for pulling off a decent movie out of what had to have been initially conceived as a tax write-off.
What say you?