Finding something to watch on TV these days is a real challenge, especially when you don’t have SkyMovies. Flicking through the channels I decided to bypass Embarrassing Bodies and some show with Peter Andre in it and instead opted for Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid.
It might not reflect well on me as a so-called movie writer when I admit that I wasn’t even aware there was a sequel to 1997′s Anaconda. (a sequel and then some – Andy)
I remember the original as being a silly movie which provided a few laughs – chiefly due to the effects. Also, that it starred Jon Voight in one of his very best OTT turns in portraying a complete basket case. Not only that, but it featured Jennifer Lopez, a while before she portrayed herself as a complete basket case in real life.
I was not exactly filled with confidence upon watching the opening credits with the realisation that I was not familiar with most of the cast; with the fabulously named Morris Chestnut being the most recognisable. Embarrassingly for me, I had heard of Matthew Marsden due to having to watch soaps in the days when I had no say in what was watched on our TV at home. Coronation Street fan or not – his appearance in this hardly left me optimistic for the next 90 minutes.
The plot involves a group of researchers who are making a journey to an Indonesian jungle as they have discovered a flower called the blood orchid that can extend human life; the management at their company seem rather impressed by this and don’t ask further questions. One rather excited elderly gentleman at the meeting exclaims “this will be bigger than Viagra!”. That was my first thought too…
The explorers have the usual cliché of mixed personalities including Eugene Byrd’s character, Cole, as the “comic relief” member of the group. Turns out though that he is as much fun as having to sit through an entire evening of Comic Relief. The group needs a leader however. More specifically, it needs a designer stubble wearing, tattooed, deep-voiced male leader. He is found in a local bar drinking shots and, when talking to one of the female researchers, addresses with her “Look lady..” Immediately they put their trust in him to lead them through a jungle and all that it entails. One of them at least should however have felt a bit cheated out of their $50,000 fee that they paid when he not so helpfully and just a tad too late reveals to them “It’s the jungle, everything gets eaten” Surely he doesn’t think anyone out of the team will be hurt during this expedition under his leadership, does he??
Tragically the group begins to reduce in numbers one by one and they all begin to get really nervous of their surroundings, thanks in no small part to the giant snakes they have seen. This grinds to a halt all the flirting, and the infighting begins. None of the death scenes here are particularly memorable though and we are not really given enough opportunities to see the snakes. Disappointing. The expectation level for a movie like this is that we have some fun watching several of the characters meet their grisly demise and enjoy the appearance of the creatures on screen while also having some hilariously bad special effects to feast our eyes upon. The latter of those we do indeed get but the balance is all wrong in Anacondas and the patience of the viewer evaporates while watching interminable dialogue scenes with characters we do not care about.
This should have been more fun to watch than it was.
My unlimited thanks to Channel 5 for broadcasting this one.