'Anaconda' [2014, Blu ray]
(Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, et al / Blu ray / R / (1997) 2014 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: A "National Geographic" film crew is taken hostage by an insane hunter, who takes them along on his quest to capture the world's largest - and deadliest - snake.
Blu ray Verdict: In truth, this is not as bad as some people say it is. Generally, it's pretty formulaic, but there are a few alterations on the monster movie format.
A crew making a documentary set sail down a tropical river, on their way losing their fuel and, you guessed it, bumping into a big snake. There are all the usual characters here: beautiful girl, villain, posh English bloke (there's always one!), working-class hero, etc. They gradually get picked off one-by-one - although guessing the next "victim" is so easy, it takes the fun out of it all.
There are a few oddities in the consistency of the plot. Most of the killing happen in the second half of the film with the first half devoted to boring sub-plots. Curiously, the customary "introduction shock" is not a snake death, but a suicide. We never really find out why this has happened - after all, there is still a lot of Jennifer Lopez to be shown - and this, I think, is one of the main problems with the film. Story lines are attempted but never completed and so the audience will never gain true satisfaction from the film.
Another interesting factor is Terri's boyfriend and his contribution to the story line. During a dive, he gets bitten and the crew manage to recover him. They save his life but he is still unconscious and remains so throughout most of the movie.
However, the weakest character of all is the snake. Sure, it's pretty ugly, but it will never be truly terrifying as the director doesn't play on our sense of fear. We may be surprised when the snake attacks but never truly shocked.
As I said before, this isn't too bad a movie (I've seen worse) - there are some moments of tension, the actors do their jobs and the special effects are far from laughable. Now re-released on Blu ray here in 2014, enjoy it for yourself - and at a cheaper-than-usual-for-blu ray price re: Mill Creek Entertainment! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.