Anacondas: The Hunt Of The Blood Orchid

A bigger, bolder, pluralized island fountain-of-youth reimagination of the original with better CGI, blockbuster self-awareness, cast, setting, and biological accuracy correcting its biggest flaw, Anacondas is an exhilarating jungle snake feature. 7.5/10.

Plot Synopsis: Bill Johnson (Johnny Messner) leads a group of scientists (KaDee Strickland, Matthew Marsden, Nicholas Gonzalez, Eugene Byrd, Salli Richardson-Whitfield) into the jungles of Borneo. They are searching for the mythical black orchid, which can supposedly grant eternal life. Unfortunately, massive anacondas have been feeding on the orchids for years. When their boat goes over a waterfall, the scientists land right in the middle of the snakes’ home.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

Official CLC Review

A Cult-Classic Snake-Feature, Pluralized

The Original, Despite Laughable CGI & Non-Realism, Was A Solidly-Acted, Well-Plotted, Star-Cameod Amazon Creature Blockbuster

Photograph Courtesy Of: Columbia Pictures x Screen Gems

A movie with J.Lo, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson, Danny Trejo, & Jon Voight about a trip to the Amazon Rainforest & survival creature-feature with a 40-foot long anaconda? Sign us up!.. Right? The original 1997 Anaconda was an exciting prospect on paper and even throughout its events – until you witnessed the unspeakable horror of its CGI and laughability of slow-moving anacondas slither at light-speed, descend from ceilings, and launch themselves up waterfalls. Despite a fundamental misunderstanding of snakes and what makes them such ubiquitous symbols of evil begging seriously into-question whether the filmmakers have ever even seen a real-live snake before, the original was barely-passable entertainment by the strength of Voight’s villain and the starpower of all its mega-musicians on-screen at the same time. Fans of snake and creature-features longed for a much better one though, one given partial-satisfaction by Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets’ monstrous Basilisk but not-dark-or-realistic-enough. Seven years after the first film, a sequel is here – and it’s better in every way. A bigger, bolder, pluralized island fountain-of-youth reimagination of the original with better CGI, blockbuster self-awareness, cast, setting, and biological accuracy correcting its biggest flaw, Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid is an exhilarating jungle snake feature that’s the best of its series & realism-snake blockbusters.

A New Setting

A Far Better & More Beautiful Setting, The Sequel Goes To The Pacific Islands – With New Characters, Scale, & A Treasure-Hunt

Photograph Courtesy Of: Columbia Pictures x Screen Gems

The best thing about Anacondas is that is doesn’t lean at all on its original and wipes the slate clean to go back to the drawing board. The setting is completely different and a much better one on the other side of the globe: The Pacific Islands. Filmed on-location in the breathtaking island nation of Fiji’s innermost jungles, the setting is far more tropical, pure jungle-feeling, and primordial than the muggy and swampy first one – and that alone is a massive improvement felt from the waterfall-traverse tribal-hunt reversal in the thrilling opening scene. The cinematography by Stephen F. Windon is fine – solid, although not as inventive or out-of-the-box as the 1997 original’s by Bill Buter, with shots like that iconic from-within snake gut pink one still impressive today. The aesthetic still works thoough and serves its purpose of capturing the natural beauty-turned-terror of its fairy-tale-esque surroundings. Beyond the background, everything else is different as well: the characters, the scale, the cast, the anacondas (both in number and accuracy), and, best of all: the plot.

A Better Plot & Thematization

A Biological Eden/Fountain-Of-Youth Adventure-Gone-Dark, The Pitch’s Fantastic, Leans On IJ-Serials, Folklore, & Capitalism

Photograph Courtesy Of: Columbia Pictures x Screen Gems

The plot of Anacondas is fantastic – taking cues straight out of Indiana Jones, classic adventure serials, and myth/folklore in the hunt for the Blood Orchid. A flower hidden deep in the jungle that flowers once per near-decade and catalyzes a biological fountain-of-youth reaction prolonging lifespan – the treasure of this treasure-hunt is a compelling one, given even more humorous dichotomization by its capitalistic undertones of a pharmaceutical company going after it on-expedition for all of the wrong reasons. A brilliant reimagination of its predecessor’s comparatively-underwhelming documentary/hitchhiker plot, the plot of THFTBO is pure blockbuster adventure like that of a Disney film and is all the more entertaining and charmingly meta self-aware for that reason, before it of course goes wrong in the most sadistic of ecological ways when it’s discovered this journey is one fringed with palpable danger by its brand-new and recognizable cast far away from the music industry. The cast of The Hunt For The Blood Orchid is extremely-recognizable: one, because they’ve been in countless different well-known big movies beforehand (and afterwards), and two because they feel very in-tune with blockbuster tropes a film with a premise as ridiculous as the Anacondas-franchise needs in order to stay entertaining.

A New Cast & Blockbuster Characterization

A Cast Full Of Recognizable Faces & Solid Performances That is Entirely Self-Aware Blockbuster Entertainment It Needs To Be

Photograph Courtesy Of: Columbia Pictures x Screen Gems

The main character of Gordon Mitchell will seem wildly-familiar because Morris Chestnut has been an omnipotent actor in 21st-century African-American blockbusters, from Like Mike to Boyz N The Hood to The Best Man to Takers To Think Like A Man to Kick-Ass to V and the list goes on, here bringing that signature charm and successful-black-man suave demeanor from New York City boardrooms to the jungles. Eugene Byrd plays the cowardly number-cruncher phenomenally – also boasting a wildly-diverse resumé from Bones to 8 Mile to Sleepers to Bolden to Arrow. Another Arrow-feature is Karl Yune with features in Memoirs Of A Geisha and Real Steel as a badass and Asian-representation Tran, alongside Nicholas Gonzalez’ pretty-boy Dr. Douglas who shared a universe with him and Byrd in The Flash as well as being perhaps the best of the cast in everything from Narcos to The Purge to Charlie’s Angels to True Blood to PLL to Law & Order: SVU. Johnny Messner plays a magnificent tough-guy masculine ’80’s lead in Johnson, Strickland & Richardson female scientists with plenty of beauty too for a respect-worthy combination, and Matthew Marsden a Hollywood-cameo Transformers and Rambo-featured good villain in Dr. Byron.

‘There’s Something In The Water!’

A Far Scarier Injection Of Ophidiophobia; A Pluralized Version Of The Original’s Terror Correcting Its Big Flaw: Biological Accuracy

Photograph Courtesy Of: Columbia Pictures x Screen Gems

The capitalistic greed of Byron consumes him and burns slowly across the screenplay, but he makes some good points and is empathizably-agreeable in motivations (until he goes on an arachnoslasher rampage): they came all the way here and don’t have good survival-odds anyway; why would they not go after the Perrenia Immortalis when it’s right up the riverbank? The horror is great – from that iconic shot of the crew wading through the muddy waist-high water as the snake slithers stealthily by unbeknownst to Gordon being paralyzed as the anaconda comes right up face-to-face (one of the most brutal and sadistic scare sequences I can imagine being helpless in movement to your coming death when every instinct and bodily function is crying to move, but can’t) and the final snake-pit mating-ball out of our nightmares. The score echoes the ambition of its numbers and pluralization with epic blockbuster orchestration and timbres – and there are even some impressive technical works like ventriloquism/secondhand-viewing in the monkey watching from the sidelines and paralleling our exact reactions to the film’s events. The film even correct the biggest and really only flaw of the first one – although it’s a doozy: biological accuracy/CGI. We could not stop laughing at the ludicrous absurdity of how the anaconda in the original Anaconda looked, moving at lightspeed with superhuman reflexes despite no mention of anything abnormal about the jungle it was found in and snakes in real life moving at the speed of molasses.

The Finale & CGI

A Finale That’s Full Of Errors, PTSD, & Meek-Casualties; 1000x Better CGI – Despite A Bizarre Toothiness Problem

Photograph Courtesy Of: Columbia Pictures x Screen Gems

One snake devoured the entire crew of the original in a matter of days – when anacondas digest their food whole and thus have massive lumps in their bellies, being incapacitated and unable to move for weeks after eating one animal half the size of a fully-grown man. Here, all those flaws are (easily)-fixed: the CGI is 1,000x better and most thankably: it is far more biologically-accurate as a result of its smarter scripting in that multiple snakes devour only a few people and they even mention/throw shade at the original by mention of territorialness and weeks-digestion. For all these salvages of the premise, there are some flaws – one of them again in CGI and a new, bizarre problem: toothiness. These anacondas have jaws that make them look like velociraptors or tyrannosaurus rex – a joke-like addition that is completely unnecessary and not even remotely accurate to what anacondas actually look like, a shame since otherwise in-action: the snakes are realistic. The finale is also riddled with errors – like one flare blowing up the entire area, a girl surviving not only the PTSD of being right above the snake-pit but also falling inside one, the survivors (FAR too many of them – 4? The film is actually pretty docile/weak in casualties and needed more for a horror flick of this scale) making quips and jokes at the end on the river after their friends just got killed, and most hatable: the finale has the humans we’re supposed to feel bad for and empathize with all film.. blow up the snakes minding their own business mating in their own natural environment – who’s really the villain here?

Conclusion

The Best Anaconda Film

A Bigger, Bolder, Pluralized Island Fountain-Of-Youth Reimagination That’s Better Than Its Original & The Best Of The Series – A Delivery Of Exhilarating Snake Adventure

Photograph Courtesy Of: Columbia Pictures x Screen Gems

Overall, Anacondas is one of the better snake films in existence and the best of the series – much better than the original. The plot and setting are infinitely-superior in the breathtaking subtropical region of Fiji and hunt for the blood orchid straight out of a comic book serial adventure of IJ-film. The finale is poorly-executed with reflexive characterization, confused emotion, and a meek number of casualties, but the far better CGI & realism plus self-aware blockbuster thrills of the screenplay make up for it. A bigger, bolder, pluralized island fountain-of-youth reimagination of the original with better CGI, blockbuster self-awareness, cast, setting, and biological accuracy correcting its biggest flaw, Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid is an exhilarating jungle snake feature that’s the best of its series & realism-snake blockbusters.

Official CLC Score: 7.5/10