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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Anaconda
Anaconda
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 24, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

There are bad movies that make you angry for wasting your time, bad movies that simply leave you indifferent and bad movies that are so silly that you might laugh once or twice. "Anaconda" falls into the last catagory. The film has a couple of decent performances, but the visual effects are sometimes funny enough to take the audience's interest away from the movie.

The "plot" revolves around a group of documentary filmmakers who venture into the Amazon to find a lost tribe. They include Terri, the filmmaker(Jennifer Lopez), Danny, the cameraman(Ice Cube), Dr. Steven Cale(Eric Stoltz) and others. Along the way, they run into a strange hunter(Jon Voight) who is hunting snakes. Big snakes.

The film is an interesting failure, populated with uninteresting characters. The film's performances are all over the place, from Jon Voight's hilariously over-the-top role to Ice Cube's down-to-earth seriousness to Lopez, who doesn't seem to interested in the events taking place. Eric Stoltz gets the luckiest role, after being attacked early on, he sits in a bed for most of the rest of the film. The dialogue is cheesy, but seems to sense how goofy it is.

The film does have remarkably good cinematography by Bill Butler("Jaws"). Other than that, it's a moderately entertaining hour and a half, but there's definitely nothing memorable about it.


The DVD

VIDEO: Tristar has almost always delivered since their first titles, and although there are some little flaws here and there, this is a pretty strong transfer on the whole. The film's jungle surroundings are certainly a pleasure to look at, and they are captured well here, with beautiful colors and crisp images.

Well, crisp, but not always sharp. Oddly, images lack clarity and come across as slightly soft on occasion, but this is a rare and not too troublesome problem. Detail is good, and when images are solid they look stunning at times.

Aside from a tiny bit of softness once or twice, the picture has no instances of pixelation or shimmering, and the print used is crystal clear and free of marks or scratches. Good stuff.

SOUND: I would expect an impressive soundtrack from an action movie, and would look for additional detail from a movie like this that takes place in the jungle. Thankfully, both of my expectations were met, and the sound turns out to be the most entertaining part of the horror that it watching a film like this one.

As for the jungle part, the audio does a remarkable job with making the viewer feel as if they are in the middle of that environment, with an impressive amount of subtle detail coming from the surrounds during the quieter sequences. Check out the storm sequence about 10 minutes into the movie for a well-rendered environment with good sound. There are certainly more good scenes, but this is one example.

I liked how all speakers worked together to create a pretty seamless, wide-open environment. The music has an impressively deep, warm quality that fills the listening environment nicely. Action scenes certainly add a bit of intensity, with agressive surround use and solid, strong bass.

Last, but not least, dialogue is clear and easily heard. This is a great, exciting soundtrack for a not-so-great movie.

MENUS:: Basic, non-animated menus with film-themed art.

EXTRAS: Trailer.

Final Thoughts: Bad movie, but very good in the audio/video department.

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