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    How was this review?

    Right On
    Pretty Close
    Hit & Miss
    Has Problems
    Way Off
    Stars:Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, Eric Stoltz
    I originally didn't have any desire to see Anaconda. The trailers and commercials didn't impress me at all. But then I read Roger Ebert's review of the movie, which he gave three-and-a-half stars and called "A superior action thriller." so I thought, "Hey, this movie could be good." Then Kevin called and asked if I wanted to go see Anaconda, so I said, "Sure." If you're good at reading in-between the lines (or if you saw the score above), you know what I think of this movie.

    Anaconda suffers from some major, MAJOR flaws in acting, writing, continuity, logic, physics, etc. etc. You know you got ripped off when the movie starts with a piece of text describing the antagonist. Here, we see so many corny lines, gross incompetence in firearms, a nasty case of Bad-Guy-Won't-Die, and the dreaded Freakin' Macintosh Syndrome. These errors range from something only I would pick up to blatant and pathetic. But where to start? Let's begin with my most common complaint in movies.

    It wasn't shown for long, but its presence was a taste of patheticity to come. Yes, I'm referring to the Freakin' Macintosh. If you've read any of my other reviews, you know how much I hate the flagrant use of Mac's in movies. Apple should stop spending money on the pollution of movies and develop a decent computer!

    My other major complaint in movies (and TV shows and the major news organizations and the Associated Press) is Firearm Incompetence. Jon Voight plays a cliche twitchy bad guy in this movie, and he carries around a 30.06 rifle. Bolt action. Six round magazine. It's bad enough that the gun has absolutely no recoil. He can hold it in one hand and pull the trigger without the slightest jolt. Hell, even blanks kick a little (very little.) It's almost forgivable that it never runs out of ammo. But I about walked out of the theater when Jennifer Lopez fired three consecutive shots from the rifle without using the bolt! This is not a semi-auto, my friends. You have to pull back the bolt to eject the spent round and push it forward again to re-chamber a fresh round. She didn't, but the gun still fired! Come to think of it, I never did see a muzzle flash... FURTHERMORE, when someone actually did work the action, you hear a sound like a shotgun pump! A bolt-action does a chk-chk-chk-chk as the bolt is pulled up, back, forward, and down. We only hear a chk-chk. How pathetic. Do these people know anything about guns? Maybe I should start renting myself out as a firearms technical analyst for Hollywood so the rest of us aren't insulted by this ignorance.

    Moving right along now, the next stop is Special Effects. Ebert loved the special effects. He said they were "realistic." I'm sorry, Roger, but you should try watching movies without your face in a bucket of popcorn. The computer-generated effects stuck out like a sore thumb. I've seen some good CG, like in Dragonheart, but there are way too many weak efforts like this. And then, to top it all off, we get the Stupid Shot of this movie. You see, the anaconda swallows this surfer guy (what was up with his nose, anyway?) and then swims off. You see the guy's face through the snake's skin. It was supposed to be scary, I guess, but the audience laughed at that because it was so pathetic.

    Now that I've addressed the superficial problems, it's time to get to the real meat (so to speak). Why-oh-why do all "horror" movies feel obligated to give the "through the eyes of the monster" camera angle? Anaconda uses them like they were going out of style (if only they would). You can see them coming. An unimportant character is diligently (and very slowly) working on something, blind to the rest of the world. Then, sneaking up from behind, we see through the eyes of the monster. By the way, why do all the monsters sneak up from behind? If you're a big ugly snake who wouldn't have any problem swallowing a weakly human, why do the stealth thing? Oh, that's right, it's scary. Give me a break.

    Writing. You would expect a guy like Ice Cube to have cool, smart-ass, Will-Smith-in-Independence-Day type remarks. But no. He's got corny, lame lines. The Brit has a couple decent lines, but ones you would expect from such a stereotypical character. Additionally, Anaconda seems to contain bits and pieces from all other horror movies. You see some parts reminiscent of a good movies like Jaws and Alien, but then that's followed up with crap that looks like it came out of Piranha and Kingdom of the Spiders.

    Continuity. How could a guy who's taken two shots to the head with a golf club and a knife in the back be able to swim ahead of Our Heros, who are in a BOAT mind you, in time to hit Ice Cube in the face with a stick in a big manufacturing plant of some sort? How could an explosion with enough power to tear apart a concrete smokestack barely singe the snake inside it? And then, how come that snake didn't go underwater to drown the flames covering him? That explosion I just mentioned was set off when Ice Cube blew up the barrels of petrol in the manufacturing plant. (What is a big ol' manufacturing plant doing in such a remote area, anyway?) After the building blew up, Ice Cube said something like "Now lets go get the gas out of the plant so we can get out of here." At about the same time, a big-ass tree falls on the middle of the boat (which was stuck). A few minutes later, the tree is gone, but thankfully it knocked the boat free. What a nice tree.

    So what's the moral of the story? Don't listen to Roger Ebert. Avoid Anaconda at all costs. Besides, I just told you how it ended. :)

    Comments? E-mail movies@aldebaran.net