Movies — Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid (PG-13)

Big, horny, cartoony CGI snakes make a meal of several greedy explorers on the search for a rare flower that holds the secret to eternal youth and life everlasting (or, at least, an extra decade of youth and a few dozen or so years more of life) in Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid.

What’s in an “S”? Well, minus the S you have Anaconda—the campily funny 1997 bill-payer starring Jennifer Lopez (pre-fame), Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz and Owen Wilson. It’s the sort of movie that’s bad, to be sure, but funny now because it serves about the same endearingly embarrassing role in the filmographies of these stars as naked baby pictures do in the scrapbook of your life.

Now, put in the “S” in and you have Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid, a movie starring almost no one with any kind of a real career and therefore minus any of the famous-people-making-asses-of-themselves glee of that first movie. 

So, in case you wondered, yes, individual letters do matter.

This time around, nobody’s looking for snakes; these scaly giants just get in the way of a little pharmaceutical industry-inspired field trip. Jack (Matthew Marsden) and Gordon (Morris Chestnut) think they’ve found a flower that holds the chemical secrets to longer, healthier life but, alas, that flower only blooms once every seven years deep in the jungle of Borneo. So the men take on a crew including all the necessary supplies (optimistic girl, bitchy girl, comic relief character, pain-in-the-ass we-don’t-so-much-care-when-he-dies character). They head up a treacherous river, made all the more perilous to traverse thanks to rainy-season floods. Naturally, stuff starts to go wrong—they can’t get cell phone reception, their boat capsizes, their doctor gets eaten.

Eventually, apropos of very little, the group realizes that they are in mortal danger from a species of giant anacondas that has grown large and strong thanks to the effects of the Blood Orchid and is currently in heat.

What will happen? Will the group be able to find their flower and cash in on promised millions? Or will they wind up as the slowly digesting dinner of a randy snake?

You know, it’s really quite sad when a movie can’t even find the humor in conversations about the fact that one of the crew members has been eaten. I mean, sure, I laughed when the completely death-worthy annoying first snake victim went to his reptilian grave. But the deaths, splashy and noisy and bad-special-effects-masking as they were, really began to lose their sense of whimsy after that initial snake encounter.

Anacondas should have gone the way of camp. And honestly, when you start off with your crew members coupling and getting it on like cast mates of The Real World why would you hold back, why would you play the serious card?

- Amy Diaz

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