If you haven’t noticed by now, I do love a good natural horror movie. I don’t know why, but those have always been some of my favorite movies to watch. However, just because I love these movies, doesn’t mean I can’t be critical of them, especially when they get their facts wrong. Sometimes, it is a little thing that is not that big of a deal. But sometimes it can be something so glaringly obvious, that it can almost ruin the entire movie. That actually happened with today’s movie, Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid, as one simple fact just about killed the enjoyment for me.
The plot: Dr. Jack Byron has managed to convince the board of Manhattan pharmaceutical company to fund an expedition to locate a flower known as the Blood Orchid, as it may hold the key to a man made fountain of youth. When Jack and his team arrive in Borneo, they find out that none of the charter companies will risk sending a boat upriver until after the rainy season. They finally find a local captain, Bill Johnson, who agrees to take them upriver for a steep price. As they are traveling along the river, Bill originally wants to take a safer route to where they are going but Jack, not wanting to waste any time getting to the flowers, bribes Bill with more money if he will take a quicker, but more dangerous route. The next day, the boat winds up caught in a current and going over a waterfall, destroying the boat and forcing everyone (Bill, his first-mate Tran, Jack, his teammates Sam Rogers, Dr. Ben Douglas, and Cole Burris, and board members Gail Stern and Gordon Mitchell) to wade through the river towards dry land. As they are walking through the river, Ben is attacked and killed by an anaconda. After leaving the river, Bill explains that was the largest snake he had ever seen and it wouldn’t bother them anymore. Bill uses a sat-phone to contact a friend of his, John Livingston, and asks him to pick them up further down the river, despite the protests from Jack that the continue with the expedition. While they march across the jungle to meet with Livingston, Livingston winds up being attacked by an anaconda and his boat ends up crashing and exploding. Bill in the others arrive at the crash site and search for anything they can use, then continue on towards a nearby village. When they get to the village, they discover not just that it is abandoned, but the body of a large anaconda, with the remains of a human inside its disemboweled stomach. Jack theorizes that the snakes have grown this large because of the Blood Orchids, which have become part of the food chain, and wants to keep looking for them, but the others decide to build a raft and get out of there. As Gordon is taking a break, he discovers a sat-phone and gun that Jack had found in the wreckage of Livingston’s boat. Jack talks to Gordon and tries to convince him to continue the expedition, but when Gordon presents Jack with what he found, Jack uses a poisonous spider to paralyze Gordon and leave him for dead. As everyone is getting ready to leave, Gail finds Gordon and notices the spider bite. As she goes to get help, an anaconda crawls down from the rafters of the hut he is in and proceeds to eat him. Bill sets the hut on fire and during the commotion, Jack steals the raft and continues towards the orchids. Bill and the others decide to proceed towards the orchids and get the raft back but as they are cutting through the jungle, they wind up falling into a cave. Cole and Tran get separated from the others and Tran winds up being killed by an anaconda. Cole catches up to the others with a second anaconda right behind him but Sam manages to cut its head off with a machete. Suddenly, another anaconda attacks Cole and drags him into the jungle. Bill and the others chase after him and find him wrapped in the snake’s coils but Bill throws his knife into the snake’s head, killing the snake and saving Cole. The group eventually find the raft but as they try to leave, Jack shows up and shoots Bill in the arm. He then forces everyone to follow him to where the flowers are growing on the side of a cliff over a pit where a large group of anacondas are gathered in a mating ball. Jack has Sam use a log to cross over to the flowers and collect some samples but as she threatens to drop the bag unless Jack lets them go, the log breaks and she finds herself suspended over the pit by some vines. While Bill, Gail, and Cole try to help Sam, Jack goes after the backpack, but the spider he had used to paralyze Gordon has managed to escape it’s jar and ends up biting him, causing his paralyzed body to fall into the mass of snakes. One of the snakes notices the others and begins climbing up the pit towards them but Bill tricks it into biting a fuel container and Cole shoots it with a flare, catching the snake on fire and causing the cliff to cave in and bury the orchids and snakes in the pit. Bill, Sam, Cole, and Gail make it back to the raft and proceed to sail back down the river towards safety.
Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid was panned by the critics, earning only a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While Roger Ebert did like the acting of Matthew Marsden (Jack), most critics seemed to criticize two main things; the unrealistic CGI and the fact that anacondas are not native to Borneo. The audiences didn’t seem to like it much either as it would only make over $70 million worldwide, which was a little over half of what the previous film made. The movie was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Sequel but would lose to Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.
Seriously, if they had called the movie Pythons instead of Anacondas or changed the location of where they were going, it would have been a lot better. The acting was decent with Matthew Marsden really doing a decent job of being the “accomplishing my goal no matter who stands in my way” type of bad guy. Johnny Messner was also good as Bill and but everyone else was rather ho-hum. The story was good, except for my one major gripe. Seriously, you would think they could have done a little fact checking for this. Honestly, I thought the CGI was almost as good as the original movie, certainly better than some other movies I had seen during the same time. To be honest, the whole anacondas not living in Borneo really kept me from enjoying this movie, even to this day it still irritates me. So it is a decent sequel and if you can get past that one obstacle, you might like it.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5