Anaconda is a 1997 monster movie with an All-Star Cast ranging from Owen Wilson to Jon Voight to Jennifer Lopez to Ice Cube on the hunt (in their own various ways) for the eponymous giant snake. Largely notable for Jon Voight as Paul Sarone, chewing up scenery with a far greater appetite than any serpent could muster. Frank Welker did the titular beast's vocal effects.
There were three sequels which oddly enough Arc Welded itself across three movies:
- Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004): Which had a company sending a team into Borneo to find a flower that was supposedly the fountain of youth. Not surprisingly they have to contend with the numerous anacondas to get it.
- Anaconda 3: The Offspring (2008): In which one of the anacondas was captured and experimented on to find out its longevity. It escapes, breaks out its mate and goes on a rampage (made more deadly due to the fact that these anacondas have spear tails from the experiments... no we're not making that up) some mercenaries are sent to get it back. Notable for starring David Hasselhoff.
- Anacondas: Trail of Blood (2009): Which continues where 3 left off. The offspring of the previous anaconda is found and used to help make the flower. The anaconda breaks out once again while the employer from the last movie sends more mercenaries after the scientist who took the anaconda for his own to get the fountain of youth serum. All the while a previous character from the last movie is looking to destroy it. Yeah its just as confusing and convoluted as it sounds. Oh, and the snake can regenerate in this one.
The latter two movies were direct-to-video, and all three sequels are considered worse than the original. A fourth sequel (Lake Placid Vs Anaconda), a crossover with Lake Placid, was released in 2015.
"Starred" in a RiffTrax Live show on October 30, 2014.
Has nothing to do with the Nicki Minaj song.
Anaconda provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Zig-zagged all the way to Hell and back. While Sarone is Obviously Evil, the movie plays with the question of whether he's this or Faux Affably Evil. His Graceful Loser wink near the end doesn't clear matters, either.
- Artistic License Biology: Oh so very much, all in the name of the Rule of Scary. Among other things:
- Anacondas are found in South America, not Borneo (on the other side of the world).
- Anacondas get huge, but they spend the majority of their time in the water, only going on land if necessary. Water provides the buoyancy to allow them to grow massive (and never to the size of the snakes in the film, but the entire point is that these are special species that do. Problem is, they'd die if they tried to be arboreal.)
- Its worth noting that their have actually been reports and claims of giant anacondas going back to the colonial times, which is what the film is probably based on. These giant anacondas are classed as cryptids and are thought to either be oversized green anacondas or a new species entirely. There is at least one species of prehistoric snake which did grow that large, Titanoboa, but it went extinct about 58 million years ago.
- They don't move at the speed of a cheetah in chase. They can strike that fast, but not chase things that fast, even in water.
- They don't predominantly prey on humans (though it has happened), especially after encountering life-threatening resistance each time.
- They don't eat multiple preys the size of a human being one after the other. After consuming a meal like that (which can take hours), the snake will find a secure location where it will remain immobile for months to digest its food. (Though the film may be playing that straight since there's more than one anaconda.)
- They hiss, but they don't squeal/roar.
- They certainly don't regurgitate their prey just so they can hunt again out of sheer sadism. They sometimes do this for safety purposes, such as when they're threatened by a predator and they can't afford to be lethargic by having such a big meal in their stomach, or if they find their meal is too big to eat. .
- The faces of the movie anacondas look more like the faces of vipers and other poisonous snakes than actual anacondas or other pythons because the former look more intimidating.
- The Amazon: Despite its authentic Portuguese cursing ("filho da..."), infamous for its upward waterfall although it could be an optical illusion. However, the whole waterfall thing is a crock.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Danny Trejo's nameless poacher in the opening is attacked by an Anaconda intent on eating him. When it corners him at the top of the boat's mast, he shoots himself to prevent it from digesting him alive.
- Big Bad Ensemble: The Anaconda would be the most logical choice as the main villain and kills the most people, but Sarone manipulated everyone to capture the snake and murdered a fair number of people for profit himself. Also, the snake is just an animal acting according to its nature (or at least nature as it exists in the film), and is not truly evil.
- Big Damn Heroes: The team leader is knocked unconscious by a poisonous wasp near the beginning of the film and remains in bed for much of the remainder. He eventually reappears to fight off Paul Sarone, who was about to kill the others for costing him the Anaconda's prize by killing it.
- Black Dude Dies First: Inverted. The Token Black guy is one of only 3 people to survive.
- British Stuffiness: Westridge is a classic 'nineties movie Brit — posh, stuffy, slightly snide and faintly ridiculous.
- Celebrity Paradox: An Ice Cube song is heard on the radio.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Sarone set up one of his partners to die (as seen in the prologue, but we don't learn this til later), then cheerfully betrays his other original partner. The people on the boat? Them, too.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The Anaconda's killing method is downright horrific and Sarone's Breaking Speech hurts matters; Snakes Are Evil is certainly at play here. Dying at its hands according to one expert involves being constricted by the snake's coils so hard that eventually your bones break and your veins burst. That's if you're lucky. You might also survive, only to be Eaten Alive afterwards, to be slowly digested or spit out again.
- Daylight Horror: In the second half of the movie, the Anaconda repeatedly attacks in broad daylight, devouring still-living people whole.
- Dead Star Walking: An odd variation. Despite Eric Stoltz getting fourth billing and (at least at the time of release) being the movie's best-known actor after Jon Voight, Steven gets taken out of action fairly early on, and while he technically survives until the end, he has so little impact on the rest of the plot that he might as well have been killed. Unless you count the aforementioned Big Damn Heroes moment. Sarone would have killed the last two surviving members of the film crew otherwise.
- Determinator: Paul Sarone has one objective on his mind: capture an Anaconda and sell it to a rich buyer. He'll do anything and sacrifice anyone to achieve that goal, even after he's presumed dead.
- Didn't Think This Through: Even if Sarone had caught the snake there was no way he could have kept it alive and transported it.
- Due to the Dead: Subverted. Sarone was a former priest, so he holds a eulogy for a recently deceased crew member after the Anaconda devoured him in front of everyone. However, his prayer is so half-hearted and insincere that he just comes off as a prick instead, especially since Sarone is directly responsible for the guy's death and his weeping girlfriend is sitting right next to him.
- Dwindling Party: The cast gets picked off by the Anaconda one by one. It turns out that Sarone had set this up from the start; the crew were his bait for the snake all along.
- Eaten Alive: Rather contrary to how real Anacondas behave, the one in this film seems to eat its prey still living after constricting them for a short while. One of the victims even gets spit out and has just enough energy left to wink at the heroine.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Sarone has no issues killing women.
- Evil Poacher: Paul Sarone is a Paraguayan former priest who decided to become a snake poacher in the Amazon instead, capturing them for rich clients. It's revealed that he's been manipulating the whole crew from the beginning and was using them to capture the Anaconda.
- Face Death with Dignity: Subverted. The tied-up Sarone is about to be murdered by a vengeful Denise because he let the Anaconda eat her boyfriend, and he seems willing to accept his impending death and gives her some advice on never looking your victim in the eye. He's just using it to catch her off-guard and strangle her with his thighs.
- Fanservice: Very early on in the movie, there is a scene of Jennifer Lopez in a see-through slip with nothing on underneath.
- Faux Affably Evil: Sarone can be very personable when it suits his purpose.
- For the Evulz: The opening scroll implies that the Anaconda itself is sadistic, as it regurgitates its prey just for the pleasure of hunting and killing something again. It actually does this in the climax with one unlucky guy, and the victim is still alive after having been devoured.
- Graceful Loser: Oddly, Sarone after he's been eaten. He engages in some friendly Gallows Humor when the anaconda regurgitates him for a moment, winking at the protagonists.
- Greed: Sarone wants to take the Anaconda alive so he can sell it and he doesn't care how many people have to die for him to capture it.
- Hazardous Water: The Amazon water is downright lethal; besides a giant man-eating reptile making it hazardous to even move in, the characters also mention various other nasties that could attack a swimmer like parasitic fish and poisonous wasps.Gary: There's something down there.
Sarone: I know.
Gary: No, I really mean it.
Sarone: I really mean it too.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Westridge distracts the Anaconda, so Terri and Danny can get back to the boat safely.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: After Sarone tries to feed a bunch of people to the biggest Anaconda to capture it, the Anaconda escapes from its restraints and pursues him instead, eating him whole.
- Honey Trap: Terri tries one of these on the manipulative Sarone, who by then has pretty much taken over the whole expedition. Double Subverted, as it's so obvious (she has shown nothing but contempt for him up to that point) that Sarone knows immediately that they're trying to distract him to knock him out. He catches them and kisses her anyway, but gets knocked out by a second guy he didn't foresee.
- Impending Doom P.O.V.:
- Played straight in the opening, with the Anaconda pursuing Danny Trejo's nameless character around his boat shown from its own POV.
- Played with in a later scene, as the looming creature coming after Gary Dixon and Denise Kalberg turns out to be a wild boar, not the snake. She'd turn up later.
- Instant Drama, Just Add Tracheotomy: The team leader puts on some scuba gear and gets in the water to fix the motor, but is stung by a poisonous wasp which blocks his throat. He's quickly hoisted back on board and saved by Sarone, who performs an improptu tracheotomy. It's later revealed that he staged the entire incident to manipulate the crew to follow him to the Anaconda's feeding grounds and serve as bait.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Westridge. He may be an ass when it comes to shooting a documentary, he's also very protective of the crew.
- Just Desserts: Paul Sarone gets eaten by the same Anaconda that he was hunting for most of the movie, and to make it even more karmic this is right after a failed attempt to feed two of the heroes to the giant snake.
- Kill It with Fire: In the climax, they try to kill the largest Anaconda by setting it on fire after it's trapped in a factory chimney. This ends in a bit of Infernal Retaliation as it still goes after them while it's on fire before it slinks away in the water. Even that doesn't kill it, and it takes a pick-axe to the skull for the Anaconda to ultimately die.
- Large Ham: Jon Voight. Doubles up with Evil Is Hammy.
- MacGuffin: The objective of the expedition is to film a documentary about a native tribe. They're not seen until the very end, and are about as interchangeable as a pot of gold.
- Male Gaze: Sarone's, er, lustful?, glances at Terri will freeze your blood. He's that creepy.
- Mouth Cam: Sarone eventually meets his end to one of these as the Anaconda eats him alive.
- Murderous Thighs: Sarone provides one of the rare male examples of this trope, showing that he and the anaconda are Not So Different.
- The Mutiny: The crew eventually figures out what Sarone's up to. He quickly nips this in the bud by presenting a gun and later bitchslapping Westridge around when he shows even a hint of insubordination, but he is successfully overthrown in a later attempt.
- Neck Snap: Bizarrely, the Anaconda uses this on its first victim.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: When the crew successfully knocks out Sarone, they suggest throwing him in the river and leaving him to die. Terri, however, suggests they just tie him up. Leading up to Denise who, when about to execute a tied up Sarone, supplies him with the knife to escape when he gets the drop on her and kills her.
- The '90s: Painfully apparent with female cast members' looks: dark plum lip-stick combined with overly-pale foundation, dry, frizzy hair (dyed red hair with a blonde fringe a la Geri Halliwell), big blousey shirts and shorts etc.
- Noisy Nature: The Anaconda on occasion hisses, but if injured or in pursuit of our heroes, it will squeal and wail.
- Nothing Is Scarier: In the opening, the Anaconda attacks a nameless poacher who was piloting a boat full of captured animals before he kills himself. When the expedition later runs into his boat, it's completely empty with not a sign of life. They investigate, only for nothing to happen until a guy who got lost is picked off without anyone but Sarone noticing.
- Not So Different: Sarone gives Denise some friendly advice on murder. Then he promptly breaks her neck. His method of execution parallels the other villain of the film. Moreso, they're both vicious, relentless predators who seem willing to pursue their prey to the ends of the Earth.
- Obviously Evil: Paul Sarone is a creepy, suspicious guy from the start and awfully handy with killing things, but no one suspects him of any ulterior motives until he's already put himself in charge. Jon Voight does everything but cackle with an Evil Laugh or twirl a mustache.Michael J. Nelson from the Rifftrax edition: Does this guy have to grow a handlebar mustache or tie someone to the railroad tracks? He's EVIL!
- River of Insanity: The search for the Amazonian tribe doesn't go quite as planned....
- Sinister Minister: Sarone mentions that he was a priest before he decided to become an Evil Poacher. He claims he wasn't even bad at his job, he just wanted to "explore the world"... which apparently involves catching giant, man-eating snakes and feeding people to them.
- Smug Snake: Paul Sarone. In addition to being a Manipulative Bastard, you could probably count the times that smug smile leaves his face on one hand. If you were missing a thumb.
- Snakes Are Evil: Just in case the audience isn't already unsettled by gigantic snakes trying to eat people, the film asserts that anacondas will regurgitate their still-living prey after swallowing them, just for the malicious pleasure of eating them again. This happens to the human antagonist in the climax."You brought that snake... you brought the devil!"
- Sophisticated as Hell: Westridge's poshness is sort of a mask for a coarse personality, though.
- Super-Persistent Predator: The Anaconda seems to find man the tastiest meal, with its feeding grounds even scattered with the dusty remains of human bone. Sarone proves himself to be just as determined to catch the Anaconda, using anyone he can as bait.
- Tail Slap: Too many examples to count. Suffice it to say, the Anaconda uses its tail as a primary weapon almost constantly.
- Up to Eleven: After having managed to kill the first one, the second anaconda they encounter (at the abondoned factory) is even bigger than the already enormous first snake.
- We Can Rule Together: Sarone suggest to Gary Dixon that they should become partners so he can help him catch the Anaconda. Gary looks forward to getting rich off it and filming the whole thing. He gets bitten for his troubles, with Sarone sacrificing him without a second care.
- With My Hands Tied: The crew ties Sarone's hands behind his back, but they didn't count on his Murderous Thighs.
- Would Hit a Girl: Sarone kills a woman with his Murderous Thighs.
- You and What Army?: During a verbal spat between Danny Rich and Westridge, the latter makes this retort after Cube told him he could kill him without breaking a sweat. Rich just counter-replies with Your Mom.
- Your Mom: Said by Danny Rich to Westridge.
Anaconda 3: The Offspring provides examples of:
- Beware My Stinger Tail: One of the abilities the snakes get from their genetical enhancements.
Anacondas: Trail of Blood provides examples of:
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Humorously subverted by one of the characters. The giant snake is bearing down on him and bullets won't stop it, so be pulls the pins out of two grenades and screams, expecting the snake to swallow him and explode....but it just slithers away instead, leaving him to explode by himself.