Columbia Pictures, 1997

You better believe that unsubstantiated claims of 20 to 30 meter snakes get substantiated in this movie. Seriously. And the evidence is credible in the same way that Cliffhanger is more or less a documentary about alpine excursions. But the icing on the cake is the movie within a movie. Yeah, the characters are in the Amazon filming the pursuit of a long forgotten tribe: the People of the Mist. But ethnography turns to horror when. . .

Right off the bat I'm thinking whoa! Slow down director Luis Llosa, how are you going to balance all of these elements? With balls to the wall action and a cast as ludicrous as Ludacris himself, that’s how, guy. Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Ice Cube and an early surf-style appearance by the then under appreciated Owen Wilson whose shenanigans (evil shenanigans?) get the krazy crew of a small boat in a. . . er. . . boatload of trouble. Sigh. I haven't even mentioned the snakes. Big ones, little ones, in crowds and going solo during the rainy season; all accompanied by various sorts of grimacing faces and the surly commentary of Voight's Paraguayan snake-hunter personality.

The jungle provides ample opportunities for J-Lo to get her shirt wet and Ice Cube to prove that having street smarts is all it takes to do a little adventuring in the undergrowth. The combination of CG animation and animatronics are not, in my opinion, as stated elsewhere "phony" or "ridiculous", but instead pointed and well-wrought studies of the dietary habits of a complex biological organism that, who knows?, may very well terrorize undiscovered sections of far-off watery places. "It will take your breath away", explains the box's tagline, in complete accordance with the anaconda's method of capture and kill, much the same as another scientifically accurate film about the scorpion (Tail Sting) proffers the fact that "No one can hear them sting." One hand claps for the research abilities of these writing teams.