Plot: What’s it about?
A documentary crew has been dispatched to the dangerous region of the Amazon, where it hopes to uncover a certain tribe, one hidden within the depths of the jungles. The crew includes director Terri (Jennifer Lopez), resident anthropologist Steve (Eric Stoltz), uptight host Warren (Jonathan Hyde), cameraman Danny (Ice Cube), producer Denise (Kari Wuhrer), and soundman Gary (Owen Wilson), quite a colorful assortment, to be sure. The crew goes through some spats, but remains on course and gets some terrific footage, though when they stop to assist a stranded traveler, things take a turn for the worse. The man is Paul Sarone (Jon Voight), a hunter who claims to know the location of the hidden tribe, but insists a different course needs to be taken, as opposed to the one in the crew’s plans. After he stages an “accident” that confines Steve to his bed, he starts to take over the expedition, but his intentions have nothing to do with the tribe, instead he plans to hunt a most dangerous creature. Can the crew manage to survive this ordeal, or will Sarone’s ambition wind up getting them all killed?
I never even dreamed we’d have a Superbit edition of Anaconda, but I have to admit, I am very pleased it has been released as such. Of course, I’d rather have the long rumored Special Edition, but as this version offers mammoth improvements in video & audio over the prior disc, I think fans will be satisfied, though we still want that Special Edition. I know what you’re thinking, Anaconda is a bad movie, with hammy performances, a paper thin storyline, and terrible special effects, so why I am pleased to see it given the Superbit treatment? I guess I just love bad movies, as I found Anaconda to be loads of fun, one of those “so bad, its hilarious” kind of pictures. Jon Voight plunges off the deep end in a downright riotous effort, while Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, and others in a fairly star laden supporting cast back him up. And who could leave out the visual effects, some of which look ok, but the computer animation is laughable, which means even more humor and by turn, an even more fun experience. If you can appreciate bad movies, I recommend Anaconda highly, especially in this terrific new Superbit edition release.
I can’t help but crack up whenever I think of Jon Voight’s work in Anaconda, as it ranks as one of the most over the top efforts of all time. He is able to turn in the kind of performance seen in those classic 1950s B movies, which is bad news for some audiences, but in a movie like Anaconda, I think its excellent news. His appearance is as slimy and seedy as the character’s persona, which given the role he has here, that’s pretty slimy indeed. Voight opted to use one of the worst accents I’ve heard outside of Costner in Thirteen Days, one which has elements of several dialects, but never settles on just one. He drops it and picks it up again throughout, kicking even more humor into the film’s central villain. His line delivery is flat out hilarious also, a real throwback to the days of B movie heaven. Other films with Voight include Midnight Cowboy, Mission: Impossible, The Champ, and Catch-22. The cast also includes Jennifer Lopez (Enough, The Wedding Planner), Ice Cube (Friday, All About the Benjamins), Owen Wilson (Meet the Parents, Behind Enemy Lines), Eric Stoltz (Pulp Fiction, Singles), and Kari Wuhrer (Eight Legged Freaks, Poison).
Video: How does it look?
Anaconda is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As the original release was a single layer disc, the extra room of this dual layer edition allows for improvements, not to mention the maximum bit focus of the Superbit’s gameplan. The same print flaws as before remain intact, so some of the darker scenes show some grain, but aside from that, this is a great looking visual presentation. The usual Superbit trademark improvements are back, with a sharper overall image, clearer image depth, and better visible detail, especially when it comes to small or complex touches. I wouldn’t call this a night and day instance, but if you’re watching it on decent equipment, you should notice the improvements, without question.
Audio: How does it sound?
As with all the Superbit releases, this one contains dual 5.1 soundtracks in Dolby Digital & DTS, so this cheese has never sounded so good. The original release had a great audio mix, but this is a better overall experience, as the DTS track opens things a little more, including some tighter bass and more refined use of the surrounds. But in truth, both tracks are top notch and will showcase your system well, though not quite to reference levels. Even so, another superb outing from Columbia’s wonderful Superbit collection. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.