Jennifer Lopez has a number of different, high-profile productions set to hit screens over the next few years. She’s still able to crank these out on a regular basis and is easily one of the most recognizable talents in all of Hollywood. And with so many projects coming out recently, it can be easy to forget movies from earlier in her career. But one of them is currently hitting Netflix and is definitely worth checking back in on for some of the scares and the unintentional comedy factor as well. That’s right, Anaconda is hitting the streamer today (February 1st) and this is, for sure, one you’re going to want to queue up.
Want to feel old? Anaconda is about a quarter-century old at this point, first hitting screens all the way back in 1997. The movie’s title tells you a lot about what’s happening here with a film crew set to embark on an ill-fated trip down the Amazon River. They have a goal of making a documentary about a long-lost tribe. But since the flick isn’t called Shirishamas tribe, we know the group is about to come across one of the biggest snakes ever created by special effects professionals. Jennifer Lopez plays the director Terri Flores who is overseeing the film crew on the expedition. Things start going south pretty quickly when they pick up a mysterious dude along the way who seems to be something of a snake lover. This should have sent up alarm bells immediately. But alas, the boat voyage moves along.
As Jennifer Lopez and company get further down the river, things turn more and more ominous. There are signs that a massive anaconda has been at work on others in the region with more than a few signs that this thing is as dangerous as they come. And then they start losing bodies to the snake itself as it begins to pick off members of the crew. There are even more sinister elements than just the massive snake involved here too, which does give the film something of some faux suspense. But in terms of a thriller, it mostly holds up along these lines even all these years later.
In addition to Jennifer Lopez, Anaconda does have a number of other notables as part of the cast. The rest of the documentary film crew is rounded out with folks like Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson, Kari Wuhrer, and Jonathan Hyde. And then there’s Jon Voight who plays the psycho on the hunt for the actual anaconda. Over the course of the movie, it’s tough to tell who is more dangerous, his character or the snake itself. And Danny Trejo makes an appearance as well.
All things considered, Jennifer Lopez and company had a box office success on their hands with this one. At the time, it was a popular offering mostly on the back of the strong cast and the silly premise. The movie ended up scoring $137 million in ticket sales on its $45 million budget, just another reason to catch it on Netflix. That’s probably a bit below expectation, but still very much a win. Oh, and it ended up spawning a whole bunch of sequels though Jennifer Lopez wasn’t involved in any of those. They included Anaconda: The Hunt for Blood Orchid, Offspring, Trail of Blood, and then a totally realistic crossover with the Lake Placid franchise.
Though it was something of a hit in terms of dollars, critics didn’t see it that way at all. The Jennifer Lopez film scored just 37% on Rotten Tomatoes which, frankly, feels a little bit high coming from this crowd. I think we can all agree the movie wasn’t exactly made for film aficionados, but that was never really the point anyway. There’s still some fun to be had here and Netflix understands as much.
Next up for Jennifer Lopez is Marry Me in which she’ll team back up with Owen Wilson. In this one, she plays a popular pop singer (not a stretch) who has her upcoming marriage fall apart before they get to the alter. Instead, she accidentally proposes to Wilson’s character during a concert and you have another scenario that could only be conjured in a Hollywood pitch room. Before that comes out, be sure to check out Anaconda on Netflix.