Running Time: 99 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Format: 1:85:1 enhanced widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Region: 1
MSRP: $9.98

Own It!
Python (2000)

After the box office success of Anaconda it was inevitable that similar movies would pop up. Some had the advantage of sizable budgets, like Deep Blue Sea and Lake Placid, not that they were much the better for it. Nu Image, meanwhile, produced three cheapie flicks, Octopus, Crocodile and Spiders, which premiered on the USA cable network before going to video. A more obvious rip-off was the deadly dull DTV title King Cobra.

Happily -- and surprisingly -- Python proves a tad better than the films listed above. Not that it isn’t low-budget junk; it’s just fun low-budget junk. The plot is negligible (there’s this giant snake, see, and…), but the characterization and acting are better than you’d probably expect. Genre pro Robert Englund ably fills the Mad Scientist slot, while Casper Van Dien provides the film’s sole really bad performance, albeit one so terrible that it’s massively entertaining in its own right.

Again, we’re not talking Lawrence of Arabia. The successes here are modest. Still, I’ll take a cheapo film like this, one that displays a little heart, over multi-million dollar crap like Deep Blue Sea any time.

Image and sound are about par for the course for a low-budget film made within the last few years. Unless you’re expecting something on the order of Jurassic Park you shouldn’t be disappointed.

The disc sports some interesting stuff. Aside from the obligatory trailer -- we also get the film’s ten second teaser spot -- are coming attraction features for The Abyss, Ravenous and Lake Placid. There are Cast & Director bios, a two and a half minute montage of outtakes and some basic encyclopedia-type info on pythons presented over stills from the movie. (It should be noted that our star here is not actually a python, but instead a mutant snake hybrid.)

The disc’s big gun is an amusing commentary by the film’s director, effects supervisor and the fellow who did the CGI work. Especially interesting is that everyone feels the film is less than it could have been, climaxing when the director and the CGI guy start hostilely pointing fingers at each other. Things become so heated that the track goes dead for a couple of seconds, apparently halted until the participants could cool down a bit.

Normally I’d give this a thumbs up as a purchase for the B-Movie fan. However, Fox has inexplicably given the disc a higher than normal price. (Watch for the MSRP to be lowered at some point.) Therefore this will probably work better as a rental for all but the most hard-core giant monster buff. (As Ken predicted, the MSRP is now $9.98, down from $34.98! -ed.)

Ken Begg, 9/19/2001