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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.


Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris


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Campy, creepy, crawly fun

By BILLY NORRIS
Published August 30, 2004

Photo
[Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures]
Johnny Messner stars as a former Special Forces boat captain in Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid.

Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

RATING: PG-13

SUMMARY: A team of researchers heads deep into the jungles of Borneo in search of the blood orchid, a rare flower that contains a substance that can prolong life. The discovery has the potential to make them all billionaires, but they have just two weeks to find the flower or they will have to wait another seven years for its next blooming cycle. It is rainy season in Borneo and a dangerous time to travel the river that leads to their destination. Their guide is a reluctant, yet daring, former Special Forces boat captain (Johnny Messner) who warns them of the perils, but silences his doubts when they pay him $50,000 for the expedition. Of course, it so happens that the mating season for the largest and deadliest snake known to man, the anaconda, is upon them. As the team dramatically dwindles because of deadly snake encounters, it must re-evaluate its intentions. The remaining members want to escape, with the exception of team leader Dr. Jack Byron (Matthew Marsden), whose greed clouds his judgment. He wants the biggest medical breakthrough in history at any cost.

MY VIEW: A sequel to the 1997 release Anaconda, this film doesn't pick up where the first one left off. It does start with a sense of dejavu and a feeling that the next 90 minutes are going to seem dreadfully long. Instead, it took a lighter and more comedic approach to the plot outlined by its predecessor. I had a genuinely good time watching this film. It reminds me of a haunted house at Halloween: You know things are going to jump out at you, but you still enjoy it and allow yourself to be "scared" and thoroughly entertained by the experience. This was one of those frightfully fun films that keeps the laughs rolling and the action moving. This is what a B movie is all about.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Perfect for a weekend outing with a big group, this one is sure to make some in the group squirm while others will laugh.

GRADE: A solid B!

Billy Norris, 16, is in 11th grade at Seminole High, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

[Last modified August 27, 2004, 14:20:08]

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  • Summertime samplings
  • Campy, creepy, crawly fun
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