[box cover]


The day our screener copy of Python arrived, we were in the process of cleaning out the screening room here at The DVD Journal, tossing out the monumental pile of beer cans, emptying the ashtrays, and fishing the remote controls out from under the sofa cushions. At first glance, we were sorely tempted to add this new horror flick from UFO and Twentieth Century Fox to the mound of outgoing garbage. What possible enjoyment value could there be in a story about a giant mutant creature unleashed upon a helpless town? Haven't we seen this movie already (Godzilla, King Kong, and any number of B-movies from the '50s and '60s)? Nor did Python's cast listing impress us much, serving more as a "Who's Who of Washed-Up Actors" than an indication of star power. (Jenny McCarthy, Casper Van Dien, former movie boogeyman Robert Englund, and Wil Wheaton — still best known as Star Trek's Wesley Crusher — all add up to a smorgasbord of DEEP HURTING.) And the blurb on the back of the box seemed to say it all: "If you enjoyed movies like Lake Placid and Anaconda, you'll eat up Python!" (We despised both of those flicks, in case you wondered.) So it was with much trepidation and trembling hands that we placed the disc into the load tray, and we got pretty much what we expected — a movie mired in clichés and goofiness. The story opens, for instance, with a lesbian love scene that has absolutely no relevance to the rest of the film, and is clearly included only so horny teenage boys will buy the disc and play the scene over and over — not exactly an indication of cinematic greatness. (Although adding no narrative value to the story, the scene does contain a great line, uttered by one of the ladies while in the throes of passion: "I know you sleep with guys sometimes, but I hope I'm the only girl!") This isn't the screenplay's only howlingly funny moment — the characters in Python actually say things like "You have no idea what you're up against!" and "My God, what have we unleashed upon our poor defenseless town?" repeatedly over the movie's 100-minute running time. The acting is consistently bland, the jokes fall flat, and, when the giant snake finally appears, the CGI effects used to create it look like they were generated on a Commodore 64. However (and we hate to admit this), there's something about this goofy little flick that held us completely spellbound. Somehow this film, dominated as it is by clichés and a screenplay that borders on both incompetent and incoherent, actually manages to be compulsively watchable. The production has an amiable, eager-to-please tone about it, as though the cast and crew were working more for their own amusement than the entertainment of others, and this carefree attitude permeates every frame. It's a good thing too, because without it, this film would probably be insufferable. The movie is still horrendous, you understand, but it's not necessarily a bad kind of horrendous, provided you know what to expect. Python manages the neat trick of being a "good" bad movie, and it's probably worth a rental for fans of that sort of thing. Fox's DVD contains a handful of special features, though nothing extraordinary — two theatrical trailers (odd since the film never had a theatrical release), a collection of outtakes and bloopers, a "tutorial" on real pythons and their behavior, and a number of textual supplements. Handsome anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1), Dolby Digital 5.1. Keep-case.
—Joe Barlow