A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 243 – Snakes on a Plane

Snakes on a Plane – October 29th, 2010

When I started this project I knew there’d be movies in the collection I didn’t necessarily want to watch but would end up putting on anyhow because that was the whole point. Somehow it escaped my notice at the outset that we owned this movie. I remembered fairly quickly, and I probably could have set up the rules so that I could pick a movie or two to skip over. I considered it. But I didn’t. Because apparently I’m a glutton for punishment. Because I am ophidiophobic. Not as badly as I used to be. I haven’t had any screaming nightmares that make me wake up convinced there are cobras under my bed in at least a year, and over the summer I held two snakes during a library program. Almost wet my pants, but I held them. So I should be able to handle a cheesy movie full of CGI snakes, right?

Right. The reason we’re watching this today and not some other day is because tonight we’re going to Cinematic Titanic Live, and they’re premiering Rattlers. And I thought it would totally be a brilliant idea to fill my day with as many snakes as possible. And between the movie and the show tonight I plan on going down to the marsh to see if I can catch a few garter snakes, just for kicks! Sometimes I’m not very intelligent about this sort of thing. To be honest, holding actual live snakes (a ball python and a corn snake) was easier than watching these computer generated ones on my television. I was doing just fine until the snakes attacked the folks in the bathroom and then I had a full body freak-out.

I admit, I looked away a lot. Like, I had my head under a blanket for whole chunks of the movie. I screamed, I shook, I whimpered. This movie is pure disaster cheese and it’s well aware of it, so it’s full of little jokes like the “snake” setting on the microwave. And I appreciate that. In the middle of my phobic twitching (no, really) it was nice to have the occasional laugh or two. And I did laugh, because let’s face it, there’s a reason this movie became a web-driven cult hit and his name is Samuel L. Jackson and he does a fantastic job keeping the movie fun where it can be. I’d probably have enjoyed him a lot more if I wasn’t so incredibly wigged out by the snakes. It takes a lot of movie to get to the “mother fucking snakes on this mother fucking plane” line, but it’s worth it when it gets there and he’s got plenty of similarly Look How Bad Ass I Am moments to get through until then. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that Julianna Margulies was given a part that’s also pretty badass and fun to watch. Sure, she’s not as snappy as Jackson’s Agent Flynn, but Margulies as Claire, one of the flight attendants, certainly held her own through the barrage of snakes and cheese.

I hesitate to even gloss over the plot of the movie. The plot is incidental. I mean, who really cares why the snakes are on the plane, right? Or why Agent Flynn is on the plane too? Yes, there actually is a plot. It involves a murder with no background whatsoever, witnessed by a surfer named Sean. I think. Honestly, I wasn’t paying a hell of a lot of attention to names and the actor isn’t someone I’m familiar with. Anyhow, of course the goons of the guy who did the murderin’ come after the surfer and the FBI – represented by Samuel L. Jackson – get him to safety long enough to convince him to testify. They run through this whole thing where they have a fake flight for the witness when they’re really commandeering first class in a regular commercial flight, all to keep this guy safe. Unbeknownst to them (but knownst to us), the murderer has set up an elaborate plan involving crate-loads of illegally imported venomous snakes from around the world, boxes of leis saturated in a pheromone that will make the snakes go all attacky, and a timer set to blow the boxes open and wedge the cargo hatch open into the rest of the plane. He claims he’d run through all his other options already, and I’d like to know just how much attempted murder we missed that the only thing left is venomous snakes and pheromones. It’s so wacky, it just might work! The movie’s humor comes through later on when more than one character comments on the bizarre nature of the scheme.

Anyhow, once the snakes are loose the plot takes its rightful place in coach, in those seats with all the engine noise that I used to fly in because they were cheap. The snakes are all over the place, coming through the instrument panels in the cockpit and hiding out in vomit bags. They come down out of the ceiling with the oxygen masks and hide in purses and toilets and generally there are about ten times as many snakes as passengers (and that ratio gets bigger as the snakes start biting people). Our characters are a mixed bag of two honeymooning couples, two unaccompanied minors, a mother and baby, a famous musician and his two assistants, a kick boxer, a spoiled rich girl and her chihuahua, a snotty jackass who doesn’t like babies or dogs and then there’s the flight crew, Agent Flynn and the witness. There were other people, but if we met any of them for any appreciable amount of time I missed it what with all the snakes and my panicked flailing. Some of them make it, some of them don’t. The ones that don’t meet rather gruesome ends, as one might expect. This is not a movie full of surprises other than the billion snakes popping out of luggage compartments and food carts.

Did I enjoy this movie? In places, sure. I enjoyed Margulies and Jackson and I enjoyed the cheese factor and the incredibly self-aware nature of the movie. The whole mood of it is of a movie that knows damn well what it’s doing. It didn’t set out to have an involved plot or to make the situation remotely believable. It’s ridiculous from start to finish and it plays it up in just the right tongue-in-cheek way. But overall, there are just too many fucking snakes. Yes, that’s the point, I know. But I can only handle so much slithering and hissing and striking before I work myself into a panicked little ball in the corner of my bedroom. So yeah, I think I’m very glad to have this one behind me and I am quite certain that I will never ever be watching it again.

October 29, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , ,

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