A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Snakes on a Plane

October 29, 2010

Snakes on a Plane

Some days this movie is difficult. I’ve had a long day at work and this afternoon we didn’t have time to watch a movie before we left home to go watch the premier of a brand new Cinematic Titanic (Rattlers!) in Boston. I’m exhausted and happy after meeting Joel, Josh, Mary Jo, Frank and Trace and watching them make fun of a pretty bad movie. I want only to collapse and sleep for days, but the nature of this project demands that I watch and review a movie before the day is out. We chose to watch Snakes on a Plane because we thought that it would make a nice companion piece to Rattlers. I’m actually enjoying watching it again, but if you’ve read Amanda’s review then you know it was a pretty terrifying chore for her.

This movie was an expensive lesson for New Line Cinema. That lesson was this: the kind of person who enjoys being part of an internet meme is not the sort of person who pays to watch a movie. This movie, or at least the concept of it, was hugely popular in nerdly internet circles for a while. I mean, hell, just Google it. So New Line figured they had a guaranteed hit on their hands. What they didn’t account for was that the internet is entirely populated by pirates and scofflaws. So the movie bombed horribly. Which is too bad, because I actually enjoy this movie.

Snakes on a Plane does just what it says on the tin. It’s about snakes. On a motherfucking plane. It revels in the cheese. There’s a plot here about a mob boss and the surfer/dirtbiker/Redbull spokesperson who has witnessed him murdering a Hawaiian DA. Said mob boss uses the time-worn strategy for killing the potential stoolie and witness of filling a bunch of cargo containers with snakes, spiking the complementary aloha leis with pheromones to drive the snakes into a killing frenzy, then rigging the containers to open when the plane is midway between LAX and Honolulu. The only thing standing between our affable schmoe’s certain death is the steely-eyed glare of Samuel L. Jackson who plays the FBI agent charged with getting him to LA in one piece, and a kind-hearted flight attendant on her last flight before leaving the airline business to pursue her law degree.

What I enjoy about the movie is that it is so unabashedly silly. It’s only very slightly less a spoof of disaster films then Airplane. Indeed there were lines and shots in the movie that were close enough to bits from Airplane that I think it likely that they were intentional homages. The screenwriters took a very straight forward approach in their attitude towards the movie. I’d say they had two tasks to accomplish. First they had to introduce a wide array of easy to understand movie stereotypes to populate the plane. (The unaccompanied minors, the rap star and his body guards, the annoying British prick, the woman with her baby, the randy “mile high” couple, the sickly guy with a fear of flying, the kickboxer, the woman with her dog… all well worn tropes and many from the disaster movie genre.) Then the next task is to find as many gruesome and hilarious ways to kill off people (with snakes) as they could.

The movie would quickly become tired and repetitive if all you had was snakes latched on to jugulars and legs. They’ve got about an hour to fill with constant snake attacks here, and it’s a mighty difficult task to keep that fresh. Go ahead and try to think of every kind of way that somebody could be killed by a snake, and probably that will be somewhere in this movie. Towards the end it does start to feel a little samey, but they do a good job of keeping me entertained for most of the film.

This movie is pure cheese and must be viewed as such. You have to take a kind of joy in the stupidity of the plot and the ludicrous premise. Oh, and one other thing is essential if you’re going to enjoy this movie at all. You must have no fear of snakes. For the perspective of an ophidiophobe check out Amanda’s review.

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

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