Snakes on a Plane (2006)

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Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Postby justindeimen » Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:49 pm


Its hard to describe who exactly is the bigger star in Snakes on a Plane, the CGI snakes or Samuel L. Jackson. The immortal quote in this film is a parody of the man and his roles throughout the years. Samuel L. Jackson is the definitive cultural hero of the MTV generation with his badass swagger, his cocksure disregard of the establishment and cutting quips as he walks onto a scene like he owns the damn movie. Hes exactly the sort of larger-than-life individual youd want to associate this sort of film with if you were a movie studio executive.

This truly is exemplary pulp fiction gone wild and is not a film for anyone expecting a transcendent movie experience. The shocks and thrills are instinctually predictable and extemporaneous with no meaningful introspective about gripping terror or politics. Anyone who attempts to draw comparisons to terrorism would be really off the mark and disrespectful in spite of recent events.

Suspension of belief is obviously crucial to the enjoyment of Snakes on a Plane. Its a phenomenon that lives in the moment as a product of our generations cultural zeitgeist thats (still being) driven by hype due to its raging online fan ethos and a generally high regard for escapist fare. With the premise that launched a cross-media publicity campaign demonstrating the power of fandom, it has no doubt spawned a PR legacy laying the groundwork for more of such marketing strategies to come. When all is said and done, that is the true phenomenon.

There appeared to be an urge to build this movie around the mania and hysterics of fan-written ideas that seem like they were drawn from a hat to form its plot structure. Many of the scenes felt tacked on and tedious. The editing is just that haphazard, and skips from passenger to passenger indiscriminately as fangs maul them. It practically directs itself, no thanks to David R. Ellis. Possibly its original director, Ronnie Yu, might have brought something extra to this project aside from just piling on scenarios upon scenarios of hurt without stringing them together.

Caught with its pants down halfway between satire and action, its not quite the thrill it should have been and its also not an out-and-out laugh riot. In all respects, once the creative juices run dry, so does the initial frisson. When it first gets into its groove, waves after waves of no holds barred, cringe inducing and politically incorrect scenes set the film alight with exhilaration. After awhile though, it all just goes steadily downhill.

What about the rest of the film? Well, Samuel L. Jackson plays Samuel L. Jackson who in turn plays FBI agent Neville Flynn. He has to escort a key witness to a criminal prosecution. But blah, blah and blah! Its just a means-to-an-end plot of which the mechanics are unimportant and is just plain filler for its main attraction the plane inexplicably filled with countless species of snakes that have been let loose. The kaleidoscope of cardboard, self-mocking characters/passengers are just fodder to the slithering menaces. Computerised snakes and their exaggeratedly loud hisses are not inherently scary but still manage to have more personality in its cartoonish facial (yes, facial!) expression than we ever get from the entire secondary cast, which is basically everyone else aside from the incomparable Jackson.

Perhaps its biggest failing is that its publicity created a catch-22 of sorts when its blockbuster appeal became too much of a success but also an encumbrance to pull off the particular B-grade ideal aimed. In the end, it turns out wholly disingenuous and manufactured and far from hiss-terical. Embracing the spirit of satire is one thing but when youre in on the joke while making it something so blatantly kitsch, the self-awareness just gets in the way of the fun.

As the preconceived excitement of mixing 2 rampant phobias in snakes and planes end up wearing the novelty paper-thin, its early hype contributed to its own downfall. Its the material being led around by the hype rather than the hype being wagged on by the material. Ludicrous in its execution as it was in its conception, the publicity machine in overdrive will still bring in droves. Its the kind of movie that offers no surprises and youd know if it is worth your dollar from an initial gut feeling, before even hearing any sort of feedback. No matter whats said here or anywhere else, this movie will draw you into the cinemas. Snakes on a Plane is not an absolute mess. Its farcical camp entertainment and promotional stunts will live on for years and in that respect, it is untouchable. However as much as it tries, its simply does not live up its own monster hype, no movie can.


Re: Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Postby jcdavies » Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:31 pm

While many misguided critics will inevitably dismiss Snakes on a Plane as overhyped camp juvenile kitsch for the filmgoing masses, it is in fact not only a sly satire on bombastic disaster movies, but also a subversive, acute, astute, piercing and profound meditation covering a range of sensitive issues: 9/11, "the enemy within", Satanism, lynch-mob hysteria, racism, the environmental drawbacks of air travel (alongside the transporting of wildlife and wider tampering with nature), the recent disastrous failings of the FBI and other intelligence agencies, absurd and ultimately self-defeating Western definitions of "terrorism" and the "war on terror", corporate hypocrisy, the malicious influence of the internet (witness the crafty insertion of expectant website dialogue!), Hollywood's relentless publicity machine, and public gullibility in the age of mass media, rampant conspiracy theories and Dan Brown's infamous The Da Vinci Code.

Re: Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:15 pm

I haven't followed any of the hype but just went to see it on the basis that it's a really stupid name, Samuel L Jackson is usually entertaining (if more than a little typecast) and the local newspaper had a free tickets offer.

As it is four of us went and we all had a great time wallowing in the trashy cheese of the whole venture.

I was surprised they even managed to get the project off the ground (sic) with all the recent troubles but thankfully there is not one minute of this film that takes itself seriously. The only thing missing was a guitar playing Nun.

I can imagine this doing far better than the majority of the bloated so called block busters and would recommend it as a great no-brainer, a real dumbass popcorn flick that knows its limitations and knows its audience.

I had free tickets but if I was in the mood, I'd happily pay to see it.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Postby arsaib4 » Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:25 pm

I must say I'm intrigued by the fact that you, Justindeiman, think that it is meaningless B-grade junk, while you, John, consider it a piercing satire. (Trevor seems to be somewhere in the middle?).

I think I have some form of Herpetophobia, otherwise I would have gone to see it.

Re: Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Postby hengcs » Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:46 am

hey justin,
i guess u were at the preview for this film yesterday
and i was at Lemming ...

are you watching Lemming today?
i heard that there is another preview ...

Re: Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Postby justindeimen » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:04 am

Quote:I must say I'm intrigued by the fact that you, Justindeiman, think that it is meaningless B-grade junk, while you, John, consider it a piercing satire. (Trevor seems to be somewhere in the middle?).

I hardly found it junk. I went into the film fully aware of the tongue-in-cheek nature of the film. My main gripe is that it just wasn't all that good. It felt like a punchline being stretched too long. Like I mentioned in the review, the direction leaves much to be desired. Perhaps something more cohesive would have been beneficial to it? I do think Ronnie Yu who was originally slated to direct would have done much better than Ellis did.

heng, actually mine's on Thurs.

Re: Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Postby jcdavies » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:52 pm

Er, yes, well, i'm sure some future university film student thesis can be built on its sociological content + piercing satirical qualities, but especially since i've not seen it, i'm not clamouring for one. Oops, sorry, everyone. But it does sound rich soil for mining all sorts of deep meanings, or more likely just a good laugh when you're half blotto.

Re: Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Postby A » Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:37 pm

Embarrased to say you really got me with this one.
Obviously we believe in your judgments.

Re: Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:43 am

... especially if they're based upon a viewing!

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