Snakes on a Plane
Snakes on a Plane
Review By: Staff
Snakes on a Plane
When a historian in 3006 is investigating the state of popular culture in the year 2006 there will be four words which will undoubtedly confuse him. They're words which have incited the interest of millions of people and caused a phenomenon unlike any we've ever seen.
Those 4 words?
Snakes. On. A. Plane.
It all started at an after-work happy hour where some Hollywood types were trying to come up with the worst pitch possible. A producer gave the pitch for a script he had read called Venom which took the idea of snakes and put them onto a plane. Genius. New Line read the script also and snapped it up, the title changing of course. Samuel L Jackson signed on also and once the internet geeks got a hold of the title and synopsis, insanity started.
Numerous sites started cropping up, ridiculing the movie. Even a year before the film's release, there was an unprecedented amount of hype. In August 2005, Samuel L Jackson's agent insisted that the makers change the title of the film and indeed they followed, the film now called Pacific Air Flight 121. When Jackson heard about this he insisted they change it back. The buzz was now so high that New Line ordered 5 days of reshoots on the movie adding gore and nudity to make the film an R. They also stole the now infamous line 'I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!' from fans who had created it online.
New Line also started a competition to create a song for the movie, the winners would have their composition playing over the end credits. T-shirts were created, books were released, it was unlike anything we'd ever seen.
New Line announced that no critics were going to see the film before it released and in August analysts predicted it would be one of the summer's biggest hits. It wasn't.
To the surprise of just about everyone the film made a poor showing at the box office. The excitement over internet hype died down – it turned out a film couldn't be a success on fan-based interest alone. When critics finally got to see the movie, they surprisingly liked it. I saw it on the opening weekend and after a disappointing summer, it stuck a goofy grin on my face that was hard to shake.
So what's it all about then? Well the title's kind of a giveaway. It sees carefree surfer Sean (Nathan Phillips) get caught up in mob business when he is a witness to a brutal murder. Whisked away by ace FBI agent
Snakes on a Plane is exactly what you want from a film called Snakes on a Plane. There are snakes. Lots of them actually. And they're onboard a plane. Simple, I'm satisfied. Anyone looking for anything more should really look elsewhere. It's all hopelessly silly stuff crammed with stereotypes, cheesy dialogue and bad acting but for a film with no other pretensions than being a solidly enjoyable B-movie what more would you expect?
For a B-movie it's rather slickly made. The snakes are as real and as nasty as you could hope for and once they're loose it's all wonderfully constructed mayhem until the end. Now, as to whether the film knows that it's as stupid as it is that's another question. It's one of those questions that bugged me throughout. I know that once New Line saw how funny people were finding it they added some scenes and I'm wondering if these were the tongue in cheek moments where you half expect Jackson to start winking at the screen. Because buried underneath the silliness, there's an earnest little thriller that sees itself as something other than an object of amusement.
But, anyway taken on the level you're supposed to be taking it at, it's all a lot of fun. It probably could have done with a few more moments of irony but it's nigh-on impossible to hate a film that's about snakes on a plane and is called Snakes on a Plane. In a world full of lies, you've got to admire their sheer honesty. Snakes, a plane, nothing more, nothing less.
There's a nice selection of extras to gawp at including a funny Blooper Reel, a must-see featurette called Snakes on a Blog which details the internet hype for the movie, some blah Deleted/Extended Scenes, an average featurette called Pure Venom – The Making of Snakes on a Plane which does contain the wonderful line from Julianna Margulies, 'It's difficult to make a movie on a plane and keep the audience engrossed, even if there are snakes' (ermm what else does one need?), a skin-crawling featurette called Meet The Reptiles, a standard VFX Featurette, some cleverly ironic Trailers and TV Spots, a surprisingly catchy Music Video and a Commentary from Director David Ellis, Samuel L Jackson and others you don't really care to listen to.
It's a shame this year that with the box office failure of both Slither and Snakes on a Plane that the B-movie revival didn't really take off as hoped. Personally I think that the majority of people just didn't get the irony. They simply saw the title and
It may have quickly killed off the power of internet hype but for a film that belongs in a drive-in movie theater, preferably back in the 1950s, what the hell was it doing on the internet in the first place?
Movie Grade: B-
Special Features Grade: B
Overall Grade: B-