REVIEW: Snakes on a Plane [2006]

“Snakes on crack”

Ok, I know that the big deal with Snakes on a Plane is that it should be seen in the theatres with a lot of kindred souls as a midnight attraction. When everyone is packed inside for a good time, maybe high/drunk, they can all hoop and holler and have an uproarious time with each other. Well, you see, this experience has nothing to do with the film—it has to do with the experience that night. I believe, whether or not I had seen it in the theatre and spent my hard earned $9.50 or not, I would come to the same conclusion that this was a horrible movie. For pure entertainment value it was not that bad for the beginning part and the initial onslaught of snakes. However, once the storyline went in the direction of saving those onboard from snakebites and a plane crash, the film turned away from its tongue-in-cheek-ness and tried to be serious. Here’s a heads up to the filmmakers. If you choose to go the route of making an “it’s so bad it’s good” movie, stick to your guns and play up EVERYTHING for laughs. Don’t copout midway and try to do something dramatic.

Everyone knows the internet hype and the reshoots to add blood, sex, and language to beef up a throw-away PG-13 flick to a throw-away R. Too bad the filmmakers didn’t decide on making it R in the first place, because you can point out most instances of add-ins pretty easily. The famous Samuel L. Jackson line, (more famous before it even was added in the movie than afterwards), “get these mofo snakes off my mofo plane” is lit brighter and angled to reveal just his face. Luckily they had the same wardrobe to make the cut even resemble the previous and following shots. Also, I remember reading that there were real snakes used throughout the duration of filming with few CGI creations. Please show me a real snake, though, as almost every money-shot kill was so cartoonish you’d be looked at weird if you didn’t laugh.

I will give Sam Jackson some benefit of the doubt, as he is the one person in this film that should be serious. He is the cool-head that will get them all through it and he should be in charge. I’ll even buy Julianna Margulies for playing her character straight because she is the clichéd stewardess on her last flight and looking to keep as many of her wards alive. However, besides these two I would expect everyone else to ham it up. They should be having fun on screen and really play their parts for laughs against these two straight players. Unfortunately, most actually look like they think they are in a legitimate film. Rachel Blanchard, for example, is blatantly ripping off Paris Hilton, and doing so successfully at the start, but changes personalities at the midway mark into someone looking to survive and to help where needed. If she played the bimbo to the end, her character would have worked so much better. Props to Flex Alexander though, as he is the one person here who has some fun. The hypochondriac rap superstar has so many ticks and eccentricities it is actually pretty funny. Even when he reaches his point for “growth as a person” he still keeps the camp dial high with exaggerated facial expressions and speech. If only everyone else took a page from him I could have laughed some more and enjoyed my stay upon Pacific Air 121.

Snakes on a Plane 2/10 | ★

photography:
[1] Samuel L. Jackson stars as “Neville Flynn” in New Line Cinema’s intense action feature Snakes On A Plane. Photo Credit: James Dittiger ©2005/New Line Productions

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