August 20, 2006

Movie Review: Snakes on a Plane

Plotless. Pointless. Silly. Goofy. Stupid. All words that could be used to accurately describe this movie. If you watch it and try to follow the plot, you will be sorely disappointed, but then, if you are going to see Snakes on a Plane for a plot, you may have bigger problems. The title really tells you all that you need to know. Well, that and the fact that Samuel L. Jackson stars in it.

If you must know what the story is about, it follows a young guy who witnesses a murder being committed by a ruthless gangster. The guy now jumps to the top of the list of witnesses who could put him away for life. This translates as "kill the kid." It is now up to agent Neville Flynn to keep the kid alive so he will be able to testify. What should have been a simple plane ride turns into a battle for survival as the bad guys set in a motion a plot to take down the en route flight by way of snakes..... on the plane. Everything that is done in this movie is a build up to that central reptile battle, anything else, plot included, is extraneous fluff which is best kept to a minimum.

The hype for this movie was a huge grass roots movement. As soon as the title got out, it was off to the races. Only knowing title and star, a series of fansites were spawned preparing for the release of the snakes upon the theaters of America. How much this groundswell of interest had n the making of the film, I have no idea. I do believe that the name was intended just as a working title while it was being put together, but once it caught on, why change it?

This is a great example of a B movie that embraces its roots. It has a low budget feel, it exists solely to serve the high concept, and sets out to provide just goofy entertainment. I have to say that the energy and atmosphere evoked by everything around this movie is infectious. It brings a sense of playful fun back to the screen. The first trailer that played back in May, in front of X-Men: Last Stand, half the audience got up and applauded. It was quite a sight to see this kind of excitement about a movie, in a theater.

The movie itself is a blast. At the start, I tried to wrap my mind around the jumpiness of what plot there was, but quickly decided not to bother with that and just get wrapped up in the rollercoaster aspect of the film. It doesn't take long until we are on the plane and the snakes are loosed. There is the build up of who will be the first victim, the suspense builds until that moment happens, then there is the necessary thinning of the herd, so to speak. We need to get the victims down to a nominal level where they can get some screen time.

It is not long before we have victims getting bitten in all sorts of interesting and humorous places, leading to Jackson's involvement, quickly taking over the situation and getting to work on the snakes. There are tazered, shot, kicked, stabbes, and torched snakes to be had. You cannot take anything like this all that seriously, when you let the silliness take over, there is no doubt that you will be smiling at the insanity being thrown around.

The acting is laughable. Sam Jackson comes off the easiest, as second to the snakes, everything is geared towards him and his classic line deliveries. The dialog is even more laughable, it is primarily comprised of one liners, all building towards Jackson and the soon to be classin: "I've had it with these MotherF--king Snakes on this MotherF--king plane!" A loine that got a big round of applause from the crowd in attendance. The snakes a case of terrible CGI, but I didn't care.

You know, if you think about the plot, at its most basic level, the idea of poisonous snakes loose on an airliner, especially while over a large body of water, is a rather frightening thought. Think about that, nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, just the hope of not pissing one of them off. I know it is a little creepy to me. Although, I do not think I would like to see this dealt with in a serious manner.

Bottomline. Simple, straightforward, swiss cheese plot, entertaining lead performance, and an aura of fun all add up to a fun time in the movies. This is a movie to sit back, shut off, and have fun with. I know I enjoyed the hell out of it.

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Anonymous said...

Great Review Chris!

I agree completely, you really do have to just turn off your "plot radar" for this one and have a good time. I have not in a long time sat in a movie theater and been completely ok with people hooting and hollering all around me. It was a blast, indeed.

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