Snakes on a Plane (2006) — A modern Rocky Horror phenom

“You know all those security scenarios we ran? Well I’m smack in the middle of one we didn’t think of.”

Nancy’s rating: If I’m not the first mutant to review this, I’m going to be very upset.

Nancy’s review: Come on now. I’m the only one here who is still technically a teenager. Now, I know Shalen loves spiders and spiders are kind of like snakes (not really). And I know it’s very much a guy movie, considering the grotesque scenes, hot chicks, and airplane action. As for Lissa and Sue, you might just surprise me with a big ol’ review of it, right after a midnight showing on Thursday. Everyone has kooky moods, it’s possible.

But please guys. I’m crossing my fingers and trying to use telepathy to make all of you hit the delete button if you are typing a review. Because this is the first movie in long time to unite dumb teenagers the way it did. And I have to be the mutant to represent it. I just gotta. This is the ‘dumb teenager’ movie. I’ve heard it over-hyped and I’ve heard it exploited and I’ve been annoyed by the jokes. But I still saw it. Because I’m loyal to my cliches. And I love to be a dumb teenager.

Yeah, I said it. I saw Snakes on a Plane.

Now everyone knows this movie is silly. But really, think about it for more than a second. Snakes [Pause]. On a [Pause]. Plane. [Long pause] What are you gonna do? You can’t do anything! You’re on a plane.

I don’t know exactly what I was doing when I saw Snakes on a Plane. There was this kid in high school, you used to repeat every stupid joke he heard and act like it was funny again. He’s the kind of guy who would come in and say “Snakes on a plane! That’s hilarious!” and everyone would be like “Yeah, we know. Do you have anything witty to add on the concept?” and he would just hoot and say “Oh, man, repeating the name of the movie is the joke itself!” And see, if he said that, then it would have been funny. But he never said that. I’m just making fun of him.

So yeah, I’m aware this funny joke got blown way out of proportion. And I will admit, that this they played every cheap laugh they could.

But I didn’t care. It was fantastic to turn my brain off and watch Snakes on a Plane for two hours. Why? I walked out of the theater and ran into an old kid from high school. He said Snakes on a Plane was the single best movie experience he ever had and he was lining up to watch it again. And even the fact that everything was exploited and the jokes were over-told… the fact that Snakes on a Plane is hilarious to the majority of Americans is funny within itself.

Everyone knows what they are getting themselves into. Not one person in there was having a bad time, because there was no way to have a bad time with our expectations. We expected a bad movie that we could cheer at the absurdity of. And ya know what?

We got even more then that.

Ladies and gentlemen, the fears and chills in Snakes on a Plane… yes, they are cheesy, but you will JUMP. This movie is insane. It will blow your mind in ways you never thought your mind could be blown. It’s got all the hype, and ya know what? I’m here to say it pretty much lives up to it. Every now and then, I was really scared. Sometimes I would just put myself in their place and go crazy. “What if I was that girl?” I’d say as I munched my Sour Patch Kids. What if I was that girl who decided to have sex in the bathroom only to become the snakes’ first victim and a later surprise for a P.Diddy lookalike?

If you are the type of person who is annoyed by a group of people hooting and hollering and thinking they are so hilarious… then this isn’t the movie for you. But if you can just give up and get wrapped in the whirlwind of what this is… what is it? It’s so hard to describe without repeating the title. It’s Snakes on a Plane. That’s what it is. I’m happy with that, I’m fiiiiiine with that. Ya know what, there’s a really smart guy played by Todd Lousio who is a snake genius and the highlight of the whole movie. He’s the center point of all plot and intellectual attitude. That’s it! From then on, Samuel is just badass.

So what did you expect from this review of Snakes on a Plane? Really. You know what you have coming to you. A part of me wishes it wasn’t so commercialized and that the makers didn’t know it was funny. I wish we could be like “Haha, Snakes on a Plane” without the producers cackling at how easily they tricked us into falling into their trap — watching a big budget bad movie, with a concept so obscure it draws in the masses. And Samuel L. Jackson.

But you can win against them if you sit there and laugh saying “Haha, this is so commercialized! They are so cashing in on the obscurity of snakes on a plane.” This way you can enjoy the obscurity without feeling dirty falling into their trap. it’s like Deep Blue Sea, but delicately more self aware. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I’m not really sure.

I think too much. Go watch people get eaten by snakes.

Kyle’s rating: I have no idea what Nancy is talking about, but I dig it!

Kyle’s review: I was obviously aware of the whole Snakes on a Plane phenomenon (which was mostly relegated to the internet, but out here in La-La-Land also infected casual conversations fairly regularly) but for the most part I ignored it. There were certainly some clever witticisms generated by it, and probably ten times as many jokes and sight gags that were immediately lame on arrival or just felt uninspired in a sea of trying too hard. I wanted to see the movie, because it sounded like fun, but crafting online personas based around SOAP concepts or bringing rubber snakes to the theater to throw at the screen was not my bag, baby.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, Snakes was fun! I mean, I have no desire to see it again and definitely wasn’t about to see it again that same day (my local theater is notoriously hard to sneak into multiple films at, but for Snakes I wouldn’t have risked it to begin with) but while I was in my seat watching it, I was amused and entertained and I think I might have even laughed or gasped once or twice. Normally I only do that if Rachel Bilson is on-screen, so that’s a big deal!

But, yeah: if you like those fun action movies with a hint of buddy comedy but lean more towards “lone wolf takes charge in the midst of horrific odds and saves the day with wits and timely witticisms” then you will enjoy Snakes on a Plane. You might be expecting something completely out-of-the-box or crazy, but once you get past the title concept you’ve just got an action movie.

Which, in this case, isn’t bad, because Samuel L. Jackson is his dependable persona and perfectly fills the “bad-ass hero” lead and the movie itself is cast well and knows how to press your buttons. Divorced from the hype, it’s simply a well-made action movie with a great conceit and some surprisingly vicious touches (don’t get too worried: certain characters are still untouchable; this is a mainstream movie in the end); with the hype, it’s something that I guess you could go crazy over as a viewing experience (see: Nancy’s review) and maybe dress up as for Halloween. Why not?

What I think is endlessly amusing is how a certain contingent of viewers, mostly the ones who became and remain the film’s most strident fans and defenders, hold up the film as “the most fun I’ve ever had in a theater” and “a movie I can watch over and over again with friends where we react to certain parts” and “something destined to succeed on a late-night viewing circuit.” Being Mutant readers, you probably hear an echo of something else here: it’s a lot like the Rocky Horror Picture Show phenomenon. I guess SOAP fills that particular void in the hearts of those who are unwilling or unable to groove to such a sexually-ambiguous film as Rocky Horror? Weird.

So if you’ve been too afraid to see Rocky Horror because it freaks you out quite a bit, maybe SOAP can become your fresh new hobby. Unless you’re afraid of snakes, I guess. Then it’s transvestites still for you!

Justin’s rating: An animal is officially scary if it answers the following as “yes.” Would it frighten me if I woke up in the morning and this was sitting on my head? Snakes are a “yes.”

Justin’s review: Let’s all hunker down for a moment and be honest here: the greatest fun to be had in Snakes on a Plane was riding the surf wave of internet hype for the better part of a year leading up to its release. The absurdly perfect title (which will forever be enjoyable to speak of) coupled with the thought of a cranky Samuel L. “Mother-Smurfing” Jackson going toe to tail with slithering reptiles was more than enough to promote this to cult status, sight unseen. It didn’t matter whether the movie was good, because you knew it had to be bad. It had snakes. On a plane. Amen, hallelujah.

And continuing our rare streak of honesty, there’s not much more to get out of the film. It’s got a subtle undercurrent of quirk (such as the snakes’ preference for biting people in particularly ironic spots), but strangely enough plays it straight otherwise. It’s a horror-comedy blend in the grand tradition of Gremlins, Eight Legged Freaks, and Slither, in which a multitude of nasties strive to overwhelm our dwindling supply of local color stereotypes. Only this time, they’re on a plane.

Knowing that makes half the difference.

Samuel L. is Agent Flynn, an FBI guy in charge of protecting a key witness on a flight from Hawaii to L.A.. Apparently, bad guys are so hard up to kill one itty bitty witness that they feel compelled to explode a huge crate of venomous, hopped-up snakes in the belly of the red-eye. This makes for an interesting combination of beverage cart service and death by fangs.

My beloved thought she’d be a “cool wife” by going with me to see this, and for about the first (snake-free) half hour, she was getting into the snarkiness of the flick. Then, when the first little slithering guy got some serious screen time, she went into her turtle mode — jacket pulled up to eye-height, whimpering in terror.

“Um, dear… are you going to be okay?” I asked, glancing at the squirming, writhing mass of death on screen. It turns out that no, no she wasn’t going to be okay. Snakes apparently placed quite high on her “Things I’m Scared Crapless About” list, which begged my follow-up question of “Why would you see a movie where the mere presence of said fear is IN THE TITLE OF THE MOVIE?” I can only assume that she thought Samuel L. would be fighting terrorists while snakes did a nice tap dance routine in the background or something.

Yes, I did offer to leave then (I’m not an insensitive clod), and no, we didn’t. She stuck it out, screaming in terror, and I alternated between concern for her and personal enjoyment for seeing snakes reclaiming the skies. If you’re not particularly bothered by snakes, then the only worry you need bother yourself about is the overabundance of jump scares that pepper this flick.

I came. I saw. I hissed.

Didja notice?

  • Snakes love biting you in the most inappropriate places
  • Little kids always live.
  • The yellow bouncy slide things you get to go down after airplane emergencies are like the most fun thing ever. And it should be. They deserve it!

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