Posted: Aug 18, 2006 5:18 pm
The 'Snakes' Are Here
Let's get one thing straight: "Snakes on a Plane" is a not a great movie.
The acting is consistently one-dimensional. The premise, as the title suggests, is beyond ludicrous. And the musical score is so unsophisticated that it makes the Axel F theme from "Bevery Hills Cop" sound remarkably fresh and innovative.
Yet, somehow, watching "Snakes on a Plane"? A totally great experience.
It helps to see a sold-out late show on opening night at the AMC Loews Georgetown, which was packed with teenage and college-age fans who already were stoked well before the first reptile revealed its beady little eyes. These kids applauded feverishly for virtually anything: The opening titles, the first appearance of Samuel L. Jackson, the plane's take-off, every snake attack and, of course, that much-awaited line of dialogue, "I have had it with these mother [bleeping] snakes on this mother [bleeping] plane!" Oh, and the "Borat" trailer. They really loved that, too.
As for "SoaP," it's basically everything that months and months of incessant Internet buzz led us to expect. The plot essentials: A surfer dude in Hawaii accidentally witnesses a murder committed by well-known assassin Eddie Kim. After some persuasion by FBI tough guy Nelville Flynn (Jackson, natch) Surfer Dude agrees to testify against Kim in L.A. Why L.A.? Because if Surfer Dude didn't have to go there, he wouldn't have to get on a plane. Hello? Keep up.
Anyhoo, long story short, the assassin and his cronies manage to sneak several hundred exotic snakes onto a South Pacific Air flight, get the venemous suckers all hopped up on pheremones, then let them loose amongst an unsuspecting group of passengers.
All manner of human body parts get bitten including, but not limited to, a few necks, a hand, a backside, an eyeball, a female breast and a man's privates. (Lesson learned: Check the toilet for snakes BEFORE you go to the bathroom.) These passengers aren't wimps, though. They're willing to fight back using whatever means necessary: Axes, fire extinguishers, karate chops and, in one touching homage to the movie "Gremlins," a microwave oven. By movie's end, the death count lands somewhere between 10 and 15 by my estimate, not counting the dog and the cat. But I may have forgetten a corpse or two, what with all the yelling and confusion ... and that was just from the audience in the theater.
In short, "Snakes on a Plane" is pure escapist fun and absolutely nothing more. If I had happened upon it while flipping through cable channels at home, I might have turned it off after the first hour. But in a crowded theater, the whole thing is a big, semi-gory, campy, mother [bleeping] gas. I mean, where else can you hear actor Bobby Cannavale announce, "I can't believe I'm saying this but I need the best poisonous snake expert in this time zone"? I'll tell you this: He sure didn't get to utter dialogue like that in "The Station Agent."