Thursday, August 17

Movie Review: Snakes on a Plane!

Okay - far too unusual a situation this evening. As I am walking home from an event, I decide to see what movies are coming out at the local cineplex. As I am trolling through the kiosk, I note Snakes on a Plane showing at 10pm. This has me amazed - after all of the hype I have seen. So, for the heck of it, I decide, why not see it? Even in FX, I see Julianna Margolis suggesting you might want to see it twice. With a swipe of the card, I purchase the ticket and go to the theater.

Mind you, I did not plan on going - with all the hype, my opinion was "nah, silly flick". But, curiosity got the best of me - and I decided to buy my Coke and find a seat. As i walk into the theater, I see an audience of college students, primarily male - and fully expect a lot of NY commentary as the film progresses. I say out loud, "This is an audience to see this film" and a man to my right says, "Yes it is." Who do I see but Joel Seigel from Good Morning America taking in the film with (I assume) his producer and someone else. (My guess is this was his chance to see the film for Friday's show, since the producers did not allow anyone to preview the film.)

Once the avalanche of previews is over (EIGHT in all), the movie starts with Jackson's name and then the title of the film - so not like what I expected. The film breaks up into five parts - Prologue, Acts 1, 2 and 3 and then the Epilogue. To fulfill the goal of this review, let me just say - cotton candy has the same amount of nutritional value as this film will have to stimulating your mind. I could see that the film has some rework done on it - my guess, the ending was certainly reworked to handle the crash landing sequence (Ms. Margolis looks like she got better makeup omn the second go-around).

Like the introduction of the Friday the 13th movies or Nightmare on Elm Street and its sequels, this film pushes some of the more unusual fright buttons. Do not let little kids see the film - this is not for them. But, I would suggest that yoou can have a lot more fun if you play passenger bingo to figure out who you think will live and who will become snake food.


  • Prologue - set up for the story
    Eddie Kim is a bad man and unsuspecting surfer dude sees bad man do very bad thing. ten more minutes leads to getting witness to Los Angeles where he can testify and put bad man in jail.

  • Act 1 - set up for characters on the plane
    Like a bad 70's film, there are almost all the stereotypes - and for some reason, they must have spent very little money on the actors - since almost all of them are B- or C- movie actors. There is the arrogant Brit, the fake Beverly Hills Lohan/Britney wannabee, the rapper and his entourage, the mother and her baby, the brothers flying on the plane alone for the first time, the whiny couple coming from their honeymoon in Hawaii, the too-perfect-to-be-true couple who you know will attempt the Mile High Club, and so on. We see the trap, the cage, the pheromones and the ticking down to the first wave of attacks of the snakes with some incredibly graphic depictions of attacks.

  • Act 2 - survivors take a stand
    The survivors of the attack set their position and try to defend themselves. Unselfish valor, amusing defense occurs on the plane to get all of the survivors together and take a stand. Second thread is the FBI on the ground trying to find a way to save everyone from the 500 poisonous snakes and the many bites that have occurred. One of the better lines is uttered here: "Snakes on CRACK!?!" Some of this strains credibility, but then again - isn't this about suspension of disbelief? And then, what do you think happens next? Snakes attack AGAIN!

  • Act 3 - survivors attempt to land the plane
    After the next wave and other brave acts, we get to learn that the book, Everything Bad is Good for You is actually true. I leave the remainder of the story to your experience, and will not spoil the ending - which has me chuckling as I leave the theater.

Should you see this movie? A qualified yes long as you recognize this was originally a throw-away movie - and the plot has all the depth of a shallow pool on the street after a rainstorm. It is cotton-candy fare - and SHOULD be enjoyed with an audience who is looking to enjoy a Rocky Horror Picture Show kind of experience. This is a silly movie - and with the exception of Jackson and Margolis (who IMHO, originally did this on a lark for someone), the acting is not particularly riveting. But the snakes are a lot of fun - the CGI is excellent, their attacks are both vicious, hysterical and colourful (yes, colourful). And be prepared to feel the attacks - in some ways, there are such jolts that you will find your self jumping out of your seat to avoid them.

At some point, I will discuss the Internet hype on this movie - but, for the most part, it inspired me to go - especially after Howard's suggested campaign or "All Your Snakes Belong to Us".

UPDATE: Just saw Seigel's review - and wondered if he saw the same thing I saw. Funniest thing, he was not that excited when watching, but he was dead-on: this movie is for the 14-to-19 age range - which was who seemed to dominate the theater. And, yes - slitherly funny and frightful. I liked his connection of a combination of "Airplane" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" - but I also must add "There's Something About Mary" to the mix...


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