Mother-Funking Snakes On A Mother-Funking Plane

Snakes On A Plane is one of the greatest disappointments in film history. Years of unparalleled internet hype generated by the film's name, originally just a working title, culminated in mass disinterest following the movie's release.

Is this tongue-in-cheek flick really such a let down? No, it's among the most awesome films ever made. Hit the jump to find out why:

Originally titled Venom and based incredibly loosely on a genuine happenstance, what was to become Snakes On A Plane struggled to find a home in Hollywood. The script was rejected by 30 studios before winding up in the hands of the only one with the creative sensibility to consider it, New Line. As production started, the script was given the working title of Snakes On A Plane, and the internet went bat guano.

People began making their own trailers for the movie long before shooting even began, and word that Samuel L Jackson was to play the lead only exacerbated the situation. To this day, no film has achieved the hype that SoaP did and no film has tried to cash in on that the way New Line did; they even did a few reshoots based on fan suggestions, including the film's most-famous line.

Still, once the film hit cinemas, its support vanished and it flopped. Of course, no film could possibly have lived up to the momentum this movie had gathered, but we feel the fans' disappointment was more to do with the film being good than it being bad. The title suggested the kind of cheesy garbage that Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus delivered, but this movie is actually reasonably accomplished.

Rather than a nonsensical, hashed-together excuse for the title, the film has a vaguely-plausible set up. A Hawaiian surfer happens across a gangster murdering a prominent US Prosecutor and supercop Sam Jackson talks him into testifying. He hops on the first plane, but our imaginative gangster tries to take the packed passenger flight down by smuggling hundreds of drugged-up, deadly snakes on board and letting them loose over the Atlantic. What follows is the slow build up of a creepy horror movie, as the snakes begin to pick off the passengers, that eventually breaks out into a mix of animal-attack movies like Jaws and something like Passenger 57 or a plane-based Die Hard. Die Hard is actually a good comparison, as the nice mixture of comedy and action is the key to the success of both movies.

The cast is universally good. Sam Jackson is the coolest man alive and clearly came into this film with the right attitude: his tongue firmly in his cheek, but with no loss effort than he would put into a more-serious picture, he even refused to allow the film's name to be changed. Julianna Margulies heads up a cast of know-them-from-somewhere actors who comprise the ragtag group of civilians on the flight, who all do their jobs amicably; the comic relief brings the chuckles, the tough men are tough, the villains are menacing and the totty is aesthetically pleasing. The true hero here, however, is Kenan Thompson. Fresh from a surprisingly-enjoyable kids comedy show on Nickelodeon and an even-better film spin-off, both with his erstwhile partner Kel Mitchell, it is a crime that this turn did not propel Thompson into a successful career, let alone household-name status.

Overall, this is pure joy on 35mm; it's funny, scary, sexy, action-packed and genuinely fun, with the kind of quotability you just don't get in modern movies. It's a great, big, tickly hug of a movie and we love it.

1 comment:

  1. I liked Snakes on a plane, But I enjoyed flight of the living dead more...