August 29, 2006 > Snakes on a Plane
Snakes on a Plane
Directed by David R. Ellis Rated R
It's been what seems like a long road to release for this much-anticipated film. Internet buzz about what started out (and pretty much finished) as a joke project has been circulating for quite some time, as well as a rather unorthodox marketing campaign which included hilarious poster art (a plane encircled by snakes) and large banners strung to the backs of planes which displayed the films' unambiguous title: Snakes on a Plane.
In an effort to please would-be fans, producers of the film paid heed to the outcry of loyal Internet junkies (as well as main star Samuel L. Jackson) to maintain the film's R rating by paying for and shooting additional footage, including Jackson's now famous "I am tired of these mother@!#$ing snakes on this mother#@!#$ing plane!" line, which itself originated in an Internet parody of the film based only on its title and the knowledge that Jackson would be starring. At one point, the film's title was under scrutiny. Internet fans that immediately saw the humor in the originally proposed title were outraged to hear that producers were considering changing it to Pacific Air Flight 121. Producers immediately responded to the outrage of the fans (and, again, of Sam Jackson, who claims to have lobbied for his role after having read only the title) by leaving things as they were. All this effort, presumably, was made in the hopes of packing theaters with the loyal and now appeased buzz-mongers, who fought so hard to influence filmmakers into creating what they wanted to see.
That having been said, I attended a showing last Sunday afternoon with roughly seven other attendees.
The promoters of the film held no press screening, so I had to pay my ten bucks like any other eager audience member. However, unlike other audience members, I get paid to watch movies, which, unfortunately for the film, is the only condition under which most of you would see it. This, however, is a shame, considering that it's actually pretty good.
It's directed by David R. Ellis, the man behind a similar killfest, Final Destination 2, and the likewise surprisingly good suspense thriller Cellular. His shots are clean, his action fast: all in all pretty solid - which is to be expected considering the films he's previously worked on in smaller capacities (Master in Commander, Matrix Reloaded, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, to name a few).
Don't get me wrong, this is not stellar movie making in any sense of the word, but it's good fun. It's like the makers knowingly took the worst idea they could think of and tried to make the best movie they could with it. Snakes on a Plane is as far as they got.
Audiences can tell; they can tell that Sam Jackson can tell, and the makers probably got a good laugh out of knowing that we could tell that they could tell. It's all a big joke taken pretty seriously, which makes it funny even when poisonous venom is spewing from the eyes of a fallen victim. You know what you're going to get even before you buy your ticket and popcorn. With a title like Snakes on a Plane, it's pretty obvious that the makers weren't trying to trick anyone into thinking that the movie would be groundbreaking or epically dramatic.
No, instead, it's a surprisingly good time with plenty of suspense and laughter, almost like an inside joke that we can all be in on... for ten bucks: a definitive good bad movie (next to Evil Dead), a guilty pleasure worth indulging on any bored Sunday afternoon.