Posted in Film Commentary

Review: Snakes on a Plane

Once again, sorry this is a bit late! Woo requested movies! Honestly, these reviews are so much more fun when I get to write them for friends of mine. Amy, here is your review of Snakes on a Plane! I hope everything is going well in AZ!

I’m going to get right into it, this movie is bad. However this movie KNOWS it’s bad. Therefore, it’s bad but in an awesome way (or as VH1 would say, awesomely bad). Most of the dialogue is cheesy and unrealistic, the characters are very stock, typical characters, and some of the scenes are so ridiculous you can’t believe for a brief second that “they” really went there. There are tons of plot-holes simply because filling them would take away the fun. This movie definitely learned something from B horror movies from the 50s. If it’s not scary, make it funny.

Like this. In a movie about a mob-boss murderer who kills his victims in notoriously inhumane ways, what do you do to lighten the tension? Why, stop taking yourselves so seriously and have a snake bite someone’s genitals, that’s what you do!  While you’re at it, have a snake bite a girl in the boob, too (besides, it fits in with one of the unwritten yet golden rules of horror: sluts always die first). The fun doesn’t stop with people dying in oddly hilarious ways, either. Does everyone remember the end, when the main character who was the target of all this nonsense gets bitten and shot?

You know the filmmakers were sitting in a theater somewhere on opening night just waiting for the crowd outrage. After all that has happened, how could they do that to him? Just kidding! He has a bullet-proof vest. Yes, that’s right, the filmmakers are trolls, and I’m sure they enjoyed every minute of making this movie.

Sorry, I just really wanted to point out that this is Taylor Kitsch, aka John Carter (of Mars) and Lieutenant Alex Hopper in Battleship.

Honestly, that is the gist of this entire review, except that it permeates into every part of the film. Next up, the dialogue. I don’t even think I need to remind you of this little gem.

But that is hardly the end of it, my friend. There was also the snake expert who said such wonderful things as “time is tissue”. Get it? The more time they waste the less tissue the people who have been bitten by exotic, poisonous snakes get to keep? Yeah, he says this. I don’t know what’s better, that this line exists or that Neville Flynn (aka Samuel L. Jackson) responds by repeating the line in confusion before looking at the phone like it might take away his ability to pick up women.

Now, the wonderfully bad dialogue doesn’t stop at these, but continues on into the territory of clichés. For instance, Flynn saying to another agent “Come on, this is me you’re talking to. I know you miss it, you miss the action, you’re bored to tears”. I’m actually sort of surprised they managed to cram that many clichés into one sentence and still pull it off. It’s close, it definitely comes off as corny and unnecessary, but it still works somehow. Of course, there is also the oft-repeated “Do as I say and you live”, not to be outdone by its partner in crime “What was the first thing I ever said to you?” Again, this movie knows how bad it is, so it doesn’t matter that these clichés are thrown around with reckless abandon. It’s part of what makes this movie so great!

There is one thing about this movie that I think brings the “awesomely bad” full circle, however. The whole point of the film is that Sean needs to testify against a raging murderous mob-boss and the guy attempts to assassinate him so he can’t succeed. The plane lands, everyone that matters is safe, and what do we see?

Of course the film isn’t going to show the trial, that would be silly. But consider this: if Eddie Kim went through so much trouble to attempt killing him before he even got to LA, why should we assume that the trial went smoothly? The trial could probably be a movie in and of itself. Yet the last shot requires suspension of disbelief, the assumption that everything went smoothly. That Eddie Kim is in jail, and a FBI agent has nothing better to do than take surfing lessons from a bro he had to protect from a bunch of poisonous snakes that one time. If you know you’re movie is bad, this is exactly the sort of ending you want. The nondescript ending that doesn’t actually answer any questions. Did the little boy who was flying with his older brother live? Did Sean ever call that flight attendant? Exactly how much jail time did Eddie Kim get? Were the bodies of the dead who were sucked out of the plane during the last, almost futile attempt to rid the plane of snakes ever found? A good movie might try to answer a few of these, or at least leave enough options for the audience to decide for themselves. A bad movie that knows how bad it is will tell you “forget about it, here, have a margarita” and hope that you shrug and join the party.

I joined the party a long time ago, as far as Snakes on a Plane is concerned. I was one of the many who attended a midnight showing at my local movie theater. A guy in the crowd who worked at the local Hot Topic started an answer-back chant of Samuel Jackson’s name as the movie started, people brought toy snakes with them, and there was much cheering and laughing hysterically. There are plenty of movies that make me laugh by going over the top, but none make fun of themselves in the process as much as this film does. Snakes on a Plane gets an A in my book almost exclusively because it knows how to laugh at itself and not make everyone else in the room feel awkward.

Note: I am shocked that there are no decent scenes from this movie that aren’t “the line” and the Cobra Starship music video on YouTube. Thus, I leave you with BUNNIES!

Snakes on a Plane in 30 Seconds, with Bunnies: