Monday, August 21, 2006

MiniReview: Snakes On A Plane

Snakes on a Plane is quite possibly the best movie ever to tackle the subject of snakes on a plane.

Without giving too much away, the movie is basically about snakes. On a plane. Really!

OK, OK...seriously, the movie delivered. Even with all of the internet hype surrounding the movie, I wasn't disappointed in the least. I went in expecting not some deep, thought provoking essay on the struggle between man, serpent & the mastery of the skies, but instead, an entertaining, cheesy movie. And really, isn't that all we really want from a movie? If I want to relive the horror of 9/11, all I have to do is close my eyes & remember. I don't need Nicholas Cage there to tell me the story. If I want to watch an old TV show, I'll catch it on TV Land or Nick At Night. I don't need someones 'reimagining' of what was, in the case of most shows, a silly or threadbare premise to begin with. All I wanted was to see Samuel L. Jackson be his own bad self & shoot some snakes. Oh, yeah, & to hear him utter the line.

Mission accomplished!

Now, mind you, this probably won't be making its way into my DVD collection. While it was a fun movie, it's not (for me at least) something that I'd watch over & over again. It was one of the 'event' movies of the summer, nothing more. I'd go see it again in the theatre maybe once, but then that'd be it. While I expected profanity (it's Samuel L. Jackson, c'mon), the carpet F-bombing in the movie gets a little old after awhile (hey, Hollywood - is there a chance we could retire that word for awhile? It's kind of lost its sting). The violence was pretty gruesome (although I suspect not nearly as bad as, say, Saw or Hostel or others of their ilk) & if you have a phobia about snakes, well, why on earth would you want to see this in the first place? If you didn't have one before seeing the movie, though, you might afterward.

The premise of the story is OK. The whole snake element requires not just a suspension of disbelief, but a complete expulsion of it, as the actions of the titular reptiles are so completely over the top. Sometimes that was a bit of a distraction. More than a few times, I found myself thinking "That's not right" or "That wouldn't work that way," only to end up reminding myself that, oh yeah, this was a movie about snakes on a plane, & promptly shutting off the logic center of my brain. The movie never treated the audience like they were idiots, though. Even with the most unbelievable situation happening on the screen before me, I never felt like the makers of the movie were saying "The audience is too stupid to know that this or that isn't possible." It felt more like they wanted us in on the whole absurdity of it all. Like they were telling us an incredibly ridiculous story & then saying "Wasn't that so cool?!".

So, for all of the critics out there complaining about the movie being overhyped & disappointing, all I can say is quit taking things so seriously. For once, a movie comes out that is totally without pomposity. It doesn't take itself seriously. It doesn't insult your intelligence by attempting to be something that it's not.

My advice, for those of you planning on seeing it, is to let the goofiness of the movie simply wash over you. Don't try to overthink it. Don't think much about it at all.

And you'll probably want to keep your feet off the floor, too.

3.5 Flicking Forked Tongues out of 5