Friday, August 18, 2006

Snakes... the review

Somehow I feel like my life is now complete. As if the moment I had been waiting for has finally come and gone, and now I emerge, a fresh young man, ready to take on the world, and face down any complications that life seems to throw in my... Who the hell am I kidding? It freakin ruled!

Snakes on a Plane is exactly what you'd expect. It's not very good at all. In fact, it's downright crap-tastic. The acting is pretty bad, save for Samuel L. Jackson, but even he seems a little disappointed. The dialogue is so atrocious, it feels like it was purposefully written that way, and the actors seem to be intentionally acting badly and embracing the cliches. But that's not what the movie's about. You came to see some snakes on a plane, and by God you get some muthaf#*@in snakes on a plane. And after a dreadful twenty minutes that literally introduces every single character (not to mention a scene of the villain that needlessly has him kung fu fighting) in such a mind numbingly dumb fashion they may as well have been wearing nametags stating their main (only) characterization, the snakes finally show up. And man do they show up in style.

The snake attacks are the highlights of the film. They're inventive and fun. The snake vision, anytime it comes on, you get a chuckle. I don;t want to give anything away, but there is a scene involving a dude taking a leak and a snake in the bowl. In fact, most everything in the film elicits guffaws, whether intentional or not. The film's a laugh riot, beginning with the opening sequence of stock footage from Hawaii and never stopping.

In between, there's a lame B plot about Bobby Cannavale (From The Station Agent, which if you have not seen you must go out and rent immediately) trying to track down who put said snakes on aforementioned plane. It's mildly entertaining, but it takes away from the real meat. But it's just as good as the rest of the stuff.

I must take issue with a few things, however. First off, the "efforts on behalf of the fans to make the film more of an R Rating" are pretty weak. Yes, the awesome line about getting the motherflippin snakes off the motherflippin plane was met with uproarious applause when I saw it (and actually cut off the line that followed). But any other time the "f" word is dropped, it's done off screen, and with some pretty poor ADR. HOWEVER, the completely gratutitous sex scene is made even more hilarious because for no reason whatsoever, other than the fact that they're in a rated R movie, the young lusting couple decide to smoke a joint at the same time. I'll repeat that: THEY SMOKE A JOINT WHILE HAVING SEX, AND SOLELY BECAUSE THEY'RE IN AN R-RATED MOVIE. I laughed quite heartily at that.

You know what my main problem with the movie is? It didn't go far enough. I loved the idea of this projecct when Ronny Yu was attached. Yu is the man who brought us two quite underrated genre gems of the 2000s, Freddy vs. Jason and Formula 51 (also starring The Man Jackson). Freddy vs. Jason, while ridiculous for the first half, becomes something transcendentally amazing for the second half. And Formula 51 is so unbelievable that you have no choice but to go along for the ride. Had he been allowed his vision, I'm sure we'd have tons of even more ridiculous scenes. The one that springs to mind would involve Sam Jackson ripping a dead snake in half and fashioning a belt from it.

God is in the details, after all.

Or, there's a character on the plane who's a kickboxer. With Yu in charge, you KNOW there would be a scene involving him running down the aisles kicking as many snakes as humanly possible, with lightning fast speed. As it stands, David Ellis did a decent job.

But Snakes on a Plane delivers exactly what it promises, mostly. It could have gone that extra mile, and been crazy as a shit house rat, but it didn't quite go there. And the ending is kind of weak, and sort of a stockpile of airplane cliches instead of an all out Jackson vs. Snake bloodfest. For what it's worth, though, the movie is a hoot from start to finish. I highly recommend you watch this movie with an audience. That's the best way to get the full experience. Gather a group of friends, go to the theater, and cheer along. There was a lot of applause at the screening I went to this evening, and the crowd was having an awesome time, laughing at the horrible dialogue, cheering on the snakes, and creating this amazing moviegoing experience usually reserved for a film of Star Wars calibre. I hope Snakes on a Plane does midnight shows, involving the tossing of rubber snakes at the screen. Like a more violent Rocky Horror Picture show. You know, only not as annoying as Rocky Horror.

I'm gonna take a lot of grief for that statement, but I stand by my words.

Snakes on a Plane: It's what you thought it was gonna be.

(PS- I realize I didn't really mention anyone in the cast, or even give a plot summary. But everything you need to know is on the poster: Samuel L. Jackson... snakes on a plane.)


Lanz99 said...

You don't know how happy it makes me feel to see that these reviews have overwhelmingly been positive. Critics saying that they were fully expecting a pure turd of a movie, only to be surprised with how it did what it did WELL. Yours was the first review I read yesterday, and it somehow made me feel it'd be the first of many positive reviews. So cool that that was the case. :)


PS Thanks for the linkage! I's honoured.

Becca said...

my boss might be taking us all to SoaP as a field trip!


p.s. monsterhouse 3D was pretty badass

p.p.s. you should include a link to my blog which I promise to start updating soon

Formerly, The Dude Spoke said...

Coolest. Boss. Ever