19 August 2006

Snakes on a (motherfucking) Plane

(Yes of course I went to opening night. And yes I did dress up in snakewear. And you wish you did too.)

Wow. Really just wow.

If you haven't heard about this movie yet, and haven't been eagerly awaiting its release, you might not really appreciate it. Unless you're excited about seeing the movie just based on its title, the fact that it stars Samuel L. Jackson, and the plot premise (ie, the title). If that doesn't get your engine revving, don't bother going. The movie is camp genius. It's made better by the fact that it's an interactive experience, with the audience cheering, and even shouting along for the most famous lines. It really does testify to the incredible power of the internet.

But back to the movie itself. I expected to love it, but wow. They really pulled out all the stops. I mean, if you're gonna have snakes attacking people, let's face it, they need to be attacking vulnerable spots. Like genitals, nipples, and eyeballs. OH YES. The brilliance of the movie is in the way that it delivers EXACTLY what the audience wants. Stock characters (the goofy surfer dude, the slutty flight attendant, the asshole European, the rap star, the Paris Hilton figure, and of course, A KICKBOXER - yes, I'm using all caps because I'm yelling this gleefully in my head as I type), lots of mean looking snakes (including one seriously awesome anaconda), lots of cheesy dialogue, some breasts, some gore, some suspense, some ridiculous pseudo-science (the pheromones! nooooo!) and seriously, dialogue. They don't hesitate. "This plane will go down faster than a Thai hooker". Genius.

And a sidenote, but at some point in the movie, Samuel L. Jackson makes a joke that hinges on him being black - a great joke - and then suddenly you realize, hey, this is actually a really multi-racial cast. And that seems really cool, until you realize that, Samuel L. Jackson aside, all the non-white characters are total caricatures of racial stereotypes (A KICKBOXER). And then you realize, oh wait, that's because ALL the characters are caricatures of stereotypes. So I guess it's ok in the end.

Also, it's intriguing how the film doesn't just rely on the snakes for suspense and action. There are plenty of other problems, caused by the snakes, to be sure, but still separate from them - like the plane lacking air circulation and everybody sweating bullets, for instance. So when Samuel L. Jackson said it'd be a double whammy for people who are afraid of both snakes and airplanes, he wasn't fucking around. Especially given recent events, I imagine the airline industry is none too thrilled about this film's relief. I mean, don't get me wrong, the movie isn't really scary - though I did kinda jump in my seat a few times - I would describe it more as action-packed. And awesome.

Sure, there are some things that don't quite make sense - like why does he stop using the tazer? But still, the movie is a damn good time. Which is exactly what it intends to be, and boy does it deliver. Hallelujah.

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