Snakes on a Plane
All of the internet hype is in this box!

Theatrical Release Date: 08/18/2006
Director: David R. Ellis
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips, Rachel Blanchard, Flex Alexander, David Koechner, Bobby Cannavale, Todd Louiso, Sunny Mabrey, Kenan Thompson

The biggest Internet sensation since “The Blair Witch Project”, “Snakes on a Plane” has lifted off. Please stow your sense of disbelief in the overhead compartment and keep your cheese factor locked in the upright position.

We’ve all seen the trailers. We’ve all heard the hype. And I’m glad to say it’s all pretty much true. I’m not going to bother getting into the specifics about the film making process on this one. Let’s just start with Samuel L. Jackson.

He’s a badass motherfucker.

Okay, on to Julianna Margulies. She plays the smart, capable stewardess on her last flight (omen?). Basically, once the snakes get loose (sorry if I gave away anything) she turns into Nurse Hathaway from “ER” – which worked just fine.

There are also some fun supporting roles provided by fun supporting actors such as David Koechner, Bobby Cannavale, Todd Louiso, Rachel Blanchard, Sunny Mabrey and Kenan Thompson. Enough about them, what about the snakes?

The snakes look good, they move well and they kill a lot. I even have to give a crazy amount of credit to the filmmakers for breaking some of the traditional Hollywood scenarios and allowing certain things to die. I’m sure those of you who know me have heard my rant about more children and animals needing to die in films. (Not in real life, that would be wrong … oh, what do I care?) I don’t want to spoil it but I was marginally surprised (and very elated) about this aspect.

The film unfolds as you would expect. People board a plane. Snakes get loose. People die. Snakes die. Will the plane crash or land safely? Will there be anyone left alive? Yada yada yada. You’re not seeing this film for the story anyway, so what does that matter?

The dialogue is about what you would expect in this type of cheesy, wanna-B-movie. And there are a couple of trademark monologues by Jackson, which warm the cockles of my heart.

I was hoping for more really obvious and stupid lines but if you pay attention to what the passengers are saying in the background, some good fun is to be had. I especially liked when the lights go out on-board the plane and you hear a passenger say “Snakes!”

There are even some scenes that feature “snake-cam”, a greenish tinted view kind of reminiscent of “Predator”. I only wished they would have kept it up for the duration of the film. Snake-cam starts strong but starts to fade in regularity as the film progresses.

Even with all that fun, I do have some other complaints about the film. I wanted more death. I wanted more nudity. I wanted more Samuel L. Jackson yelling as he talks. I wanted the crappy music video they play as the credits roll to die a fiery death and be replaced by either a gag reel or the footage from the set before they added in digital shots of the snakes biting people (though many snakes are real which is a huge plus).

Still, I had a lot of fun and this is the type of film you should see with a packed audience. If you aren’t yelling at the screen and applauding snakebites, you’re not really getting into the spirit of the film.

I realize that reading this review shouldn’t change anyone’s opinion on the film. This is a textbook example of a critic-proof film. You either already want to see it, or have absolutely no interest. I can say that it lives up to the hype fairly well and stays just below that mediocre line in B-movie town. Which is a good thing as far as this film genre is concerned.

It was a great decision to go back and re-shoot some scenes to get the R rating. A PG-13 version would have been far less entertaining. I can only hope that when the DVD comes out, there will be a Sam Jackson Creature Feature Pack offered as well that include “Snakes on a Plane”, “Jurassic Park” and “Deep Blue Sea”. Now there’s a film trilogy I can get behind!

I’m giving “Snakes on a Plane” a 4 out of 5. It’s a very average film but considering all the hype and the beats a film like this is supposed to hit (and it generally does), they did about all they could do.

Buckle up, the snakes are loose and the cheesy, summer fun has finally arrived.