10 Years: “Snakes on a Plane”

  Cult films. I’ll never truly understand them, but I’ll most definitely be more interested. When they also happen to be of the B-movie nature and absolutely ridiculous, I’m even more on board than ever before! If done well, they’ll be as stupid as you expect, but worth it and so much fun!

The New Line Cinema film “Snakes on a Plane”, is as silly as they come and somehow better for it.

This comedy thriller stars Samuel L. Jackson (upcoming “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”, “Cell” ), Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”, “Stand Up Guys”), Nathan Phillips (“Hunters”, “The Bridge”), Bobby Cannavale (“Vinyl”, “Spy”), Flex Alexander (“Grandma’s House”, “Master’s of Sex”), Todd Louiso (“Angie Tribeca”, “Togetherness”), Sunny Mabrey (“Still the King”, “Reckless”), Kenan Thompson (upcoming film and season “Brother Nature”, “Saturday Night Live”), Rachel Blanchard (“You Me Her”, “Another Period”), Lin Shaye (upcoming “Ouija: Origin of Evil”, “American Gothic”), David Koechner (upcoming “Priceless”, “Another Period”), and Elsa Pataky (“Furious 7”, “The Wine of Summer”).

The film is directed by David R. Ellis (“Shark Night 3D”, “The Final Destination”) and written by John Heffernan and Sebastian Gutierrez (“Hotel Noir”, “Girl Walks Into a Bar”).

The film originally opened on Aug. 18, 2006.

I never thought I’d be excited to see this film again. It’s not because I disliked it or wasn’t sure what I thought about it the first time. It’s more that I can’t recall my first experience with this film. All I know is that hype led me to want to see it a lot more. This time around, it’s two different reasons. I haven’t seen it in awhile and I thought, since I’m an even bigger fan of snake, monster, and creature films, not to mention B-movies, than I was 10 years ago, this might make for an amazing experience! Second is the fact that it’s 10 years old. WOW!! How did that happen? I’m truly beginning to feel old here. Thankfully that didn’t stop me from enjoying this film and wishing I’d bought a copy some time ago.

In a film like this, you only need one thing. Snakes. The actors could be any actor, any level and it wouldn’t matter. Of course, this film was supposed to be a hit, so lesser known actors couldn’t be the top billing. But, the creatives behind this film did a decent job of bringing to life the antagonists of this film. The snakes! These snakes are CGI and animatronics, and if it’s to be believed, even some were real. But no, they weren’t deadly, but that’s still cool. The CGI snakes, well, they looked bad at times and were obviously fake. Were they overly distracting because of this? Not at all! You’d spot this aspect, cringe and then move on. There was mayhem going on! People were being bitten and dying!!

In this case, it’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy these deaths. If we can enjoy and get excited for the “Saw” franchise deaths, why not this film’s? These deaths were also bloody at times, but I didn’t feel that they were overly bloody. Probably the right amount. Even when some of them seemed to be a bit gruesome, I’d just think on how I’d seen worse deaths, even in SyFy Original Movies, which are far worse than this. While these attacks weren’t overly thrilling or anything like that, they manage to keep me interested and I somehow enjoyed them all the more, especially as the sequences didn’t happen quickly. Prolonged snake killings have never been this much fun!

When I went into this film I don’t think I expected it to be funny. Perhaps funny from all the stupidity that would come about, but not like it was intentional. This film was actually kind of funny, even if some of the jokes were groan inducing. Either way, these jokes, or attempts at jokes, made it all the more enjoyable! This is definitely another reason why this film is a cult classic, and why it got there quite quickly. For me, I found most of the humor, not just from the stupid actions of the stupid characters, but because some of the dialogue was actually funny. A few lines just had me loving that, even before this film turned out to be a flop, it never was aiming to be a serious film. The creatives all knew from the beginning that they needed to have fun with this. They certainly did. That, and they might not actually be good writers.

Regardless of their writing abilities, they did write three lines that had me laughing, even when I shouldn’t.

“Coach? Is it safe?” Simple, yet funny. I couldn’t help but laugh.

The passenger who is going to use the restroom says to his penis, “How’s my big boy?” My first thought, after I laughed, which I couldn’t believe either, was “oy”. That’s how dumb it was.

And then, of course, the best known line from this whole movie, which I had to pay attention to so I wouldn’t miss it, “I have had it with these mother fuckin’ snakes, on this mother fuckin’ plane!” Classic! Doesn’t get better than that, and it’s even better because Jackson is the actor who says it. Even if another big name actor had taken the role and said the exact same line, it wouldn’t be as awesome as when Jackson says it. Well, unless it had been Morgan Freeman.

I expected the acting to be far worse. I don’t know why. I don’t think I had a real reason to expect bad acting, especially from Jackson, but somehow I did. I guess it’s just the title that says you should expect bad acting. Fortunately, that’s not what I got. The acting was good. It shouldn’t have been surprising when you look at the talent. Jackson and Margulies are two of the most talented people, today and 10 years ago, but the other actors weren’t bad at all. There may have been some less than stellar moments, but I actually can’t recall any, as I don’t think I noticed any. Maybe they don’t actually exist. If only all creature or snake films could have this level of acting. Do I cry a bit inside when I think of who all’s in this film? Yes, but I don’t see many of them hurt by the decision to be in this. Perhaps they too knew, before it flopped, that this was just a ridiculous film. That in order for them to do their jobs well, they needed to just take it for the film it was. A film about snakes on a plane.

Creature films have been around for ages. The expectation that they be good, well I can’t speak to that. If you’re throwing in big name actors and building up massive hype, the expectation is that it will be good and well worth it. This one may not have been, which is a shame in some ways, but that doesn’t mean it’s not any good. Of course your level of good will need to change, if not, you’re bound to be supremely disappointed. This second time around, I knew what to expect, and I feel I was rewarded! If only all creature films could achieve this level. I may truly enjoy each and every one. Until that time, I’ll take the hits and the many misses when they come.


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