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Overall Rating
3.26

Awesome28.3%
Worth A Look: 25.79%
Average: 10.69%
Pretty Bad: 14.47%
Total Crap: 20.75%

14 reviews, 75 user ratings


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Snakes on a Plane
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by Todd LaPlace

"Ignore the hype. Enjoy the fun."
4 stars

Even now, after I’ve finished by “Snakes on a Plane” review and double checked spellings and quotes against Internet sources, I have to admit that I’ve never been to the popular snakesonablog.com. Nor have I visited any Web site selling homemade “SoaP” T-shirts. I have zero interest in following the pop culture phenomenon elements of “Snakes on a Plane,” choosing instead to focus solely on the picture itself. I don’t want to watch your parody on YouTube. I don’t want to buy your shoddy merchandise. I don’t want to hear about how long ago you embraced the trend and I don’t want to hear you insist that you heard about it first. Because after seeing how fun the movie turned out to be, I’m angry I missed out on my chance to get in on the ground floor.

It was more than a year ago, most likely about a year and a half, when I first read about a little movie called “Snakes on a Plane.” It was as the movie was entering either pre-production or production — it was most likely a notice that Samuel L. Jackson had joined the cast, but I can’t be sure anymore — and I believe my exact reaction was, “Really?” For a movie about a bunch of snakes being released on a plane, the title is arguably a little too on the nose. But while others say cheesy, I say concise, because my second reaction was definitely, “Nice.”

And I’m apparently not the only one. Jackson gained some extra cred when he told reporters, “That’s the only reason I took the job: I read the title.” It appears that everyone got, except the studio, which inexplicably changed the title to “Pacific Air Flight 121,” perhaps the worst cinematic misstep since J.Lo and “Gigli.” The actual content of the movie may have been the same no matter what the title, although I suspect much of my enjoyment of “Snakes on a Plane” stems from the pointed title. There’s lots of snakes and they’re on a plane; what more do you need to know?

Unlike other “classic,” more long winded, unspecific like “The Manchurian Candidate” — huh? — and “Gone with the Wind” — what? — “Snakes on a Plane” offers neither pretensions nor subtlety. Taking a long enough break from surfing to enjoy a strategically marketed Red Bull energy drink — it gives you wings, so stock up today, eager young consumers — Sean (Nathan Jones) is the only witness to a brutal mob hit and Agent Flynn (Jackson) is assigned the task of protecting him on a flight from Hawaii to California so he can testify at the mob boss’ trial. Then…well…you know the rest; snakes on a plane.

With director David Ellis’ pension for grainy, poorly lit footage and a hazy, green-tinted “snake vision cam,” one could make a substantial argument that the picture is little more than a B-grade thriller, and I could be inclined to agree. It’s certainly far enough over the top and amateur to warrant such a dismal distinction, but I tend to think that’s overreaching a little bit. That is not to say, however, that I think it’s the least bit A-list (it is, after all, a movie about snakes on a plane for chrisake). Instead, the film should be called mainstream fringe with touches of B-grade, most commonly referred to as the cult film. Traditionally, cult films are not made per se, but evolve from crazy, mainstream flops. There’s just something about the high cheese factor that tends to grab large sections of the population, whether explicably (“Donnie Darko”) or inexplicably (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”). “Snakes on a Plane” is different, though, because except for a few misguided studio execs, the title alone is designed to put butts in theater seats — Jackson could read the encyclopedic definitions for several dozen variety of snakes while taking the red eye from LA to NYC, but if it was called “Snakes on a Plane,” I’d probably still go. All they had to do was get Jackson to yell at some motherfuckin’ snakes while riding on a plane, and the rest has sold itself.

Still don’t buy “Snakes on a Plane” as the cementer of “cult” as a new genre? It’s actually pretty easy to see when you look at the facts. With the exception of Jackson (who is already both a mainstream and cult star), the cast is comprised of a who’s who of “that guy from that thing that time” actors. Former “ER” nurse Juliana Margulies joins another cult mainstay, the always delightful Lin Shaye, as doomed flight attendants, and the secondary character list includes appearances by numerous other TV vets, including “Clueless’s” Rachel Blanchard, current “SNL-er” Kenan Thompson, former “SNL-er” David Koechner, Bobby Cannavale from “Third Watch” and frequent UPN star Flex Alexander. The names might not mean much, but at least a few of the faces are sure to be familiar. All you really have to do is pick them out from the usual suspects, a line up of character clichés that include the annoying socialite, the pompous rapper, a pair of innocent kids, an employee one day from retirement and a couple joining the Mile High Club (although their rendezvous is cut short by a snake bite to the boob). They’ve even saddled Jackson with a partner (Mark Houghton) that is not only less famous (you were dead before you even stowed your luggage), but full of useful explanations at a moment’s notice. When the snakes start their killing spree, the agent turns to Flynn and calmly says they missed the snakes in the FBI’s sweep of the plane because they’re cold-blooded creatures.

But believe me when I say that it was never my intention to chastise “Snakes on a Plane” for fulfilling its cult destiny. Sure, it’s rough, amateur and honestly rather poor, but its innocuous charm is hard to ignore. Going into this type of genre picture — especially one titled “Snakes on a Plane” — it’s expected that the film won’t be a masterpiece in the grand scheme of cinematic history; that’s not its function and shouldn’t be judged solely by those standards. One of the elements that a typical film would have included was more focus on the mob boss; his ticks, his habits, his attempts to allude the authorities. The movie would attempt to be insightful by offering a window into the dark, and apparently inventive, world of organized crime, but no genre picture would indulge in such trivialities. After the initial set up, the criminals are forgotten and the movie settles into its story about Sean, Flynn and a hellova lotta snakes on a plane, which is exactly what we’re all craving.

I have an acquaintance (more accurately, a friend of a friend) who made his own “SoaP” shirt and is featured in a book about the pre-movie hype. I guarantee I heard about the movie well before him, but all I thought to do was turn the title into my own enigmatic statement of frustration and comfort (which apparently gained notoriety on some screenwriter’s blog). So much foresight, so little exertion.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15043&reviewer=401
originally posted: 08/20/06 16:29:00
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User Comments

6/22/15 David Hollingsworth I wouldn't even recommend this for dogs. 1 stars
7/10/11 Dr.Lao FIlm makers showing their honest contempt for their audience 1 stars
7/10/11 Jennifer Barr alright, although it just seemed so predictible thru out 3 stars
12/26/10 Blue Shark Dude ... The people who don't get it are Republicans anyway ... so no loss. 5 stars
6/01/10 User Name Snakes On A Plane aims low, and hits lower. 2 stars
10/25/09 Miss Snake The best fun a movie could offer. The fake looking CGI snakes are hysterically funny. 4 stars
7/25/09 Jeff Wilder Works better if you view it as a comedy rather than as a thriller. 3 stars
11/20/08 PAUL SHORTT EVEN IF VIEWED ENTIRELY ON ITS OWN TERMS, THIS FILM, LIKE ANY SNAKE, TAPERS AT ITS END 2 stars
3/07/08 SamanthaPayntr it definitely delivered, there were snakes and they were on a plane, pretty good stuff 3 stars
7/27/07 TreeTiger A piece of cinematic shit - I recommend... Anything BUT this... 1 stars
7/11/07 Tiffany Losco I thought it was ok, but I didn't like the blonde bimbo in the bathroom 2 stars
4/02/07 CAB I was expecting Leslie Nielsen to show up at any minute… 2 stars
3/29/07 Your mom Assholes, this movie is the worst shit ever.STUPID. ASS. HOLES. 1 stars
2/27/07 Asian God 94 The BEST B-grade horror movie of all time! Compulsary Viewing 5 stars
2/19/07 JM Synth No where near as fun, or silly, as it should have been 3 stars
2/14/07 Prada it was sooo.. bad it was actually good 3 stars
2/05/07 MickT Samuel L. Jackson is the biggest sell-out EVER!! what a piece of shit this film is!!! 1 stars
2/03/07 Indrid Cold Upside: it's as exciting as a snakes/planes movie could possibly be. Downside: ditto. 3 stars
2/02/07 Anthony Feor People expect us to take this movie seriously? 0.5/5 1 stars
1/22/07 Matt It should be clasified as COMEDY 5 stars
1/19/07 Jeff Brown pitiful 1 stars
1/14/07 Sugarfoot It felt like an Airport sequel. Overall not as fun as I thought it would be. 2 stars
1/09/07 Matt Get a life, have a laugh - this is FUN,FUN,FUN! 4 stars
12/10/06 JoKimiKo the movie is AwsOme but ur REviEw! is craP 1 stars
11/18/06 Lerker You are the worst reveiwer. Ever. 1 stars
11/17/06 Nick So, you gave Borat 1 Star, but SOAP 5 Stars? I do not comprehend your thought process. 3 stars
11/11/06 Serge Piece of crap IMO. Snakes on crack...har har. 2 stars
10/28/06 DIANA a movie to watch on tv if nothing else to watch 2 stars
10/25/06 Drew G So bad it was good... 3 stars
10/13/06 Erin Get out of the mud u sticks, it was great fun!!! 4 stars
10/09/06 Mike Nothing great to me. Something to watch if really bored. 2 stars
9/30/06 NiCk Great movie! Was Pulp Fiction good because of its plot? 5 stars
9/21/06 malcolm awful, but a lot of damn fun 3 stars
9/13/06 Edward Connell A purposefull movie that will lead you on an adventure in excitement and possibility. 4 stars
9/12/06 Louise Good fun and a pretty tense ride!!! 4 stars
9/12/06 Michael Coovert Samuel Jackson's stock just plumeted in my book!! Total schtick and effects fodder!!! 1 stars
9/12/06 Kevin Ramsay "Snakes On A Plane" is pure fun. Don't take it too seriously, though. 5 stars
9/11/06 Aaron This move was a blast! 4 stars
9/03/06 Christopher Stucky The hype WAS the story. The movie was an afterthought. 1 stars
9/02/06 Stubby If you all were any stupider, you'd have to be told when to breathe. Kill yourselves. 1 stars
8/31/06 Christine it was soooooo awesome I want to see it over and over again 5 stars
8/28/06 Serina Boccello COME ON!! who honestly wants to see THIS movie!! SNAKES AGGHHH!!! 2 stars
8/28/06 Grant Funny, well acted, stupid jokes, scenes and endless funny deaths. 5 stars
8/27/06 Alan Snakes on a Plane happens 5 stars
8/26/06 Mike D Only movie I've seen in this year that got a standing ovation from the entire theater! 5 stars
8/26/06 michael average and wait for the DVD 4 stars
8/26/06 Stanley Thai Still an average thriller without the famous title. Nothing special. 3 stars
8/26/06 Alex Thorne does exactly what it says on the tin. gruesomly marvellous 4 stars
8/25/06 Robert Blanton Mr. Souter nailed this snake right on the head! 2 stars
8/25/06 Zaw Snakes bites.. lol 5 stars
8/24/06 philip Corcos corcos 5 stars
8/23/06 Centipedes "Snakes? On MY plane?" It's more likely than you think. 5 stars
8/23/06 Quigley much more violent than I thought; sex scene pointless; but Sam Jackson and the snakes rock 4 stars
8/22/06 A. Shah The best time I've had in a movie since I was a kid. I'm now 33. 5 stars
8/22/06 Pn. 1000 fanboys collaborated on the script. That it's schwag should surpise no one. 2 stars
8/22/06 danthewrestlingman Snakes On A Motherfuckin Plane Beeoch Nuff Said 5 stars
8/22/06 Ole Man Bourbon Not enough snakes. JIMMIE BELLE TURN OFF YOUR GODDAMN CAPS LOCK. 3 stars
8/22/06 JIMMIE BELLE REALISM. CAN THIS SCENE REALLY TAKE PLACE? WILL EVERYONE ON THE PLANE BEHAVE LIKE THIS? 5 stars
8/22/06 Sammy J. This movie is the most balla shit eva! 5 stars
8/22/06 Harold You are all tools. 1 stars
8/21/06 Captain Highcrime Not since the glory days of "Married...with Children" have audiences been so boisterous. 5 stars
8/21/06 Jeff Martin Awesome movie, great fun and entertainment, brianorndorf is full of crap in his review 5 stars
8/20/06 ajay go in a packed theatre of nerds who "get it". Otherwise, it's horrible. 4 stars
8/20/06 ray best time i've had at the movies in years. great cinema? maybe not. still fun. 5 stars
8/19/06 Alex S AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME 5 stars
8/19/06 Nads Snakes on a muthafuckin' PLANE! 5 stars
8/19/06 KingNeutron Decent; some really scary parts. Take S.O. to see it. 4 stars
8/19/06 Jesus WAAAY better than expected... ridiculous, stupid, and amazing! 1 stars
8/19/06 Keith This movie was boring. What is up with Snakes on a plane who cares. A total waste of money. 1 stars
8/19/06 Kent Battersby Best. Movie. Ever...SNAKE VISION!!! 5 stars
8/19/06 Adrian It's fun. It's that simple. No thinking, no shit liek that, just fun. 5 stars
8/18/06 Joe Baldwin The audience makes all the difference. Laughter and applause filled the room for 2 hours. 5 stars
8/18/06 Andrew The most fun I've had in a theatre... EVER. 5 stars
8/18/06 Doug Higley Absolute BEST B Horror Ever. Total Fun at breakneck pacing. 5 stars
8/18/06 Squibner Welch Fantastic fun 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Aug-2006 (R)
  DVD: 02-Jan-2007

UK
  18-Aug-2006

Australia
  24-Aug-2006




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