Though they had their own intentions, neither Faulkner nor Shakespeare would disagree that internet sensation Snakes on a Plane had both the sound and fury and ultimately signified nothing. That it was almost impossible for critics to review the movie solely based on its cinematic elements upon its release, makes it necessary to review the film on DVD. Long after the hoopla has died.
The film only garnered a 69% on Rotton Tomatoes and though the advanced buzz was so deafening, according to Box Office Mojo it managed to only pull in $14 million it’s opening weekend and a paltry $34 million for its entire run. Unfortunately, the same critics that detested the calculated nature of the film were not wrong. Though the fanboys would have you believe this is a fun, purposely bad movie, void of needing to be reviewed, the Sam Jackson vehicle is just plain bad. The title of the film says it all. Yes, there are snakes on a plane attacking passengers. And that’s about all this has to offer.
The perception of this being a “so-bad-it’s-good” movie makes it impossible for people to A) want to watch it since they feel like they already know what happens and B) still respect Sam Jackson. That I sat through this movie on DVD only makes me want to have those two hours back. For not even the absurdity of the plot, there isn’t any, or the gravitas of Sam Jackson muttering lines like, “What did I tell you when we first met? Stick with me and do what I say and I’ll keep you alive” or the now famous “Get these muthafucking snakes off my muthafucking plane” could save this trainwreck of a movie.
The CGI snakes look fake, not even the slightest bit real, the humor exists on the crux of the absurd plot, (which once you start watching the movie the plot isn’t so absurdly funny as it is absurdly retarded) and the scares are far and few in between. Oddly, the movie is rarely dull and it feels brisk. Since it’s stupidity is a fore gone conclusion, huge plot holes are easily forgiven.
An Asian gangster kills someone with his goons and low and behold a surfer dudes witnesses the murder. Of course he gets away from the bad guys and later that night both Sam Jackson and the gangsters show up at his apartment. Never mind that no one could identify this witness and there is no reason to believe that either the gangsters or the feds would be able to find him so quickly. So the witness and Sam Jackson board a plane to Los Angeles and 30,000 feet into the air reptilian shenanigans take place. Exactly! It really is that retarded. Don’t even get me started about the use of cellphones and cameras while on board the flight (I’ve never been able to get cellphone service) to relay the reptile species to a snake expert. It’s all just harmless fun. Unfortunatley it’s all very stupid as well.
That my buddy Jersey rented Snakes on a Plane from the library two weeks ago and just yesterday wondered, “I’m not sure if I’ll get around to watching the movie. Actually I’m not sure I even want to watch the movie” illustrates the problematic nature of the film.
On the surface one would think it wouldn’t be difficult for people to want to watch an absurd comedy/horror movie starring Sam Jackson featuring killer snakes on an airplane. The idea illicits joy, just mentioning it makes one conjure a silly movie to watch with friends. But the problem is the movie lacks an discernable tone. It’s possible to have both your horror and your comedy, see Scream or even Slither for that matter, but whereas Snakes on a Plane could have been a family-friendly horror movie; the kind of horror movie you take your young cousins to, the kind that’s a little bit scary but mostly it’s just scary enough to get the young ones frightened and laughing, the kind that gets young kids excited about horror films. Instead the filmmakers went back and threw in a ton of unnecessary tits and blood and swearing to ramp up the “cool” factor.
The problem with the movie is the intended audience, the wink-wink ironicly cool hipster set (the audience the adopted this movie from an early stage), only wants to latch on to a movie like this for posterity. Where the filmmakers thought they had a built in audience, that audience was merely using Snakes on a Plane for their own amusement.
It’s not hard to imagine Snakes on a Plane replacing Rocky Horror Picture Show as the new midnight screening favorite at local art house theatres. Even before the movie was released Esquire’s Chuck Klosterman seemed to nail the baggage of the movie. It’s unfortunate that Snakes on a Plane was like that awkward dorky teenager who gets to hang out with the cool kids for once but never realizes the cool kids are just making fun the whole time and certainly never realizes that by abandoning his real friends for a shot at glory he just cost himself. Sort of like Anthony Michael Hall in a John Hughes film.