Friday, February 5, 2016

Snakes On A Plane Review (Classic Write-Up)

The fervor surrounding Snakes On A Planes upon its initial theatrical release is, in hindsight, kind of extraordinary. All of the social platforms we use in frequent capacity today were either nonexistent or still in their infancy (keep in mind, when Snakes On A Plane came out in August 2006, Twitter was only a month old and Tumblr was six months away from existing at all), yet, this film spread like wildfire across the web. It wasn't the first feature film to garner the intense interest of the denizens of the interwebs, but its memorably outrageous title made it a kid of online phenomenon like few other films at the time.

All of that hype didn't manage to turn the creature feature into a particularly impressive box office performer though, and watching it a decade later, it's not hard to see why. While few movies could have lived up to the buzz generated prior to its release, Snakes On A Plane, taken completely on its own merits, is such a dull slog to sit through. How on Earth a movie where Samuel L. Jackson fights snakes on an aerial form of transportation ends up being this monotonous is endlessly perplexing, but the proof is in the pudding, or should I say, within the glaring flaws of the movie itself.

Snakes On A Plane kicks off its running time by having FBI agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) escorting Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) on a plane ride from Hawaii to California so Sean can testify against a major crime boss. The crime boss in question loads up the plane Flynn and Jones are traveling on with poisonous snakes, which are now picking up passengers one by one. And boy howdy, does the film wanna emphasize each and everyone of those airplane passengers in question, to the point where there are so many goddamn characters the film is trying to establish in the short amount of time prior to the plane taking off that tedium began to sit in with me prior to the half hour mark.

Basically, there's too much screentime spent on establishing the other individuals on the plane, which wouldn't be a problem necessarily if some of those people they were introducing were interesting and not just trite horror movie stock characters (would it surprise you to know that a couple having sex in the airplane bathroom as well as a snooty older dude get taken out by snakes?). Couldn't we have spent more time with Samuel L. Jackson doing bad-ass things? He doesn't even fight too many of the snakes, save for a sequence where he's trying to fix the planes A/C. Since there's not even inventive snake carnage being dished out (most of the deaths feel like they were plucked straight out of Anaconda) to distract prospective viewers, the striking shortcomings in the scripts "characters" become all the more apparent.

While all those foibles are quite lackluster, easily the worst part of Snakes On A Plane comes in its climax, which is entirely devoid of the titular reptilian critters. Instead, it focuses on Kenan Thompsons character (whose had five lines, tops, prior to this finale) suddenly becoming super important and needing to land the aircraft. This entire sequence looks so cheap and tonally out of place with everything that's preceded it, and the fact that it feels so extraneous to the overall plot is only the icing on the cake. To say the very least, Snakes On A Plane was not worth all of the internet based hype.

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