276 – Snakes on a Plane

There’s been a bucketload of hype over this movie, and for my money it’s mostly deserved. Of course, a few years from now it’s not likely the movie will be thought of as anything more than a cult classic, if that, but for the moment we’re in the midst of a phenomenon.

Some have said that the best part of this movie is its title. But no! The best thing is Samuel L. Jackson, for if it weren’t for his lending gravitas to the situation, this would be an entirely forgettable movie. Jackson, as he’s done in just about every one of the zillion movies in which he’s appeared, raises the level of the movie a notch or two every time he opens his mouth.

Quick backstory: Jackson, playing FBI Agent Flynn, is transporting Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips), a witness to a murder, from Hawaii to Los Angeles. The thug against whom Jones will testify, it seems, has a reputation for doing nasty things to those who would testify against him, but somehow Flynn convinces Jones to take the trip east, and on the plane they go.

Before the plane takes off, we meet, in typical disaster-movie fashion, the crew and some of the other passengers, including a flight-phobic man and his wife, a a Paris Hilton-like young woman (and her teeny-tiny dog), two young boys travelling alone, an obnoxious Rich White Man, and a rap mogul and his bodyguards. Oh, and the lecherous copilot (David Koechner) and the standard this-is-my-last-time-out flight attendant, played by Juliana Margulies.

The snakes show up a good half hour into the movie. Which is understandable, since it’s kind of important to establish characters. Who would turn out to behave above and beyond the call of civic duty? Who would cower? Whose death, indeed, would we openly root for?

But then the snakes do arrive onscreen, and all hell breaks loose. People get bitten on the EYE. The eye, folks, the eye! Ow! And on the butt, and the groin, and the leg, and.. well, you get the idea. Hardly a body part is left unnibbled, really, and that’s part of the entertainment.

All kinds of snakes are on the plane, too, including one 22-foot behemoth. Flynn radios to LA so that maybe antivenom could be waiting for them when they finally land. Only, see, because there are so many different snakes, each with a different kind of venom, that’s a tall order. Ah, but worry not, there’s some deus ex machina at work, so that potential plothole is quickly sealed.

Some of the movie reminded me of The Poseidon Adventure, only the plane’s never upside down. Rather, people are herded into the upper-deck first class (previously inhabited only by Jones, the witness), merely because it’s the only place the snakes haven’t yet reached.

Jackson adds a lot to the movie. Verily, he IS the movie; his charisma completely carries the film. It’s true that the man hardly ever turns down scripts, which means sometimes he’s in some utterly awful movies, but he still manages to come out of them all with his reputation as being the baddest mutha in Hollywood intact. Even when he’s tender, he’s a badass. That’s Samuel L. Jackson. He’s just what this movie needed.

The film does earn some demerits, though. For one thing, I think it could have been campier; sometimes it felt like it was going for a straightfaced plane-in-peril vibe, and other times it was a parody of such films. Other than that, though, I thought it was wildly entertaining, even nail biting. Harrowing moment: When the door to the cockpit opens and all you see are raindrop missles coming at the plane – and the pilots are incapacitated.

***

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6 Responses to “276 – Snakes on a Plane”

  1. SPER Says:

    😮

    SNAKES ON A PLANE

  2. frothy Says:

    Jakes on a Plane!

  3. wabbs Says:

    When I saw the initial promos of this, was wondering how they would explain the snakes…….. as snakes are not native in HI, nor or they allowed there, except under extremely guarded circumstances. But then, what movie has a plot that makes a hell of a lot of sense? 🙂

    Seriously, sounds like one I am going to go see now, ass like Jackson and the other offerings now are pretty slim, until the holidays.

  4. wabbs Says:

    edit to bove:

    Seriously, sounds like one I am going to go see now, as I like Jackson and the other offerings now are pretty slim, until the holidays.

  5. frothy Says:

    Heh, just had to correct the “ass” part, huh?

    They explain it kind of haphazardly; it’s part of the deus ex machina I mentioned in the review. They do mention that none of the snakes are indigenous to Hawaii, though.

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    276 – Snakes on a Plane

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