Snakes on a Plane Review
by Alex Billington
August 19, 2006
I hardly need to say much to explain what Snakes on a Plane is (or what it's about, for that matter). The hype surrounding it and the incredibly widespread publicity and marketing has alerted almost every single person to everything they need to know about this movie. Now getting them to see it is an entirely different story.
The Snakes on a Plane showing that I first experienced this adventure at was the 10PM showing at our local theater (as it was not screened for press) where a selection of other die-hard fans made their pilgrimage to the theater to finally experience this long-time-in-the-making phenomenon once and for all. And that experience itself was what made it simply the great movie that it was.
Snakes on a Plane is a certain type of movie that is meant to elicit a certain type of reaction, audience participation, and feeling of entertainment while watching it. It is not a cinematic masterpiece (although some fans may contest that it is). It's rather a cinematic experience. It's categorized as a horror/thriller, and although some people may be horrified by snakes, it was much less a horror/thriller and much more a comedy/action movie. The audience would laugh and cheer at certain parts (such as times when a snake grabbed onto some particular part of a person) and would rarely cringe in fear. It was an enjoyable experience in-theater that could not be the same without the community-based following and connected excitement. The Snakes on a Plane experience in the theater is not only much more enjoyable but also necessary to truly realize "what" Snakes on a Plane is and how great it is.
I'll be honest, Snakes was better than my expectations. It's hard to keep a completely objective mindset when nearly everyone going to the movie is expecting a cheesy and downright horrible move (but good experience). Despite this, Snakes' realism and lack of cheesy elements completely surpassed my expectations. The movie brought a sense of realism (in comparison, unlike the Final Destination series) and solidity to an otherwise adventurous ride on a bumpy aluminum tube. Its flow was smooth and it didn't jump back and forth between confusing and hard-to-follow visuals with bad camera work or otherwise unstructured occurrences. The seclusion of the airplane helped keep all of this together, as there couldn't be people who would disappear or other ridiculous happenings.
Samuel Jackson stole the show but was also supported alongside a fairly strong cast. Kenan Thompson, also known as Fat Albert, performed superbly without an over-exaggerated comedic presence or without being otherwise loud and tacky. The attractive stewardesses played by Julianna Margulies and Sunny Mabrey also fulfilled fairly engaging roles, although at some times a bit too uncomplicated. Nathan Phillips' acting was a bit flaky, reminiscent of the rough job of Shawn Ashmore as Iceman in the X-Men movies.
Although a majority of Snakes was full of intense action sequences and snake-fighting, it did progress somewhat slowly. Some scenes spent more time being emotional and ended up rather dull when all everyone wanted to see is more killing (whether of people or of snakes). There were just a few minor parts of the movie that were just unnecessary, largely the mile-high club scene that was added to help make the movie "R," however the remainder of it fit together perfectly. It would not have been what it was without some of the gore and the language. This is a movie that was made better by being changed to an "R" rating.
You cannot see this movie without going to theater and finding 20 other people who want to have the time of their lives. Snakes is everything it has lived up to be. You'll walk away satisfied seeing a movie that was exactly what you wanted and maybe a little more, maybe a little less, but still some snakes, on a plane, with Samuel Jackson, kicking some snake ass. Definitely go out and see what may be one of the greatest cinematic experiences of this year.
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