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Posted at 12:48 AM ET, 08/18/2006

The 'Snakes' Are Here

By Jen Chaney

Let's get one thing straight: "Snakes on a Plane" is a not a great movie.

The acting is consistently one-dimensional. The premise, as the title suggests, is beyond ludicrous. And the musical score is so unsophisticated that it makes the Axel F theme from "Bevery Hills Cop" sound remarkably fresh and innovative.

Yet, somehow, watching "Snakes on a Plane"? A totally great experience.

It helps to see a sold-out late show on opening night at the AMC Loews Georgetown, which was packed with teenage and college-age fans who already were stoked well before the first reptile revealed its beady little eyes. These kids applauded feverishly for virtually anything: The opening titles, the first appearance of Samuel L. Jackson, the plane's take-off, every snake attack and, of course, that much-awaited line of dialogue, "I have had it with these mother [bleeping] snakes on this mother [bleeping] plane!" Oh, and the "Borat" trailer. They really loved that, too.

As for "SoaP," it's basically everything that months and months of incessant Internet buzz led us to expect. The plot essentials: A surfer dude in Hawaii accidentally witnesses a murder committed by well-known assassin Eddie Kim. After some persuasion by FBI tough guy Nelville Flynn (Jackson, natch) Surfer Dude agrees to testify against Kim in L.A. Why L.A.? Because if Surfer Dude didn't have to go there, he wouldn't have to get on a plane. Hello? Keep up.

Anyhoo, long story short, the assassin and his cronies manage to sneak several hundred exotic snakes onto a South Pacific Air flight, get the venemous suckers all hopped up on pheromones, then let them loose amongst an unsuspecting group of passengers.

All manner of human body parts get bitten including, but not limited to, a few necks, a hand, a backside, an eyeball, a female breast and a man's privates. (Lesson learned: Check the toilet for snakes BEFORE you go to the bathroom.) These passengers aren't wimps, though. They're willing to fight back using whatever means necessary: Axes, fire extinguishers, karate chops and, in one touching homage to the movie "Gremlins," a microwave oven. By movie's end, the death count lands somewhere between 10 and 15 by my estimate, not counting the dog and the cat. But I may have forgetten a corpse or two, what with all the yelling and confusion ... and that was just from the audience in the theater.

In short, "Snakes on a Plane" is pure escapist fun and absolutely nothing more. If I had happened upon it while flipping through cable channels at home, I might have turned it off after the first hour. But in a crowded theater, the whole thing is a big, semi-gory, campy, mother [bleeping] gas. I mean, where else can you hear actor Bobby Cannavale announce, "I can't believe I'm saying this but I need the best poisonous snake expert in this time zone"? I'll tell you this: He sure didn't get to utter dialogue like that in "The Station Agent."

By Jen Chaney  | August 18, 2006; 12:48 AM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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This movie has to be hilarious. I can't believe someone actually made a movie about Snakes on a Plane. If I was Samuel L. Jackson, I'd probably sign up based on the title. However, after all the paltry remakes of older movies and television shows, this has to be a breath of fresh air.

Posted by: Ron | August 18, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

YEAH! I cant wait to see it...On HBO...

Posted by: Joe D. | August 18, 2006 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"Axel F" was my masterpiece. Cut it some slack.

Posted by: Harold Faltermeyer | August 18, 2006 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Well, I've kept many types of snakes through the years and know them well. Seen the trailer for this movie and most of the real snakes (as oposed to the computer generated ones) seem to be harmless corn or bull snakes . . . which are dangerous only if you are a rodent. Pretty cheesy . . .

Posted by: Mike | August 18, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Absurd premise. Plane is at cruising altitude. Turn off the cabin heating system. Cold blooded reptiles stop moving. Kill or capture snakes. The end. Roll credits.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

well OF COURSE it's an absurd premise, you idiot! that's the point! Get in a cold, dark room with strangers, check your brain at the door, and be entertained!

Posted by: lighten up | August 18, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

great movie

Posted by: teddy | August 18, 2006 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Next "Title Creates Movie" title please.

Posted by: Fred English | August 18, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Mart | August 18, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Check out the soundtrack, it is awesome as well

Posted by: D-Dawg | August 18, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

why does this review now make me want to see it???

Posted by: not bluto | August 18, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Samuel Jackson DID sign up to do this movie based on the title and when they tried to change it, reportedly said they had to change it back or he wouldn't do it. Still I won't see it no matter how much fun. It's the "snake thing" - I would have nightmares for the rest of my life.

Posted by: Nancy Briggs | August 18, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Say snakes again. SAY SNAKES AGAIN. I dare you, I double dare you, mother (bleeping). Say snakes one more (bleeping) time.

Posted by: Jules | August 18, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Children with Computers

Posted by: Leroy Lewis | August 18, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Hate to say it, especially without seeing the flick, but it sounds like Dick Cheney might be moonlighting as the producer of this fear flick. Anyhoo, way back in the 70's there was a really horrible B-movie called "Snakes." (I think that is what it was called.) The folks packed us into the car and off to the drive-in we went. Of course, there was no CG at that time - defanged the buggers I suppose - in any event, it was really cheesy even for a 12-year old. What's Sam Jackson thinking today?

Posted by: William Heishman | August 18, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

If you loved Snakes on a Plane, you *have* to see Tale Sting. Think SoaP but instead of snakes we have giant radio active scorpions. So excellent. Here's a fun tip: try making a drinking game out of every time you see stock footage, an ethnic stereotype, or (of course) a giant scorpion.

Posted by: tailstinger | August 18, 2006 9:49 AM | Report abuse

This worst part of all this isn't the movie itself - it's going to be the coutless spinoffs and clones that are made in the spirit of "SoaP"! I can see it now, "Rats on a Trailer" or "Ants in my Pants!" All in the quest for Hollywood to exploit whatever cult feeling is going on with this movie.

Posted by: Eric | August 18, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I think this will become a cult classic like Rocky Horror Picture Show. The crowd was liquored up and rowdy, and everyone in the theater started hissing whenever we thought a snake death was eminent. Plus we cheered at so many parts, like the "mother--- snakes" line.

Posted by: Agent Flynn | August 18, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I find the premise of this movie to be both racially insensitive and damaging to our children. Samuel Jackson paints a negative picture of all African Americans every time he uses an 'expletive' to express his discontent with the multitude of snakes that are trapped on the plane. Why wasn't there a greater effort on the part of the passengers to capture the snakes instead of kill them? Does this not show the intolerance of man and the snap decision to lash out with violence instead of using the power of compromise? If the makers of this movie truly wanted to be good, God-fearing people, they would have extended an olive branch to the snakes, make their peace with a different species, learn their ways and mated with their women. In time, all differences could have been forgotten. There would have been snake-human hybrids. Like Cobra Commander -- just cooler. A new race would dominate the world. Humans would be reduced to cattle. The man-snake would rule over all governments. We would enslave those who try to resist us, and eat those you look at us weird. Imagine the horror of seeing little Johnny on the playground, being swallowed whole, while still alive, by his teacher. It would strike fear into the hearts of the children. We would have obedience through absolute control. All nations will bow to the awesome power of the super race. The only race. The man-snake. COBRA LALALALALA!!!!!

Posted by: Concerned Parent | August 18, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Look, just like every musical performance you enjoy doesn't have to be a symphony, not every movie has to be some great epic. I bet you never enjoyed Tremors or Gremlins either! Or their sequels!

Posted by: Jackie | August 18, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

If you can't wait for spin-offs, you might want to check out the Alamo Drafthouse's "Blanks on a Blank" competition: Random animal and vehicle generator+amateur directors=many laughs.

Posted by: Fletch | August 18, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Dear lighten up- I prefer to keep my brain turned on at all times and my money in my pocket. I also prefer not to have my intelligence insulted. Your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I saw the movie at midnight when it was a ton of fun, make sure you have a few drinks beforehand though

Posted by: Jason | August 18, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Was anyone else completely disappointed on how calm Samuel L. Jackson stayed througout the entire movie? Even his famous line wasn't that angry. Honestly, the personalized phone message I got from him was more angry. It would have been alot better if he cursed more and just went berserk on the mother (bleeping) snakes.

Posted by: chicagostud | August 18, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I can't wait! I went to the offical website and sent personalized messages to friends from Samuel L. Jackson, which is probably the coolest thing ever! And don't bother to post if you are going to be snotty. Don't see the movie if it sounds stupid to you- although I think that is the point of this movie!

Posted by: CB | August 18, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

It was great!!!! had more fun then I have ever had watching a movie in a theatre! AWESOME!

Posted by: Ang | August 18, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Samuel's sequel to SOAP.... 'Ants in my Pants'. Or will it be called 'Scorpions in a Jetta'?

Posted by: Matt Latham | August 18, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Snakes? Plane? Microwave? Samuel Jackson!? OH MY GOD YES! This is the perfect August in DC flick. Grab some friends and hit the late show. You gotta go! You won't be sorry!

Posted by: ctc | August 18, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I loved it! Saw it last night at the midnight screening and it was EVERYTHING the internet buzz would lead you to believe. Cheezy acting, poorly written plot hole filled story line, excessive T&A, people who you'd totally expect to die getting it in the worst way, Samuel L. kicking a lot of azz, and of course, a gadjillion snakes on crack poisoning and eating people. Good stuff all around! Campy fun, like the old Poseidon Adventure. I give it a B+

Posted by: EP sato | August 18, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I saw it last night, and I'm not sure I've ever said "What the crap" so many times in my life. I nominate it for best comedy of the year. Seriously, go see it, and take all of your friends.

Posted by: Liliana | August 18, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Sequel?: Spiders on an Elevator
Watch for my blog...

Posted by: Ed | August 18, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

If you have to have a couple of drinks before seeing this movie to fully appreciate the cinematic experience, you are NOT doing enough drugs!

Posted by: RunnyShorts | August 18, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

are some people actually taking this seriosuly, and analyzing it???

This movie exists because the internites wanted it. It was a cult classic before it was even filmed. This is marketing genius at its best.

Mark my words: $50 million or more this weekend.

Ps. seriously, don't take this seriously.

Posted by: Fitz | August 18, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Though I fully agree that drugs and alcohol are unnecessary to enjoy this wonderful film, it mos' def' doesn't make it worse if you just so happen to find out you have a bottle of rum in the theater. All in all, a great film.

Posted by: A Black Snake | August 18, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I saw it open at Ballston and it was insane. It was better than any genre movie i've seen in the past 10 years. Word of mouth alone will cause this movie to explode.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Im LMAO at the dork idiots who are actually trying to critique the premise and plot of SoaP. Save the lamentations for the next Star Trek movie.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Soundtrack is good. Produced by Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy. Worth checking out

Posted by: EMO | August 18, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I dunno about high-brow entertainment, but it sounds fun enough for me. Are there comedic parts or - okay, is the toilet attack funny or scary or both? And as for anonymous, that was an intelligent idea, you're no snake-bait; but I still think the idea is interesting. And some of us need to get away from our brains awhile.

Posted by: kiddo | August 18, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I was at that 10 o'clock Georgetown show, and let me tell you, it was awesome. And I will never see it again. Because slightly drunk and with a bunch of snake lovers is the only way to see that show.

Posted by: Christina | August 18, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Omg it sounds HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I mean comon "snakes on a plane"?!

Posted by: teazer | August 18, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I was one of those crazy fans at Georgetown last night, and I wanted to say spot on with the review. I would never want to see that movie on TV, or on any other weekend, but fans make the movie. We chortled at the Silence is Golden public service announcement. This was our film, you can't take it without the hype and months of jokes and Samuel stories leading up to it.

My hope is that for the DVD the studio tries to collect all the fan material, like the fan trailers that probably got more play than the real ones.

They even had the Snakes-Eye-View! And true, I will be in the same seat when Borat premieres.

Posted by: Patrick | August 18, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Cobra Commander was not a snake-human hybrid. That was Serpentor, and possibly Teresa Heintz Kerry.

And this movie is gold. I can only hope there's a scene where all the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, but instead of oxygen masks they're snakes, and instead of dispensing oxygen they dispense pain. This is the kind of high art that only 21st century Hollywood can provide.

Posted by: Hold the Line | August 18, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The review and subsequent comments have persuaded me. I'm dragging my boyfriend to D.C. tonight to see this movie.

Posted by: bahbii | August 18, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Concerned Parent - ever seen "V"?! THAT was nasty man-reptile hybrids taking over the world, and also durned fine T.V. cheese. : )

Posted by: Maritza | August 18, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

blah blah blah I'm so smart I don't want to see silly movies. I stare at oil paintings and eat caviar all day. I smell of garlic and I'm better than you. I won't see a movie because it's silly it will hurt my giant pretentious brain!

Posted by: einstein | August 18, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

See, I don't think I could go to this one. I'd be rooting for the snakes, and sad when they eventually (as they must) lose.

Posted by: Temp | August 18, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

What about the sequel, "Skinks on a Segway"?

Posted by: ML | August 18, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I think I'll wait for the Blockbuster DVD release.

Posted by: Gerwarren | August 18, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

You all are too funny! I wasn't going to see the movie, but I have to see it now. It sounds like fun. I think some people forget the "entertainment" factor of movies. Shut Up and Have Fun . . .

Posted by: MeMe | August 18, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

How about:

"Orca's on a Elevator"
"Sharks on a Swing"
"Coyotes in a Car"
"Wolves on a Wharf"

let's keep this going ... this is just too mother @#$%^&* fun!

Posted by: morethan2activebraincells | August 18, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Bees on a submarine. Does it get worse?

Posted by: jg | August 18, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Bees on a Bus"
"Roaches on a Royal Carribbean"
"Maggots on the Metro"

and the scariest of all...

"Republicans in the White House"

Posted by: Carolyn | August 18, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

What about skunks on a train??

Posted by: Cowgirl | August 18, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Kangaroos on an Aircraft Carrier

Posted by: tailstinger | August 18, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

i really like bees on a submarine....submarines are bad enough as is but I'm allergic to bees too!!!!!

Posted by: mike | August 18, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Ok, Look...this movie is pure and simple fun. If you CAN'T sit back and laugh at the pure idiocy then this movie isn't for you. And you had better go to a theatre that is loud, crazy, and wild! That's the whole fun of this movie. It's made for people to boo, hiss, and otherwise heckle the screen. We saw it last night and were SO glad we did. No better way to end a long workweek than watching Snakes on a Plane. Period.

Posted by: CaliGal | August 18, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I really had no itentions of seeing this movie. I grew up around snakes and absolutely despise them. But, you guys have me seriously considering plopping down 20 bucks and seeing it with my girlfriend. It really sounds fun. If I have nightmares, it will your collective faults.

Posted by: herpaphobe | August 18, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Heres a spin-off for you:

Mice on the Metro!

Posted by: commuter | August 18, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

If you haven't already, should check out the "Blanks on a Blank" competitors on the Web. They're hilarious! "Raccoons on a Space Shuttle" was the winner, I think, but "Sloths on a Tank" was close second.

Posted by: Snakebite | August 18, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Obviously you people are still supported by Mommie and Daddy. This movie isn't about campy, cheesy fun. It's about feeling obligated to do what your 'friends' think is cool. Cult classics become cult classics AFTER they've been released. Not before. Watching it at this point just makes you a poser. But oh, "I wanna be so cool, get drunk, and hiss." Let me guess, you don't live in the "Hood" but listen to Rap/Hip-Hop, too.
...and yes, I smell of garlic and am better than you.

Posted by: transplant | August 18, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Its kinda like "Mars Attacks"...?

Posted by: A thought | August 18, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

better spin-off:

Snakes with Planes.

Posted by: RICK! | August 18, 2006 7:17 PM | Report abuse

WONDERFUL movie. Best I've ever seen. No, not really.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2006 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I think the worst one would be Democrats in the House -- be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: For Carolyn | August 23, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

is this movie ok for 12 year olds? because i really wanna see it but if its ba d (nudity) i cant.....does it show anything like that?

Posted by: curios georgie | August 26, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

ilove ssssssssssssssssssssnakes very well

Posted by: missy | August 28, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

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