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September 4, 2006 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Snakes on a Plane

In the week or so since I saw Snakes on a Plane, I have uncovered a definite reluctance to take this movie seriously. Snakes on a Plane may not employ multilayered sub-plotting, but it delivers exactly what is promised. And well.

John Waters once said that someone must have good taste to understand bad-taste. And Snakes on a Plane is bad taste, done with a great eye. It operates in knowing and kitsch B-movie territory, making any potential film snob rejection pointless. It is a three dimensional rollercoaster, delivering thrills with theme park efficiency. And underneath the manipulation of the senses lies a dark underbelly of biting humour. So there, SoaP is funny and thrilling. Its knowing shallowness amuses me, and the reaction it’s getting from toff nosed cultured geeks is equally amusing. “Why would they want to make a film about Samuel L. Jackson fighting snakes on a plane?” They all say. Well I say: “who wouldn’t want to see it?”

Jackson is the key to this film. The man looks like he is having an absolute ball, and in between finding new and creative ways to zap snakes, he plays up to a parody of himself with near Shatneresque success. SoaP is a loosely veiled Jackson star vehicle, but all other bases are covered. The air-hostess that Jackson can sift on to. The egotistical rapper. The vaguely Latino looking girl with the homeopathic remedy for snake bites. There are kids we want safe and annoying old fucks that we want to die. The biggest stroke of genius however is the thinly veiled Paris Hilton based character. In Hilton’s acting debut House of Wax her death scene received a standing ovation, and her knock off (complete with handbag poodle!) really is ideal snake food here. The writers make sure Jackson has just the right amount of expendable token characters around him to bounce his black man swagger off. And of course, he has some great lines.

He does share the limelight with the snakes in this film. And not enough can be said about the snakes. They mess with everyone’s shit. They bite penises and nipples. They go up shirts and in mouths. They kill in horrific fashion. And more importantly, they had me spending the whole film with my knees up by my neck. And I can’t remember the last time I was so horrified by a movie that was intentionally trying to do horrify me.

‘Nuff said.

Directed by David R. Ellis


About the Author ()

James Robinson is a university dropout turned journalist who likes to pretend he has an honours degree. Turn ons include soup, scarfs, a hot bath and some FM-smooth Kenny G-esque instrumental jazz. Turn offs include student politicians, the homeless, and people who pronounce it supposebly.

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