Review by RUTH SHARPE
Guess what it’s about ….
ONCE YOU’VE read the title there’s not a lot more to say about this film. Snakes on a plane has been one of the most anticipated films of the year, but it’s difficult to take this movie seriously once you’ve seen the unbelievably bizarre trailer and taken in the ridiculous name.
The plot is fairly simple. After witnessing the murder of a prosecutor by notorious gangster Eddie Kim (Lawson), Sean Jones (Phillips) is escorted to LA by FBI Agents Neville Flynn (Jackson) and John Sanders (Houghton) to testify in a highly publicised case. Kim, in an attempt to stop Jones from testifying, has arranged for time released crates of venomous snakes to be put in the cargo hold of the flight from Honolulu to LA. The leis (Hawaiian garlands) have even been sprayed with pheromones to make the snakes more deadly so that they are more likely to attack the passengers, therefore bringing down the plane before it arrives in LA.
The passengers that board the flight are painfully obvious stereotypes of American society. There’s 3G the gangster rapper, Mercedes the rich girl with her Chihuahua, Mary-Kate, Maria, the young Latino mother with her baby, the honeymoon couple and an over-the-top British businessman, who is shocked to learn that he has been downgraded from first class because of the FBI presence.
The plane takes off and, soon enough, the snakes escape and attack the passengers. Somehow, this attack seems hilariously funny rather than terrifying. The reptiles appear out of hand luggage, sick bags, over-head compartments and even sneak in on the honeymoon couple in the toilet, biting the most unfortunate of places for both concerned. The absurd scenes continue while Flynn and the crew try and figure out a way to find what anti-venom they need waiting for them if they make it to the ground.
The acting is not the film’s strongest point either. Samuel L Jackson obviously had a moment of madness when agreeing to the lead role. He seems to disappear for large parts of the film then reappear looking remarkably refreshed, giving it away that scenes were obviously shot at different times of the year. Real snakes were used for some of the scenes, but it’s also very obvious that some of the reptiles eating passengers alive are computer generated.
Although the title is uninspiring, it cleverly gave the film a huge amount of media exposure before its release and has been described by one journalist as “perhaps the most internet-hyped film of all time”. The ideas that many web users came up with about the bizarre things that snakes could get up to on planes caused New Line Cinema to re-shoot parts of the movie, giving it a 15 rating, while also calling Jackson back in to redo some lines with extra swear words. There’s no doubt that this will be a memorable film, but only for the title and the marketing campaign.