Saturday, August 19, 2006

SoaP Opera

Best application of
For a few weeks I had been deliberating about whether or not I should go see Snakes on a Plane (SoaP) at all, much less on opening night.

While the nerdy "egrrl" part of me felt like I HAD to see it because it was such a pop culture and internet phenomenon, the part of me that hates anything gory or campy was shying away. I knew, however, that if I was going to go, it had to be on opening night, because that would be when the best crowd would be there. My curiosity and sense of responsibility to report back on the movie got the best of me.

I went to the 7 PM show last night. There was no line at all, and when we got there an hour early, they actually let us go into the theater even though it was still being cleaned. I was a tad worried because I had read one negative review right before leaving, and I knew that if the theater had only a smattering of people, I was going to be in for a long hour and 46 minutes.

By the time the previews starting playing, I would estimate that the theater was about 70% full, and it was one of the gigantic stadium seating theaters, so I was satisfied. There was definitely a buzz in the air, and the crowd was very loud. In the first ten minutes (when there is not even a plane or any snakes in sight), there were many cheers and much clapping for a variety of things - when the title showed, when Samuel L. Jackson first appeared, when girls in bikinis were on screen, you name it. I would summarize it by saying that everyone was just really excited to see the movie and even if it had been really awful, I think people would've walked out happy.

But here's the crazy thing:

It WASN'T awful?!?!?

In fact, I would go as far as to say that I enjoyed it quite and bit and I would even categorize it as GOOD.

Why? Because as I have mentioned before, I don't go to movies to see things that could really happen. I almost never see any war movies or historical pieces, or even any extremely serious dramas for that matter. You could call me shallow, but I just don't understand the need to pay ten bucks to get all depressed or be extremely bored. I can watch the news if I want to be depressed and if I want to actually learn about something historical, I'm going to read a book on it or watch The History Channel, where they are less likely to "take liberties with the facts" for sake of entertainment or dreams of an Oscar.

I like this one better than the real poster.But back to the Snakes... I guess that I do need to qualify my assessment with the obvious: You MUST be able to get over the ridiculous premise (that hundreds of poisonous snakes could be secretly loaded onto a plane in order to attempt to kill only one person on said plane) to enjoy the movie. No one has ever lied about what this movie is about, and Samuel L. Jackson had to go to drastic measures to KEEP the movie title as it is - instead of "Pacific Air 121." Apparently some movie exec brainchild actually thought it would be better if moviegoers were SURPRISED by the fact that snakes ended up on the plane. Uh, no... the title in and of itself is one of the main reasons why everyone is so hyped up about the movie - what else could inspire blogs like Snakes on a Blog, songs such as Snakes on a Plane (Bring it), fan videos like Someone tell Sam Jackson he's my bro (highly recommended), or fan-made poster art that is creative and incorporated into the actual marketing of the film?

And on top of all that, the internet fans even had a hand in shaping some of the film's dialogue, including the most famous line of them all, spewed out furiously by Samuel L. Jackson's character when he just can't take it anymore:

"Enough is ENOUGH!!!!!! I have HAD IT with these motherfuckin' snakes on this motherfuckin' plane!!!!!"

I tell you, the theater went absolutely BERSERK during that line. Of course everyone repeated it along with him, and then erupted into cheers. I would rate the crowd with me at Snakes on a Plane as one of the top five best movie crowds I've ever been a part of. And when other members of the top five include incredibly established fan bases (for years), such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, that's really saying something.

Oh, the drama!So let me end by saying a few more things:
1) It is not worth seeing this movie if you don't see it with a good crowd, so if you're going to go, only go on the weekend, and preferably in the evening.
2) I didn't really have to worry about the gore factor. The anticipation of what was going to happen was worse than what actually happened. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some gross scenes, but I actually watched all of it (albeit through my hands at some points), and I have fairly low tolerance for blood and guts.
3) While the movie is not going to win any awards, it is not as campy and stupid as I had feared it would be. There ARE characters, there IS a plot, it keeps moving, but having said all that, the movie also knows how to make fun of itself. There are some genuinely funny moments that are MEANT to be silly.
4) More articles on the movie, as well as reviews are out there now, and surprisingly, many of them are pretty positive.

All in all, I got my money's worth and enough escapism to last for a long time. Although I have to admit, as lame as this may be, I know I'm going to be sitting cross-legged on flights in the near future...

- e


Anonymous said...

david letterman made a joke about domino's pizza now serving "snakes on pizza"

ya sold me e....i definitely checking out SoaP

Anonymous said...

someone tell sam jackson, he's my bro - IS HILARIOUS

Anonymous said...

if you want to have samuel l jackson call someone: