Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sushi and Snakes On A Plane

Deep satisfaction followed a fierce consumption of eels and then going to see "Snakes On A Plane" as I did last night. My thanks to The Editor for an early b-day present. The eels of course were part of a massive and delicious sushi feast. But they are kind of snake-ish critters, so I felt a movie about a planeful of snakes was a most appropriate combo.

In more than a few ways, Snakes On A Plane plays like one of the many Airplane Disaster movies so common in the mid to late 1970s and even has a touch of the comedy "Airplane!" on board too. All it lacked was some child on board who is enroute to a hospital for some transplant accompanied by a nun playing a guitar. I mean, when David Koechner (sportscaster Champ Kind of "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy") is the pilot, there is comedy afoot.

The movie is by far the finest Drive-In style movie I've seen in many a year. Forget about plot logic or other elements of realism. This is an unadulterated Fun Time. Sam Jackson is having a blast here leading the Heroic Effort Against The Snakes, and more comedy was added with actor Kenan Thomas of Saturday Night Live.

But I must say that even the most crude Drive-In fodder still contains fascinating subtexts, and SOAP does as well. We live in times when an airplane flight is a source of nightmares - the passengers and crew of this flight mirror much in the real world. Flying is a test of courage. When flight today is accompanied by terrorism fears, its no wonder there is much interest in SOAP.

And as with the cheapest of horror movies (or the most expensive varities) a very real desire to be able to identify and battle the Evil that would destroy Us is based on everyday experiences. The famous line spoken by Jackson gives voice to a common frustration -- we are all damn sick and tired of the threats focused on flying. And in SOAP, we get a truly cathartic experience - locate the nasty threat, work together as best we can to aid each other and relentlessly battle that threat.

Just as in movies past where average folk battled the animalistic terrors of radioactivity, SOAP offers characters the opportunity to battle the animalistic jihadists - passengers must improvise to create a defense as scientists on the ground assist in discovering the origins of the snakes and obtaining all the many anti-venoms necessary to combat the poision in the air.

These creatures hide out in places we assume are safe, and in negotiating a path to restore power to the plane, Jackson must distinguish between the normal chaos of wires and the abnormal chaos of mean, quick-moving snakes.

Such sub-texts aside, the bottom line for SOAP is that it delivers exactly what it promises in the gory glory of Drive-In Movies Past. I laughed, I jumped, and had a fantastic time. Keep your costumed super or not-so-super heroes. SOAP has a vigorous joy in celebrating the success of the frustrated fliers of today.

One more bonus for the movie - stay through the credits to watch the music video for the song "Snakes On A Plane (Bring It)" by a group called Cobra Starship. The video for this 70s/80s mega-theme is here.

It is truly and hilariously awful - in a good way.


  1. Overheard between The Editor and Cup a Joe at the the theatre during SOAP:

    The Editor notices a descrepincy in continuity, and she begins to point it out...
    TE: Did you see--
    CoJP: TE, you didn't bring your brain to this movie did you?
    TE: But--
    CoJP: You didn't bring your brain, right?
    TE: [looking sheepishly] Yes... I did... I'll put it away now...

  2. la.barabbas10:27 PM

    But you had fun, right, Joe? So what's with the weak opening? I had this thing pegged to go through the roof...

  3. Cinemonkey2:15 AM

    Wait, you people bring your brains to movies? grumble..grumble...No wonder there's so much jibber-jabber!.....grumble..grumble

  4. The weak opening proves Intarweb Law 257: "Nobody pays attention to bloggers but bloggers, who are normally too busy blogging to see a movie."

    But yeah, there was a moment in the cockpit at the beginning that I was just waiting for somebody to hear "and don't call me Surely".

  5. LAB - without the internets buzz, this movie would barely have made 3 million bucks. After ten days, it's closing in on $30 million. So, I call that very successful, given the nature of the movie.
    Two points for anyone who can recall much less know how much money Sam Jackson's movie "The Man" with Eugene Levy made earlier this year.

    And yeah, bloggers seldom leave the computer to go outside, but the movie deserves to be seen with a crowd -- I predict that when the movie hits DVD, newspapers/TV will report on the nationwide craze of "Snakes On A Plane" Houseparties.

    And Cinemonkey - as I have often said, forget brains, sometimes ya just gotta let the Art of a Movie wash over ya!