O, those halcyon days when I first heard the glorious premise for Snakes on a Plane—a premise so simple, so perfect, that everything is perfectly summed up in the title. How delightful! How fun! Samuel L. Jackson? Fighting snakes? On a plane? O!
And then—as pretty much always happens—everybody ruined it. A billion blog entries, a thousand fake trailers, countless unfunny shirts sold on CafePress.com. The fake songs written for the film, the unending smirking excitement. Those golden days darkened, and Snakes on a Plane's sweet promise was tainted by its own premature popularity—the film, already, a casualty of too much hype. I will freely admit it: I thought Snakes had been ruined. I thought I would be disappointed. Can any film live up to one's hopes after so much anticipation? No.
But wait—to my surprise and delight—the answer is actually yes. There is film that can live up to that much hype, and that film is called Snakes on a Plane.
I first realized how good Snakes on a Plane was going to be during its opening credit sequence, which juxtaposes a happy-go-lucky island tune by Jack Johnson with a shot of Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) doing wheelies on a badass dirt bike through Hawaii. And then it gets cooler—faster than you can say "some mobster beating some sumbitch to death with a baseball bat," Jones sees some mobster beating some sumbitch to death with a baseball bat, and then 10 seconds after that, an FBI agent with a ridiculous name, Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) is flying Jones back to LA to testify. But that mobster has something up his sleeve...SOMETHING LIKE A BILLION POISONOUS SNAKES HE'S PUT ON THE PLANE! See? I told you it was rad.
So yeah, then the snakes—about 7,000 of them, from a giant python to relatively tiny ones only a foot long—bust out, at which point they start biting faces, arms, eyes, tongues, nipples, penises, pets, seat covers, etc. They drop down with the overhead oxygen masks! They leap out of barf bags! They spring out of luggage compartments! They jump out of toilets! They slither out of the instrument panel! They chase children down the aisle! And then they bite them! Etc., and so forth for about an hour and a half, all of it punctuated by Samuel L. Jackson shouting a lot and being really angry. (And yes, he does shout the awesome line, "Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfuckin’ snakes on this motherfuckin’ plane!" He also shouts, with equal enthusiasm, "Praise be to PlayStation!" which is more bewildering and weird than awesome.)
Jackson's never scared of the snakes, and for good reason—they aren't scary. The snakes on this plane are mostly just fodder for him to electrocute with tasers (?) and shoot with harpoon guns (!?), and he knows it. In short, Jackson, paired up with a bunch of pissed-off snakes, make Snakes on a Plane exactly what it should be: light, goofy, and surprisingly rewarding. I'm sorry I doubted you, Snakes on a Plane. You live up to your title, and I can think of no higher praise.