Snakes on a Plane
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Snakes on a Plane is a famous Internet meme (which doubles as a film) that highlights Samuel L. Jackson's desperate and heroic battle against some two hundered thousand killer snakes, all of which takes place on the titular "plane" and a strip club. Based on a relatively obscure Dr. Seuss book, it was released by New Line Cinema on August 18, 2006 to highly polarised opinions. Although critics loved the line "I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!", which was used by Jackson's character over fifteen times, they criticised the lack of comprehensive plot and nonsensical mixes of sex, gore, and planes.
The film is notable for building up a considerable internet fanbase, who were lead to believe it was a high-concept action thriller, literally depicting snakes... on a plane. However, after its release, its incredible inaccuracy was criticised, as every snake on that plane was non-venomous and the flight would have ended with a few minor bites rather than gruesome death and partial nudity.
Snakes on a Plane depicts the story of Samuel L. "Jumpin' Jack" Jackson (played by himself), a black grizzled cop archetype known for his shameless use of the word "motherfucker". Three days before his retirement, he is given the task of protecting a man in his mid-20s—despite Jackson repeatedly calling him "kid"—named Sean Jones. Sean has witnessed a murder (which is depicted in full gruesome detail), and the murderers, lead by an Asian guy called Eddie Kim, want cold-blooded revenge. However, they seem to take the "cold-blooded" bit literally, as they load several hundred cratefuls of snakes and one or two guns for no reason onto the plane which will be flying Jackson and Sean to Los Angeles.
While on the plane, some chemistry builds between R. Kelly and Paris Hilton, who both play passengers. A few minutes after the plane becomes airborne, the pilot is brutally assaulted — but not killed — by snakes that sneak into the cockpit. As he attempts to file a lawsuit on grounds of unprovoked attack, the co-pilot looks the other way and takes over flying the plane. Meanwhile, the snakes slither out of the cockpit and down the aisle, killing countless extras. R. Kelly and Paris Hilton run into an unoccupied toilet and begin to have sex, but the snakes gain almost superhuman strength and break down the door, proceeding to kill the pair immediately.
Soon, Samuel L. Jackson finds out what's going and pulls out a taser. He kills some of the snakes and builds a barrier of luggage in the doorway. He then gets all of the important actors out of the coach area, using the extras as human shields; more than fifty extras are killed during this process. Jackson calls up his manager, saying that he better have a coffin made of used bullets ready for him, and then saying the iconic line, "I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!" for the first time.
Meanwhile, the morbidly obese co-pilot wants a Twinkie, so he goes into the bowels of the plane to get one. However, the weight of his massive posterior causes the plane to fall towards the ocean. Because of this, the snakes break through the barrier and start to search for the least important character. Suddenly, a huge anaconda, codename "El Monstrato", decides it's time to eat someone, and consumes a middle-aged British man with rotting teeth (luckily, he was an annoying character). As the snakes watch in awe, the actors are able to get upstairs to the first class area. The pilot, who has just finished conferring with his lawyer, notices that all the blood is going to his head and takes control of the plane, keeping it in the air for a few minutes until the co-pilot returns with his Twinkie and takes over again.
Suddenly, the power goes out and Jackson realizes that he will have to go downstairs to turn it back on. His love interest gives him a small flamethrower and he goes down. He is able to get the power back on again, and kills six snakes with a conveniently-placed crossbow, yelling "I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!". Upon returning to the top, Jackson finds out that there was a snake in the co-pilot's Twinkie which killed him and the pilot after he threatened to call the local magistrate. Jackson gets pissed off and proceeds to scream: "Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking plakes on this motherfucking snane!" and shoots the windows out, despite previously saying that if a gun went off in the compressed air of the cabin, everyone would be killed. Somehow, the snakes all fly out as the passengers not only stay put and are able to breathe, but engage in a breakdance competition. Jackson then realises that the plane is still going to crash; however, Kenan Thompson reveals that he has experience landing planes, or at least on the PlayStation 2. Nevertheless, this proves suffice and he lands the plane, allowing the passengers to start their perilous, snake-filled car ride home.
Snakes on a Plane had a troubled pre-production period. As admitted by the screenwriters, the idea for the name, plot, and pitch for movie came to them while they were drunk at a party watching the opening sequence from Raiders of the Lost Ark. They pitched the movie concept to the studio, and it was greenlit on the basis of the name alone. But the writing team was in trouble now, for how could they possibly make a movie along the lines of Snakes on a Plane, while keeping the movie believable, realistic, suspenseful, highly philosophical, and artistic? Here are some of the rejected ideas they had:
edit Snake's on a Plane
Their first draft of the movie's script involved Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid game series, trapped on a plane by evil terrorists. In his panic, he begins to go on a killing rampage to fight his way up to the cockpit, kill the pilots, and land the plane. This version of the movie's story had heavy overtones about what it is to trust others, politics, and the value of a human life, as it was revealed by the end of the movie that Solid Snake had been used by the terrorists in order to crash the plane as if it was a terrorist attack and he would get the blame for it.
This idea was scrapped because Solid Snake is only a video game character, so there is no way he could possibly act in a real movie.
edit Planes on a Snake
This concept took place in the distant future, where runways had long been considered obsolete, and had been replaced with giant snakes. Giant snakes were seen as being much more effective then traditional runways because a giant snake had the capacity to shift itself to position of the incoming plane. This movie was made to be a mockumentary, satirizing the ineptness of the American air traffic system. However, this script idea was rejected because it was seen as being too exciting, and because the writers didn't want their plane tickets to be rejected out of hate.
edit Planes on a Plane
Though considered an intriguing concept at first, PoaP was ultimately trashed due to its lack of motherfucking snakes.
edit Snakes on a Snake
Though considered an intriguing concept at first, SoaS was ultimately trashed due to its lack of motherfucking planes.
Earlier ideas which were even more stupid, before the decision to include snakes and planes.
edit Thematic analysis
Snakes on a Plane uses extensive metaphors and symbolism to communicate its rich and nuanced themes.
As Jones, representing the western rich, boards the “plane” of western culture and values, it's expected to be a simple and secure journey. However, snakes, symbolic for terrorism, attack the plane, causing severe damage, and killing several innocent bystanders. Samuel L. Jackson, who represents the War on Terror, responds with great vengeance and furious anger, far exceeding the corpse count of the initial terrorist attack. As the terrorist attacks continue, Jackson becomes more and more aggressive, to the point of endangering all of the innocents on board the plane of western culture and values to kill the terrorist snakes.
Ultimately, Jackson's efforts would have no effect, because the pilot was killed while he was distracted by his crusade. By having some fat dude land the plane, the film is attempting to portray the importance of ordinary people in extraordinary situations.
edit Internet scam
Snakes on a Plane was famous before even its release, possibly due to certain blog posts and comments which adressed the film as a high-concept action thriller with little thematic significance, reading such nonsence as "I can't wait for Snakes on a Plane!!1! It looks to be a generic meaningless action movie LOLOLBRB!!11!1". This assumption spread throughout various websites in a viral manner, and soon became an Internet phenomenon. When the film was released, many internet bloggers were no doubt disappointed with its deeply thought-provoking content.
Later, it was revealed that the film's creators started this belief, leading to a considerable amount of controversy. Internet users felt "cheated" and that they had "been made to lower their expectations". Soon, comments implying that this deceptive nature of pre-release advertising was an experiment in the appeal of various forms of stimuli upon a mainstream audience emerged. Due to the popularity of the film before its release, this experiment is generally considered to be a success.
Much was made of the aforementioned Internet mania that surrounded the movie, even before its release, let to critics sighing at what they predicted the actual film would be about, and various magazines and media outlets reporting that this signified a dark new age of moviegoers dictating the content of movies; as if the idea that giving moviegoers what they wanted was tantamount to a horrible breach of moviemaking integrity. Thus, the greatness of the film was ignored, and Snakes on a Plane received poor critical reception. After that it went on to have disappointing domestic box office numbers, and reviewers gloated for several weeks — Roger Ebert said in his review of the film: "Snakes on a Plane is pure brainless insanity. I have never seen a more pointless, pathetic film." — and were then reassured that movies were still a bastion of dignified art.
It also came in second place for the coveted "Most Obvious Title" award, only losing to the critically-acclaimed film On A Cold Day In Alaska, A Guy Gets Lost And Encounters Hardships, Including Hunger, Loneliness, As Well As The Cold, But Things Take A Turn For The Best Up When He Finds A Polar Bear And While At First Fears Him, Eventually Befriends The Bear, Who Ends Up Saving His Life During A Dramatic Encounter On A Small Ice Shelf That Inexplicably Breaks When He Is Halfway Through It, Leading The Bear To Have To Dive In And Save Him, Cementing Their Friendship Until The Other Human Friend Arrives And Proceeds To Shoot The Bear, Who Dies In A Climactic Ending, While The Guy Gets Four Of His Toes Removed Because Of Frostbite. This film also won two Oscars.
One of the few awards the film won, along with "Cheesiest Catchphrase" and "Worst Screenplay", was the "Best Promotion Ever" award because of its advertising. As well as putting up posters depicting a naked Paris Hilton, the film's advertising department decided to promote the movie by literally releasing a hundered snakes into a random plane in Cleveland. This event was wracked with controversy and about 60 people died, but fortunately all of them died wishing they had seen the movie.