The title. It's got to be that deliciously kitschy title—well, that in conjunction with the star presence of Samuel L. Jackson. How else to explain why Snakes on a Plane has built the sort of summer movie buzz typically associated with Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings? Giddy filmgoers on opening night (Thursday at 10 p.m.) were yelling "Snakes on a plane!" back and forth across the theater to each other with whooping applause, as if this was the must-see movie event of the year.
Not since 1999's The Blair Witch Project has the Internet played such an instrumental role in building hype for a movie so overly shrouded in mystery. Online resources were made available for fans to build websites. Voice mail technology allowed people to send "personalized" invitations from Jackson to their friends. Yet the film wasn't pre-screened to critics, and while commercials declare, "Everything you've heard is true," online research only yields a title, an actor, some images, minimal plot points, and a whole lot of speculation. So just what is this thing exactly?
The title sums up the premise. Jackson is Nelville Flynn, a no-nonsense FBI agent who takes young slacker Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) into his protective custody after he witnesses a murder at the hands of a notorious crime boss in Hawaii. They've got to fly to Los Angeles to testify, but that isn't going to be so easy since the bad guys have placed a time-released crate in the cargo hold. Inside, more than 400 venomous snakes of all species, shapes, and sizes … driven crazy by pheromones sprayed on the leis given to everyone boarding the aircraft. "Accidents happen," sneers the villainous boss.
Nightmarish stuff, particularly for anyone afraid of snakes, flying, and ...