Originally Posted by Fatboy Roberts
The question I guess is this: Is the movie even WORTH trying to discuss, or is the only viable conversation the one that talks about the experience and the phenomena, relegating the quality of the movie itself to the backburner?
It's a legitmate question, but only because the people panning the film want to divorce the undeniable reactions it draws from the crowd as having nothing to do with the film working or failing to work, and the people who enjoyed the film being unwilling to discuss what is a undeniably flawed movie.
Looking around at the critical reaction today, it's obvious that New Line (despite Devin's protests) made a genius decision screening this film for the fans and the media on basically the same night. The reviews for this film are above and beyond where they would be if there had been critics screenings, because the in-house reaction would have been muted. Instead, reviewers felt the energy in the theater and assumed the film has something to do with it.
As for defending the film, I'll say I liked the performances from Sam Jackson and Julianna Margulies, who managed to anchor this film with some facet of humanity. David Koechner was a brilliant piece of casting, as was Todd Louiso, who turns what would have been completely useless scenes away from the plane into something watchable through his creepy turn. Yeah, it can be argued that Koechner's and Louiso's previous roles may have something to do with their performances working in this film, but last time I checked casting might have something to do with a movie's success, even if crowd reaction doesn't.
I thought the film did well in establishing a core of characters whose fates we actually care about, whether it's in seeing their demise (the Englishman) or hoping against hope that we'd see their demise (the rapper).
The set pieces were a little muddled action-wise, but I loved some of the jump-scares. The snakes coming down with the oxygen masks? Awesome. The two scenes in the bathroom? Gratuitus, and awesome. There isn't a whole hell of a lot of interesting staging, but some of the kills are better than in other pedestrian horror films. Loved using the raft to shield first class, hated the fact that on a plane the best they could muster were broken bottles on sticks as weapons (unless its an uber-clever post-9/11 comment on in-flight security). And the snake-o-vision was as B-movie stupid/cool as you can get.
I've seen the super-evil bad guy referenced a few times. No, I have no idea why the character needed to be in the film, or why it wasn't just some fat gangster instead of a buff karate guy. Unless, as I expect, it's to set up the utter hilarity of a buff super villain using altitude-released poisonous snakes attacking pheremone-tainted flowers as "his last resort."
The final act was great and not-so-great. Shooting the window to suck the snakes out was an interesting, albeit absurd, choice. The landing of the plane was strangley devoid of tension, but the last cobra attack was a nice jolt.
Again, never said it was a perfect film -- it's a classic B-movie, midnight movie, whatever you want to call those deeply flawed but consistantly entertaining films. Compare this to another Sam Jackson monster-of-the-week flick, "Deep Blue Sea," and you can see the "Snakes" works because it doesn't take itself seriously and shamelessly panders to its audience. I enjoyed it, and so did the rest of the crowd.