Thursday, August 17, 2006

Snakes on the brain

So the blogging and posting of TV reviews has been slow on my part for the last month or two. I'm taking some vacation time next week, so hopefully that'll let me get back on track here.

Meanwhile, the big news is that after months of speculation, anticipation, and more internet buzz than you can shake a stick at, SNAKES ON A PLANE will finally be seen tonight. I'm not thrilled that New Line didn't screen it for the press, although tonight's 10 p.m. show will be a de facto media showing since a bunch of critics are meeting for dinner and drinks and then going to the film. OK, so I'd rather not have dropped $9.50--thanks for the extra dollar online fee for non-Movie Watcher club card holders, AMC--but this is a rare case in which I'd rather see the film with what is sure to be a rowdy crowd of ticket buyers than with my peers or contest winners.

The media SNAKES frenzy peaked a couple months ago, but this first screening ought to bring out the hardcore enthusiasts. Whether the film stinks or not, the moviegoing experience should be a blast. Unless New Line mounted the most brilliant viral marketing campaign ever, the SNAKES ON A PLANE phenomenon has come entirely at the grassroots level. It's pretty stunning when you consider that it isn't a franchise film with beloved characters but a trashy genre pic. I hope to love every minute of it.

Assuming SNAKES is a success--at its production costs and the amount of people who want to see it, how can it not be?--is it too much to ask that we not get a bunch of studio imitators? I don't mean the quickie direct-to-video rip-offs like the already available SNAKES ON A TRAIN but the inevitable copycat films from other genre divisions. The key aspects for this particular film are Samuel L. Jackson and self-generated fan enthusiasm. The latter is probably due in part to the former. Jackson is still one of the coolest guys on screen, which should help his films and his reputation age well in years to come. Still, even with Jackson, SNAKES mania on the internet has reached a level that a marketing department is not capable of producing. Enjoy the unexpected financial awards this film will likely deliver and let it be.

At the minimum I'll post some reactions, if not a review, of SNAKES ON A PLANE late tonight. Plenty of other critics will probably be doing the same thing. Let's hope it's because we're thrilled with what we've seen.

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