Sunday, August 20, 2006


"Everyone-- to your blogs!"

So sayeth one fellow audience member as the lights snaked back up at the conclusion of what could only be described as a uniquely pythonic experience, to a large degree thanks to one helluva CGI python. So here I am, reeling from shameful indulgence in the odious exploitation of reptilian slaughter, unable to honestly critically interact with this so-called film, given that my encounter with it was in no uncertain terms enchanced by the ingestation of a fair amount of intoxicating beverages and the orgiastic opiate up on screen that took hold of our crowd's inexcusable glee, a nexus of amiable superman finesse known as Samuel L. Jackson. I can't really recommend Snakes on a Plane and doubt if I could ever replicate the enjoyment that clearly permeated the sinful theater without sacrificing my own presumably well-intentioned standards for competent aesthetics. But while rencountering certain supposed juvenelia-- like, say, Looney Tunes-- might bring to light a technical artistry that my younger eyes couldn't percieve, the slithering, dithering, unabashed campiness that only a second-unit hack director like David R. Ellis could dish up taps into a childlike fascination with how easy it is to just let ourselves indulge in being dumb.

And, really, why not? Few critics have resisted the temptation to view Snakes as a backlash to the backlash against the canonization of 9/11-inflected artistry, and that says plenty about the way that culture always feels obliged to define itself by the immediacy of its shared experiences. But you don't have to read too far into the embarrasingly dense volumes of internet hype leading up to the film's release to realize that the essential appeal is way simpler. It's fine to look at the brouhaha as inextricably bound to a newly self-aware genre of flight dramas, but Snakes is way too stupid to read into that subdivision, much less critique it to any substantial degree. Instead, it allows for catharsis-- a big whooshingbreath of release that we can actually enjoy something without even the slightest impingement of ideology or group eulogizing. Then again, if early box office reports are any indication, that windy sound might just be the A/C, humming louder than most crowds in vacant Snakes theaters across the country. So maybe most people just don't care for another totally empty-headed thriller so bad that it's funny...but if history decides we're due for another cult classic that champions mob mentality humor over artistic merit, here's a solid candidate. And that's really all there is to it.


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