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Starpulse DVD Review: Snakes On A Plane

January 5th, 2007 11:04am EST
Snakes on a PlaneEarly in 2006 it was announced that a film called "Snakes on a Plane" was going to hit theaters by the end of summer. Initially the film sounded like a total flop with a name like "Snakes on a Plane"-- a total B-movie that would be a complete bomb at the box office. But then we found out that Samuel L. Jackson would be starring as the film's main character. In fact, Jackson even signed on to do the film based on the title itself and hadn't even read the script. So naturally, as soon as Jackson's name was attached, every blogger from Perez Hilton to The Superficial and news collective from Fark to Digg had daily stories about the film. It seemed as though everyone with a computer contributed to the growing buzz.

The film's producers were totally surprised by all the attention that the film was getting, so much so that they paid attention to virtually everything said and ultimately decided to reshoot some scenes and even add some new ones. 'SoaP' was initially supposed to be a PG-13 film, but what fans of Jackson wanted was for him to utter at least one of his trademark matriarchal f-bombs in the film, but that wasn't going to happen with a PG-13 rating. To incorporate Jackson's new lines the film's rating would have to be changed as the queen mother of all dirty words automatically bumped any film up to an R rating. But why stop there? The producers decided to add a little more graphic violence, a little nudity, and a few more curse words to justify their new rating and live up to the film's high expectations.

But then in August something strange happened. After all the hype the film finally debuted, but pulled in less than $14 million at the box office in its opening weekend. It was a total dud. After all the buzz it seemed as though many just loved the idea of its title, but not the idea of actually sitting through it. Perhaps people just weren't willing to trust a lot of internet hoopla over a movie-- especially after what happened with The Blair Witch Project in 1999. The film was the first to successfully utilize the internet as a tool for promotion, but most moviegoers were left very disappointed after seeing it. So ultimately, too much hype can be a bad thing.

Snakes on a PlaneFast forward to 2007. On January 2, the Snakes on a Plane DVD was released and very quietly hit stores. There is little fanfare over the DVD release: there's hardly a mention of the film from any bloggers, and there has been very little in the way of advertising. The irony here is that online hype made The Blair Witch Project a success, despite a lackluster movie; and it did very little for SoaP, despite the film's entertainment value.

Which is what SoaP is--entertaining. The viewer should know going in that they're going to get what they paid for-- snakes on a plane-- and the film itself delivers. The DVD release includes a number of special features, but the only ones that deliver are a featurette about the making of the film, a profile of the actual snakes used in the film, and a documentary about the buzz created by the film. There are a number of deleted scenes, however after watching them one can easily figure out why they were omitted in the first place. Also included are the usual theatrical and TV trailers, the video for the film's title song (by Cobra Starship), commentary tracks, and a 'gag reel' (which isn't remotely funny).

Despite all the 'big' releases of 2006, such as Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Superman Returns, X-Men 3, Cars and The Da Vinci Code; Snakes on a Plane was easily one of the most fun movies of the year. Half thriller, half inadvertant comedy, SoaP delivered a simple, believable (okay, somewhat believable) story about an FBI agent who escorts a key witness from Hawaii to California to testify in the trial of a mob boss. With airline restrictions as tough as they are in the post 9/11 world the mobsters find that the only way to silence their witness is to find out which plane he's on and then pack it full of deadly, poisonous snakes. Naturally, the snakes are set loose and begin wreaking havoc, exaggeratedly killing most of the plane's passengers in several sick, yet hilarious, ways.

All in all though, SoaP is a film well worth its internet buzz and it lives up to it. The DVD is worth adding to the collector's library and makes a great 'rainy Saturday afternoon' film; however, the extra features pale in comparison to the fun that makes this film fly. Snakes on a Plane also stars Julianna Margulies, Kenan Thompson and Rachel Blanchard and is Rated-R for graphic violence, some harsh language, and some nudity and sexual situations. Grade: B+. -Victor Smith for Starpulse.com

Watch the TV trailer:
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DVD Special Features

• Commentary from star Samuel L. Jackson and director David R. Ellis
• 10 Deleted scenes with optional commentary from director David R. Ellis
• “Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)” – Cobra Starship with The Academy Is…, Gym Class Heroes, and The Sounds music video.
• Gag reel
• "Pure Venom" – behind-the-scenes documentary
• "Snakes on a Blog" – featurette documenting the film’s fan-based buzz
• "Meet the Reptiles" – featurette about the snakes featured in the film
• Snakes on a Plane VFX featurette
• Easter egg
• Teaser trailer
• Theatrical trailer: "Unleashed"
• Theatrical trailer: "Phobia"
• Five TV spots
• 16x9 widescreen (2.35:1) version of the film
• DTS 6.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo Surround 2.0
• English & Spanish subtitles