August 18, 2006

“Snakes on a Plane” slithers into audience embrace

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Early audiences lured to "Snakes on a
Plane" by its sensational title and Internet hype said the film
lived up to their expectations for an over-the-top thriller.

"It was just so ridiculous it was a good movie," said Colin
Cowes, 15, from Minnesota, after seeing a morning screening in
New York on Friday. "I went and saw it because I saw an ad for
it on the Internet. Definitely the title got me in because it
just sounds so random and stupid."

The movie, whose title also convinced actor Samuel L.
Jackson to star in it, opened in theaters across the United
States and Britain on Friday.

There were no advance showings of the $30 million dollar
movie after the name alone managed to spark an enviable run of
publicity by spawning endless parodies, Web postings and videos
that tried to flesh out the story.

The Internet hoopla started with a blog posting by
screenwriter Josh Friedman a year ago praising Jackson for
threatening to quit the movie when the studio considered
changing the title, saying he'd taken the job based on the

At the early New York screening moviegoers laughed and
cringed as they watched an FBI agent try to regain control of a
plane that the Mafia had filled full of poisonous snakes to try
and kill a witness under protection.

"What could have been just a well-named, warmed-over,
schlocky mess is instead everything a summer action movie
should be," Premiere magazine said.

On Web site, which aggregates film
reviews, opinions were currently running 72 percent "fresh"
with 23 of 32 total reviews being favorable as of Friday

Smart moviegoers usually avoid a film released without
advance screenings because it can indicate a studio knows the
movie is bad. But people who have not seen "Snakes on a Plane"
are calling themselves "fans" and many hope it will be awful,
in an entertaining way.

Natasha Sokolov, 33, said she came to see the movie because
it starred Jackson.

"I'm not sure that's exactly a movie I would regularly see
though. It was scary, fun, exciting. It was just a little piece
of entertainment, nothing serious," she said.

Marcus Levy, 29, of New England, said it was action-packed.
"I think at first it was the actual preview that got me
interested and then the title obviously explains everything. I
despise snakes," he said. "It was actually entertaining."

New Line Cinema, the Time Warner Inc. subsidiary that is
distributing "Snakes," has fueled the hype and the producers
even included a line created by an imaginative blogger in the
movie and used it in previews.

But the hype didn't get to everyone.

"I didn't even know about it, but (my friend) was just,
like, 'We have to go and see this movie'," said 15-year-old
Imogen Kwok.