Monday, June 8, 2009

Actually, "Snakes on a Plane" wasn't that bad... jk jk jk

Coming late to the game, I finally watched that Samuel L. Jackson vehicle, Snakes on a Plane, this weekend on cable. It was--turns out the critics were right on this--the worst kind of bad movie: schlocky without wanting to admit it, seemingly unaware of how to spin absurd lines like "we have to put a barrier between us and the snakes."

Back in 2006, paying ticketholders could at least endure by holding out the hope--indeed, the certainty--that they would get one crystalline moment of Jacksonesque indulgence when they would hear that immortal one-liner uttered by Jackson himself. My version of the line, as viewed through the dubbers of basic cable, was this:



Actually, I think I got the better end of the deal. Pre-release publicity efforts spread the original, unedited version of Jackson's line across the entire interwebz, and the only uncertainty left for moviegoers was when Jackson would say the line. I got the extra layer of anticipation in wondering--since I knew the language wouldn't pass cable censors--how they would dub the line, since they certainly couldn't just edit it out entirely.

The dubbed line was one of two bright spots in what was otherwise a thorough waste of time. We--basic cable subscribers--get the joy of knowing what Jackson really says, even if we hadn't had access to the pre-release hype. We also get the added layer of pleasure in knowing that the dubbers, knowing we know what Jackson actually says, decided to get a little playful. I expected Jackson to say "motherfreaking" or "motherfragging" or something of that ilk; "monkeyfighting" and "Monday to Friday" were such a surprise that I felt something that may have come close to the kind of joy the filmmakers were hoping for in writing the line--and, indeed, the entire movie--in the first place.

The second bright spot comes just after Samuel L. Jackson has had enough of the monkeyfighting snakes. (I don't remember the name of the 'character' he ostensibly 'plays' in this film, and really there's no point in pretending it's worth my time to find out.) It turns out the plane is lacking a pilot and the surviving passengers need to find the most qualified person to try to lane the plane.

It also turns out the most qualified person is a young man named Troy, a bodyguard for the rapper 3Gs. As 3Gs points out, Troy has logged thousands of hours of flight time--though admittedly, it was all on a flight simulator program for PlayStation2. It doesn't matter, though, because by the time this fact is revealed Troy's already at the controls--and his command of the language of air control is nothing short of pure beauty. See, because it would be one thing if he had only enough competence to manipulate the controls, but his embodiment of the language, the body movements, the mindset of a pilot demonstrates near-mastery. It's just...so well played.

Here's the unedited version of the final minutes of the film. If you want to skip ahead to Troy's landing, it's at 5:25.

While you're watching, do NOT question why Samuel L. Jackson thinks it's a good idea to shoot the windows out of an unsteady airplane. Do NOT question why the flight attendants choose not to strap themselves in before the windows get shot out. And actually, don't worry too much about why there might be monkeyfighting snakes on a Monday to Friday plane. It really doesn't matter.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I like the AWSOME label.

 

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