Snakes on a Plane

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The 2006 "Psychological Thriller" Snakes on a Plane does pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A witness to a murder of a prosecutor gets hunted by Asian Hawaiian gangsters, so the FBI puts him under the escort of agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) as he flies from Hawaii to California to testify. The gangsters come up with an unusual method of trying to bring the plane down: they unleash snakes on the plane during the flight to try and bring it down before it gets to California. Lots of people die, sacrifices get made to save lives, and Flynn kicks reptilian ass.

The movie turned out exactly as ludicrous as the premise and title sound, and it reveled in its So Bad It's Good-ness, with cheesy glowing effects, Gory Discretion Shots, and tons of snakes. When the studio wanted to give it a serious title (Pacific Air Flight 121) and turn it into a more serious horror/action film, Jackson threatened to quit the project altogether. When the absurd title gained popularity with Internet nerds and became a huge online meme, the studio turned the film into a dark-comedy horror/action film, re-filmed several scenes to add new lines (including the now-infamous page-topping quote), and had the rating changed from PG-13 to R to accommodate the newfound audience. While the nerd-hype failed to translate into large-scale box office success, Snakes on a Plane did ultimately make a profit.

In 2010, an actual plane crashed in the Congo due to a panic caused by an escaped crocodile. How many passengers survived? One (plus the crocodile, which an emergency response unit promptly slaughtered with machetes after arriving at the scene).

In 2012, it happened for real, though only one snake showed up.

Snakes on a Plane provides examples of the following tropes (on a plane):

"Fucking snake, get off my dick!"

  • Hand Wave: The snakes' behavior is handwaved as them having been sprayed with pheromones.

"Great. Snakes on crack."

  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today? / Girlfriend in Canada: The very effeminate air steward mentions his girlfriend a couple times. No one buys it. But subverted at the end, when his very real, very hot girlfriend shows up at the end and he kisses her passionately enough to kill all doubt.
  • He Knows Too Much
  • High Concept: The entire concept is practically encapsulated in its title.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Love the film? Then you'll definitely love the bloopers.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Kenan Thompson's character (Troy) is called upon to land the plane after all of the snakes have been eradicated. He's been playing a PSP flight simulator throughout the trip, and he says he got his training from it... even though his brother has the high score. Also, he doesn't do an expert job, to say the least.
  • Impending Doom POV: Used a lot.
  • Infant Immortality: Even if it takes a Heroic Sacrifice or two to maintain this trope. Although one kid did get bitten, albeit not killed.
  • It's the Only Way, lampshaded: The villain releases a bunch of snakes onto a single plane to catch one kid who may have been the witness to the murder he committed. One of his lackeys questions whether or not it was all worth it, and he responds with "Don't you think I've exhausted every other option?!"
    • On the heroic side, Jackson's character tells the plan to his superiors at the FBI, to which they respond, "What kind of insane plan is that?"
  • Kick the Dog: When the snakes are loosed on the plane, one businessman throws a Rich Bitch's chihuahua into their path so that he can get himself out of there safely. It more or less fails completely as the massive snake swallows it whole in less time than it took to throw the thing. Have a nice Karmic Death, buddy!
    • Made especially bad as the dog in question had earlier saved its master by driving the snakes away from her while she was unconscious and the master herself was less of a Rich Bitch and actually a fairly nice person.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Crime boss Eddie Kim is shown practicing karate while ordering the titular plan. Could have been a Chekhov's Gun for an eventual Kung Fu faceoff with Samuel L. Jackson, but nope.
  • Mile-High Club
  • Mistaken for Gay: The film's only plot twist.
  • The Mockbuster: The Asylum's Snakes On A Train. Totally not kidding.
  • Nerd: Averted. Dr. Steven Price, the snake expert consulted by the FBI, is a bit eccentric (which Ph.D isn't?), but is professional, calm and collected, basically gives the FBI their most important leads and greatly assists medical personnel with treatment. He manages to communicate his expertise to laypeople quickly, in terms they understand, without coming across as an arrogant asshole or using Spock Speak -- professional, but clearly understands that people's lives are at stake. Dr. Price should be the model for film scientists everywhere.
  • One-Liner: Other than the infamous "Enough is enough! I have had it with these muthafuckin' snakes on this muthafuckin' plane!", there's also Samuel L. Jackson's "ALL PRAISES TO THE PLAYSTATION!"
    • "Great, snakes on crack!"
  • One-Scene Wonder: The martial artist. People wished he got more scenes.
  • Orifice Evacuation
  • Oscar Bait: Played for Laughs during the MTV movie awards:

Samuel L Jackson: I'm here tonight to present the award everyone's been waiting for: best movie. This award holds a special place in my heart because next year I'll be winning it for Snakes on a Plane. Now I know, I know that sounds cocky, but I don't give a damn. I'm guaranteeing that Snakes on a Plane will win best movie next year. Does not matter what else is coming out. New James Bond... no snakes in that! Ocean's 13... where my snakes at? Shrek the Third... green, but not a snake. No movie shall triumph over Snakes on a Plane. Unless I happen to feel like making a movie called Mo' Motha-fuckin' Snakes on Mo' Motha-fuckin' Planes.

  • Product Placement: Taken to an absurd extreme, from the slow-motion drinking of Red Bull in the opening sequence to the Pepsi bottle careening toward the camera on a steward's cart.
    • Forget that, there's one shot where someone opens their MacBook laptop, causing the entire Apple logo to fill the screen for a solid three seconds.
    • "All praises to the Playstation!"
  • Red Herring: One of the passengers is an Asian guy with tattoos and a suspicious arm wound, he looks like he'd be the kind of guy Eddie Kim would employ. But, it turns out he's just another passenger in danger like the rest of them. He even saves someone from a snake with his bare hands.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Pretty much the whole thing. The villain's plan itself fits, as they bring up: it's such a ridiculous plan, who would ever have seen it coming, believed it, or safeguarded against it?

"Don't you think I exhausted every other option?!"

I've had it with these motherfucking tropes in this motherfucking article! Everybody press the 'Back' button! I'm about to open some new fucking windows.