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Snakes on a Plane (DVD)

Snakes on a Plane DVD (click for larger image)Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips, Rachel Blanchard, Flex Alexander

Directed by David R. Ellis

Distributed by New Line Home Entertainment


Ah, Snakes on a Plane … when I first heard the title, I cringed. I thought it had to be a joke or a “working title” at the very least. The onslaught of media coverage and theatrical posters that followed proved to me that they were actually going to use it! Then I saw the first trailers, and not unlike the scaly stars of the film, I damn near crawled out of my skin!

As Snakes on a Plane’s release date neared, it seemed as though you couldn’t turn around without hearing or seeing something to do with the film. Whether it was Samuel L. Jackson’s famous line being spouted in a rap song or the television spots or the countless trailers that inundated the airtime between sitcoms and news programs and every corner of the Internet, Snakes on a Plane slithered its way into every available media crevice. Honestly, unless you lived under a rock or suffered a coma during that time, you knew this film was opening soon in a theater near you!

In the excitement caused by the buzz surrounding this upcoming cinematic adventure, anxious fans and skeptical critics alike began to refer to the film as S.O.A.P. It was cute, catchy, a hell of a lot shorter to type out, and no less ridiculous than the original title itself. Snakes on a Plane was quickly becoming a legend…whether it was destined to wind up a raging steamer at the box-office or not!

Snakes on a Plane DVD (click for larger image)The trailers that had once only shown snippets of what appeared to be flailing stupidity and bad CGI snakes began to evolve into what actually showed the signs of a possible, dare I say, plot. My interest was now a bit more than its original morbid curiosity about how BAD it was going to be. I had never imagined that it would have a purpose! Still, upon its release I entered the theater with great trepidation.

I had prepared for the worst and was ready to console myself with the staple cinematic comfort foods, a vat of buttery popcorn goodness and a half gallon of soda. I set my brain to “coast” as the theater lights dimmed, noted the emergency exits, and waited for the in-flight instructions on how to bail from a vessel that is on a collision course with disaster. I expected that bird to go down in a spectacular hail of flaming shit.

Instead I was delighted to find the film refreshingly entertaining and almost smart. My fears of watching a film with no purpose other than to suck the cash from moviegoers’ pockets or one that panders to the ignorance of individuals who think snakes are evil. I’ve owned more reptiles than my local zoo would even know what to do with, and it insults me when I watch movies that all too often portray reptiles and other such creatures in a manner that feeds into people’s ignorance and fear. S.O.A.P. didn’t do that. It used real facts rather than fantastical dribble to support what was happening on the screen. Although some of its facts were stretched (sometimes to an extreme) to fit the plot, at least there was an actual plot! And an enjoyable one at that!

When it was finished and the end credits were rolling across the screen in front of me, I got to enjoy a fun music video while I sat there eating a large portion of crow. It’s nice to leave the theater loving a movie you expected to hate. You know it’s good when you immediately wonder when the DVD will come out so you can enjoy it whenever you please. Fortunately, the Snakes on a Plane DVD is well worth the wait.

It is packed with special features including:

Snakes on a Plane DVD (click for larger image)Commentary by director David Ellis, Samuel L. Jackson, producer Craig Berenson, associate producer Tawny Ellis, VFX supervisor Eric Henry, and 2nd unit director Freddie Hice that is funny, entertaining, informative, and only goes to prove that the people involved enjoyed making the movie as much as we enjoyed watching it.

Ten deleted scenes with optional commentary from director David Ellis. The footage that ended up on the cutting room floor was there for a reason. From what I saw, they did a great job trimming the unnecessary elements that would have done more to stall the storyline than add to the film. The commentary is humorous and informative with great behind-the-scenes gossip thrown in for added fun.

“Pure Venom: The Making of Snakes on a Plane” is a featurette that details the efforts that went into making the film. There is a fair amount of information dealing with everything from the actors and production crew to the technical aspects neatly packed into this 18-minute featurette.

“Snakes on a Blog” is an 8-minute fan reel documentary that delves into the Internet phenomenon that was Snakes on a Plane prior to its release into theaters. Definitely a fan worthy addition to the bonus features.

“Meet the Reptiles” featurette to me was all too brief, but that’s because I’m a snake lover at heart. I could listen about them for hours on end and never tire of it. This mini-documentary contains a very good interview with snake wrangler Jules Sylvester. It is 11 minutes of non-stop information about the slithering stars of the film.

Snakes on a Plane VFX” featurette is a quick 5-minute look at the technical work that went into creating the CGI effects. From the snakes to the plane they stuff a great deal of info into this interesting addition to the disc.

Snakes on a Plane DVD (click for larger image)Blooper reel: Not often does a bonus blooper reel seem like more than a moronic waste of time that is just slapped onto a disc to pad the special features, but I can say that the goofs here are highly entertaining, don’t overstay their welcome, and show the lighter side of cast and crew.

Music videos by Cobra Starship and others: This section includes a couple of different ways to watch the music video for the song “Bring It” from Cobra Starship from the film and a making-of segment for the video.

There is also a feature that works on your PC that I thought was awesome. With a quick download from the DVD itself, you can treat yourself to an Interactive Viewing Experience that allows you to choose any character and any line from that character so that you can immediately jump to that exact moment in the film. You can also access the official website for the film, the New Line website, and the New Line Cinema Hot Spot.

All in all I think that the DVD does right by its supporters, which only seems fitting for such a fan-driven film.

Special Features
Commentary by director David Ellis, Samuel L. Jackson, producer Craig Berenson, associate producer Tawny Ellis, VFX supervisor Eric Henry, and 2nd unit director Freddie Hice
Ten deleted scenes with optional commentary from director David Ellis
“Pure Venom: The Making of Snakes on a Plane” featurette
“Snakes on a Blog” fan reel
“Meet the Reptiles” featurette
Snakes on a Plane VFX” featurette
Blooper reel
Music videos by Cobra Starship and others
Five TV spots
Trailers

Film


4 1/2 out of 5

Special Features


4 1/2 out of 5

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Jon Condit