Tuesday, August 15, 2006

ON SCREEN:Watching snakes on a screen issss not my kind of fun

By targeting common phobias, Snakes on a Plane may scare away some moviegoers but filmmakers have nothing to fear at the box office.

I really like Samuel L. Jackson, Julianna Margulies, Flex Alexander and Bobby Cannavale but can't support their latest movie project: Snakes on a Plane (2006, alternative title: Pacific Air 121). Like slithery predecessors Anaconda (1997, alternative title: Anacondas - Hunt for the Blood Orchid), King Cobra (1998), Silent Predators (1999), Python (2000), Boa (2001), Fangs (2001), Venomous (2001), Python II (2002), and Boa vs. Python (2004), Snakes on a Plane is one movie I couldn't stand to sit through. The movie trailers alone make my skin crawl. So do Snakes on a Plane reviews, this portion of the film's Motion Picture Association of America rating: "intense sequences of terror and violence", and the plot outline posted at Amazon.com:

On board a flight over the Pacific Ocean, an assassin, bent on killing a passenger who's a witness in protective custody, lets loose a crate full of deadly snakes.

Snakes rattle me, wherever I encounter them, although finding them repulsive and frightening does not consitute a full-blown phobia. However, Snakes on a Plane targets several common, clinically diagnosed, fears - most notably, fear of flying (aviatophobia), fear of snakes (ophidiophobia), and fear of enclosed/confined spaces (claustrophobia) - and it's a safe bet that bona fide phobics will sit out this movie with me.

Nevertheless, the filmmakers need not fear. We squeamish, who can't stomach slithering serpents (and other aspects of the movie) and will steer clear, are barely biting into box office revenues. Snakes' Rottentomatoes.com Box Office History reports the film ranked #1 in week one and grossed $15,250,000. Apparently, Snakes' sales are charmed by three factors that give the film legs: a lengthy marketing campaign boosted by online hype (that grew legs of its own among bloggers and fan sites, independently of the filmmakers and movie marketers), its summer debut, and its appeal among moviegoers who crave Action & Adventure, Campy Classics, Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Special Effects. ###