Snakes on a Plane: a lesson in the power of film : Staff outing to movie brings writers even closer than they were before

We were a crowd of little lambs, blank pages yet to be written on. As we stood in a group outside of Movies 12, not one of us gave much thought to our immediate future. Anju said that she had no real expectations for the film, and the silence that met her remark meant unanimous agreement. With apathy that could caught and bottled, your faithful WEB staff marched into Snakes on a Plane. The film begins with a sexy motorcyclist doing sexy motorcycle tricks, with a beautiful aerial view of Hawaiian Islands as the backdrop. While this may seem like an ordinary introduction with pleasing images to get the full attention of the audience, it really goes deeper. The wonderful imagery conflicts with the sinister reptilian sights that dominate most of the movie. By giving us this misleading eye candy at the beginning, the filmmakers raise our comfort level, and then slip it out from under our feet. As a result, we feel as if they have snuck their own ironic snakes onto our plane of thought. As the plot began to develop (translation: the snakes began to attack), the collective interest of the WEB staff grew exponentially. The movie is brilliant in that although it offers it’s fair share of irony and surprise, it also presents many characters in a purely stereotypical manner. In this way, the entire audience may relate more intimately to the plight of the poor, generic travelers. One could feel the viewer synergy building as we watched the Snobby Old British Man clash with the Beautiful Yet Inexplicably Single and Lonely Flight Attendant, only to see them both put in their place by the Commanding Black Man (a role that Mukund hotly resented). I felt like such a part of the movie that I think I even high-fived Supraja, and I don’t even like her! (JK, Supraja). Religion is a universal human practice, so it is no coincidence that Snakes on a Plane offers its own unique theological insights. Most conspicuous among these is the fate of the first two snake casualties, in an obvious throwback to Genesis 3: 1-8. In the film, two lustful lovers decide to unleash their passions in the airline restroom. They pay dearly for this descent into the bowels of temptation, and a serpent is once again integral to this punishment. It is worth noting that when the audience sees the world through the eyes of the snakes, it is in green—the color of greed. In this way, the shameless bathroom sex-fiends are penalized for their sins by a symbol of their own greedy lust. Once the movie had been playing for about an hour, I felt like a different person, and I think that I can speak for the whole staff in this respect. More accurately, I didn’t feel like a person at all; I felt as insignificant as an electron in a beam of light. Spencer likened the sensation to us becoming a WEB Staff Buddha made of pure energy. Or maybe we were, those sorts of things can be hard to tell. Regardless, the belly of this Buddha would rumble to the heavens in joyous laughter whenever there was a particularly suave line, or gruesome snake death. The most wonderful part of seeing this movie—no, experiencing this movie—wasn’t that we cheered whenever Samuel L. said “Mother f***er!” It wasn’t even that Eric conquered his lifelong fear of non-mammals. It was the fact that when we walked out of Movies 12 that warm Tuesday night, we weren’t just a group of teenagers. We were a newspaper staff that had been united through popular media (except Mukund, who “had already seen” the movie). To become part of something so special was as humbling as it was exhilarating. Above all, it made us realize that we’re all just some lowly snakes on a much bigger, more important plane.