Monday, August 21, 2006

Snakes As A Movement

In response to direct questioning, I thought I'd explain why I was so into seeing Snakes On A Plane this weekend. Yes, Manda and I saw it on Sunday and, yes, it was lousy. But, not wholly without any amount of entertainment. It had massive plot holes, terrible acting, bad dialogue, and plenty of moments that just don't make any sense at all. But ...

My stock joke answer for wanting to see it was "I want to support it so that Hollywood will start churning out copy-cat crap like 'Sharks On A Dirigible' or 'Piranhas In A Gorilla Costume'" or whatever, just like Ry said. But, in reality, that isn't the real reason that I wanted to support this movie.

To me, there's something very cool about the producers going back and adding lines into the film to please the fanbase. That's extremely hip. When was the last time that fan involvement helped to shape part of the movie itself before it was finished? The fact that there was a very organic and cooperative process happening there is what should be the big lesson to the studios. Not that the country wants to see crap. Not that we want to see "Snakes On A Plane 2: More Snakes On A Plane." But that fans can get behind something that they feel a part of - that they feel they are involved with and not simply consuming.

I think I was so affected by this because of what went on during the filming of Star Wars: Episode III. More or less around the time of the film's pre-production was when the whole Star Wars Kid thing hit the internet. Here was a kid from Canada named Ghyslain who clearly loved Star Wars and quickly became more than just a source of mockery to many on the internet. He also became a hero. He came to represent to many anyone who had ever swung a broom around like a lightsaber, jumped over a creek as though it were an endless pit within the Death Star, or made Darth Vader breath noises within a paper cup. He represented the imagination of Star Wars fans and the general disconnect between who you wish you could be in your imagination and who you actually are in real life.

As such, there began a tremendous ground swell in the fan community to "Put Ghyslain In Ep 3." It was a pretty vocal movement for a little while and one that seemed like it was maybe starting to get some traction when an on-set web cam once displayed a hand written sign that read "We Love Ghyslain." In the end, Ghyslain was not in Ep 3.

But - he could have been. And it would have been a tremendous story. And if it had happened, it would have trumped SoaP and been the movie that got all of the buzz for having listened to the fans, indulged their goofy whims, and in the end make a stronger bond between the content creators and the content consumers.

Anyway, that is why I wanted to support SoaP. In the end, while it may spur a small number of crappy rip-off action movies, hopefully the larger lesson will be absorbed by studios as well.


EmoRiot said...

That makes sense. The idea of a film reacting to a fanbase at production stage is cool. And you're right. The Star Wars kid TOTALLY should have gotten a cameo in the film. I mean, nothing obvious. Not like superimposing his famous twirls into the final battle between darth and obiwan.... but the same way they put in ET and that guy from NSync.

Bug said...

Exactly. He so could have been PWNed during the Jedi Temple seige scene, and they could have even made him look like a bad-ass jedi before he got taken out. It would have been great.