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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Don't like sewage? Try snakes

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Columnist

And you thought sewage on the beach was bad for tourism. What about snakes on a plane?!

Brace yourself. The blockbuster movie shaping up to rule the summer of 2006 is a sweet little story about a lawman escorting a witness to a crime on a commercial airplane flight. The bad guys pack the plane with hundreds of deadly snakes in time-release containers set to open midflight so that there is no going back. Oh, and the flight is out of Honolulu.

Too much, no? Bad enough when there's a screaming baby on the plane, let alone a couple hundred snakes, a grouchy flight attendant and no hot lunch service.

For the few who don't know, we don't have snakes in Hawai'i (except one tiny worm-looking guy, but he don't bother nobody). We don't want snakes in Hawai'i. Before bad guys could load a plane with snakes leaving Honolulu, they would have to load a plane with snakes coming to Honolulu (maybe from Guam, but Sen. Daniel K. Inouye is working on that).

The movie doesn't open until late summer, but already, people are going wild about it, mostly because the title is so wacky and brilliant at the same time. You heard about the movie "Snakes on a Plane?" No, what's it about? Snakes on a plane! The story goes that star Samuel L. Jackson wouldn't let producers change the title to something more subtle, like "Flight 121."

The Internet Movie Database lists Canada as the only filming location, but the Hawai'i Film Office blog says some scenes, but no snake scenes, were shot here.

Online anticipation of the film, sure to be a big hit with teen boys, has reached a frenzy unmatched by any other pre-release hype. Twisted geniuses have created pretend trailers for the movie. People have already started pitching potential sequels ("Snakes on a Plane 2: Planes on a Snake!") Before long, developers will be pushing a "Snakes on a Plane" theme park in Kaka'ako.

The catchy title has already made it into the online Urban Dictionary as a synonym for "Whatcha' gonna' do?" Like, "It's raining. Somewhere on O'ahu, a sewage treatment plant must be overflowing. Snakes on a plane, dude."

This is a situation full of potential; it could be a fun summer promo for Hawai'i's tourism industry, always desperate for a clever marketing idea. Snake lei, anyone?

Or it could go bad, like when people started freaking out about swimming in the ocean after "Jaws" came out.

But most likely, it will be potential unrealized. "Snakes on a Plane" will swoop in and slither out and four years later, some underfunded tour company will stumble through a snake tour and fold after three months.

Eh, could be worse. Instead of "Snakes on a Plane" could be "Filth on the Beach." Not as fun. Way more scary.

Lee Cataluna's column runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Reach her at 535-8172 or lcataluna@honoluluadvertiser.com.