Snake King (2006)
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Critic Reviews for Snake King
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Audience Reviews for Snake King
The snakes have more pointers than the plot, but it's still not the most awful sci-fi channel movie. The characters are pretty thin, the CGI isn't too good, and the ending is confusing and lackluster.
I wonder if the Director was on Crack when they came on the Idea to make this Movie? Seriously!
In the early days of monster movies, giant monsters were created by using models and claymation. They didn't appear in tandem that much with the actors on screen, and when an actual attack was made, the actors were represented by models and claymation themselves. The effect was a little bit odd, but still neat looking, and at least they moved pretty well and looked consistantly like the same thing. In the '50s, giant monster movies began using backscreen projection, filming real animals and having them appear like giants on the screen as helpless human actors try to react. There was still some on-set work done for the close-ups, but mostly it ended up with the typical image of a woman screaming in the foreground as a "giant" ant or something runs after her in the background. Bert I. Gordon made a career out of this. It looks silly now, but at least the animals look like real animals. Now we have CGI. And now CGI is cheap enough so that virtually anyone making a film can use CGI effects. And sadly, they do. [i]SnakeMan[/i] played on the Sci-Fi channel under the title [i]The Snake King[/i], which is midly more appropriate as the film has nothing to do with SnakeMen. It's the second of two types of giant monster story--the type in which a group of people (corporate scientists, in this case) are sent to a remote location (The Amazon) to find a treasured object (a prehistoric man that supposedly had lived hundreds of years) and finds themselves getting picked off by either a single creature or hordes of one type of creature (single, in this case, a giant five-headed snake). There's some plot stuff towards the end about a tribe who carries the secret of eternal life, but the Monster Movies 101 synopsis I just gave you is the important part. Scientists, corporations, jungles, snakes. If you've watched enough Sci-Fi channel, you can pretty much write the movie yourself at this point. [i]SnakeMan[/i] uses CGI effects for the five-headed snake creature, which wouldn't be so bad if they were any good. If it didn't, say, just look like an ordinary snake except less convincing because it's obviously CGI. Or if the you ever really saw the whole snake at once, instead of just one head at a time casually eating the characters in a completely computer-generated fashion, causing CGI blood to splatter all over the place. It's not even real blood on the set. It's just fake-looking CGI splatters over everything. The point is that as silly as the backscreen projection giant monsters looked, at least they had real creatures in them. The creators of [i]SnakeMan [/i]probably could have just as simply gotten some snake footage, integrated it with the actors and come up with a more convincing movie, because every time the title(?) creature appears, you can't help but thinking, "Oh, a fake-ass computer snake. Ooo, scary." At least having real snakes interacting poorly with the actors would make you think, "Oh, a real snake was used at some point in time during the making of this film," and possibly cause you do feel some minor jolt of fear because you're afraid of snakes. [i]SnakeMan[/i] will really only affect those afraid of computer-generated snakes, because at no time during the course of the film do the characters seem to be doing battle against anything not made by some overpaid tech guy who can't even make the damn critters move right. In fact, the only thing less convincing than the snakes in [i]SnakeMan[/i] is Stephen Baldwin, the "star" of [i]SnakeMan[/i]. I wasn't expecting any sort of genius out of Stephen Baldwin. I know he's a terrible actor. This is a guy who got upstaged by human dialtone Josh Hamilton in [i]Threesome[/i]. This is a guy who couldn't steal scenes from Pauly Shore. But I was expecting, you know, a person with a pulse. Baldwin recites all his lines in monotone--an almost hypnotic monotone that could, in theory, have lulled all of the Amazon snakes to sleep, had they been real snakes rather than computer-generated pictures of crap. Let's look at his first real bit of dialogue, wherein he explains why he was late to meet the group to guide them off to their deaths: "One of the local kids was mauled by a jaguar and had to be airlifted to a local hospital. Sorry if that made me five minutes late, but it seemed like a priority." Okay, it's shitty dialogue. I'd be pissed about saying out out loud too. But the way to overcome the shittiness is to deliver it as cocky and as sneering as you could. Think of how Kurt Russell would say it in his Jack Burton voice. [i] That[/i] could be the start of an interesting character. Nope, Baldwin gives every-word-exactly-the-same-emphasis, and as a result, it not only makes him look like a bad actor, it makes his character look like a total asshole. "Cocky" may not be entertaining in person, but it's great to have in a movie, but if you're delivering lines like that without cockiness, you just look like a dick. And this guy's supposed to be the [i]hero[/i]. The guy the female lead falls for. It's not only starting the character (and thus the defining relationship in the movie) on the wrong foot, it's practically amputating that foot off at the knee and replacing it with crappy CGI snakes. I could go on about the crappiness of [i]SnakeMan[/i], from the bland direction by Allan A. Goldstein (it is marginally better than the director's [i]2001: A Space Travesty[/i], however) to the supporting cast being completely unmemorable to the fact that the snake changes sizes every time you see it, but these would merely be supporting reasons. It all comes down to the creatures looking like crap and the lead character being a boring asshole, and that's really enough to make a film virtually unwatchable unless it's got a fair share of redeeming qualities, which [i]SnakeMan[/i] doesn't.
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