“I always feel kind of bad for them,” [Brian] Finkelstein says now of the film’s marketers. “They make this kind of action movie, and people get a hold of it” and create a tremendous amount of attention and awareness that “doesn’t actually match the movie,” he says. “You could see where they tried to make the movie a little more campy, to meet expectations.” But there was still a fundamental genre disconnect. “They were in kind of an awkward position,” he says.The movie promoted the hype more than the hype promoted the movie. Is this the way things will be in the future, with "instant, mutable, unmoored" doings on the web taking the place of thought-out cultural productions like movies? I wonder.
The most obvious precedent for “snakes on a plane” as blockbuster phrase was not “Blair Witch Project” but “all your base are belong to us,” a badly translated phrase from a Japanese video game that a few years ago became the inspiration for many, many Internet-spread jokes, gags, Photoshop riffs, computer animations and T-shirts. The game was something called Zero Wing, but nobody mistook the “all your base” thing for “citizen marketing” or even an expression of fandom. In fact, most participants in the “snakes on a plane” phenomenon were not fans “collaborating” with New Line. Instead, they were a disparate ensemble collaborating with one another on a separate work. New Line didn’t get a free ride from these creators; if anything, the creators got a boost from New Line: The movie promoted the hype more than the hype promoted the movie.
There's something about getting absorbed into the web that changes the whole structure of your mind, I think. (And I acknowledge the theory out there -- I read it on the web! -- that, in my personal case, I'm simply crazy. So don't go by just me.) I have lost all taste for things that are planned out and long. I no longer want to sit through anything. Once there's a script that's going to be followed, I'm looking around for something to click to see what else is happening.
ADDED: And as soon as I'm halfway into expressing some theory, I get antsy and look for a "publish" button to hit before any more time passes.