So Sunday the 10th was the start of the Chinese New Year, which is the year of the snake.
Since posting on the 10th would interfere with my Valentine’s Day posts, Romance is in the Air, I decided to save the Chinese New Year posts until after I finished it by posting on the last day of the New year, February 25th.
People born in the Year of the Snake are intelligent and wise; and usually thought of as great thinkers. Snakes are materialistic, prefer to work alone, and are easily stressed. Snakes are best with an Ox or Rooster. They’re worst pairings are with a Tiger, Monkey or Pig. Snakes are those born in 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, and 2013.
Some famous people born in the year of the snake are Ben Stiller, Bob Dylan, Charlie Sheen, Dennis Quaid, Desi Arnaz, Dolores del Rio, Edgar Allen Poe, Jacqueline Kennedy, Pierce Bronsnan, Abraham Lincoln, Robert Downey Jr., Sarah Jessica Parker, and Tim Allen.
So to celebrate the year of the snake I am going to do my 13 favorite snakes/snake moments in film. For those of you expecting it, sorry to disappoint; I have never seen Snakes on a Plane so that film will not be taking any spot on my list. I just thought that it would be a fun parody title.
13) Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
One of the great disney classic films, this film and book are absoltely amazing.
It tells the story of the Robinson family, (they are Swiss), who are traveling to New Guniea but end up getting stuck in a storm, abandoned, and stranded on their broken ship. They pack up every bit of supplies they can and travel to the nearest place, a little island. The family consists of the father, mother, and three boys; Fritz (my fav the cute one), Ernst (the smart one), and Francis (the baby). The family creates a tree house and lives on the island going through many adventures; dealing with wild animals, saving a young teen, fighting pirates, etc.
Best Snake Scene: Fritz Fights an Anaconda
Okay, so Fritz is my favorite brother, as he is super manly and tough. At this point in the film, Fritz and Ernst are traveling through the island trying to see how big it is and what it holds. On the way they encounter pirates and save a young boy from becoming a pirate slave. This boy is super annoying, and they hate having to deal with him, but take him with them because they don’t feel right about leaving him to be traded. They are on their way home, with the boy in tow, when they have to cross a river. As they are crossing, Ernst gets attacked by an anaconda and Fritz acts all manly and cool wrestling with the snake to save Ernst’s life. Such a great brother!
12) Aladdin (1992)
I loved Aladdin growing up as a kid. I used to watch the first and third one all the time, I remember that when I was in that little kid phase were you don’t want to take a bath, the only way my mom could get me in the tub willingly would be to promise me that I’d be able to watch Aladdin when I was done. I love all the songs in this film and committed them all to memory at an early age.
Aladdin is a retelling of a chinese tale in Arabian Nights or A Thousand and One Nights, tales that Scheherazade told her husband to keep herself alive each night, (for more on that go here). In the disney story, Aladdin is an orphaned boy living with his monkey friend, Abu. The two are street rats, scrounging about for food and hiding from the castle guards. Every night Aladdin goes home and dreams of being rich and living in the palace, never worrying about anything. Meanwhile, Princess Jasmine is in the palace and has to marry by her sixteenth birthday. She hates every prince that has called on her and she feels they all are after her fortune. Also in the palace lurks Jafar, the evil vizier, who wants to take the throne for himself. He also is trying to get inside the fabled Cave of Wonders to get a lamp, but only a pure-hearted, diamond in the rough can enter. These three stories intersect when Jasmine sneaks out of the palace, only to be helped by Aladdin when she gets into trouble. The two run from guards and are caught, Jasmine revealing herself and going home, while Aladdin is sent to the dungeon. Jafar disguises himself and frees Aladdin convinced he is the perfect person to enter the cave. Aladdin is and does, but Abu brings the whole place toppling down when he tries to take something he is not supposed to touch. Aladdin gets stuck inside the Cave, but there he finds the Genie of the lamp and the adventure to capture the heart of the princess is on.
Best Snake Scene: Jafar is a Cobra
Near the end of the film, Jafar has stolen the lamp from Aladdin and has taken over the kingdom. He has turned the sultan into a puppet and tried to turn Jasmine into a love slave (very Jabba the Hutt-esque), to little success. He had sent Aladdin far away, but with the magic carpet’s help Aladdin has returned to free the sultan, Jasmine, and the Genie from Jafar’s evil grasp. At one point when Aladdin is fighting Jafar, he calls Jafar a cowardly snake. At this insult, Jafar decides to actually become one, in fact a King Cobra. Man, Jafar is so creepy here, I was just begging for Rikki-Tikki-Tavi to come save everybody.
11) Hercules (1997)
In Hercules, Hercules is born to the gods Zeus and Hera. Hades wants Hercules killed so he send his two minions to first turn Hercules mortal and to then kill him. With Hercules dead, Hades’ plan to rule Olympus will be complete. The only problem is, Hades’ minions are very incompetent and fail to complete their mission. Hercules is turned mortal, but still retains his super strength. He is adopted and raised by mortal parents, but eventually journeys to the temple of Zeus to figure out who he is as he knows he doesn’t belong with the others. He finds out he is the son of Zeus and the only way to take back his rightful spot on Olympus and become a god is if he becomes a “true hero”. From the temple he travels to see the satyr Philoctetes and train to be a hero. From that point on Hercule is involved in all kinds of monster fights as he is eager to prove himself a hero and Hades is eager to be rid of him.
Best Snake Scene: Hercules destroys the snakes
When the minions are going to kill Hercules they first give him mortal juice, but fail to give him every last drop. Therefore Hercules keeps his super strength. The minions change into snakes and attack Hercules, but the little cute baby is able to completely trounce them. He is so cute when he does it too! A sweet lil’ bouncing baby knotting up the snakes and throwing them far away.
(Start at 10:33)
10)The Odyssey (1997)
The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus, from his fighting in Troy, and all his adventures as he tries to get home. It was a very big cast with Isabella Rosallini, Bernadette Peters, Vanessa Williams, and Armand Assante.
Best Snake Scene: When Laocoön gets killed
So Odysseus comes up with the idea to create a huge wooden horse and hide all the soldiers in it; pretending that the Greeks have left and given a surrender gift, aka the Trojan Horse. Only one person doesn’t trust that this “horse” is a “gift”, Laocoön. Laocoön is an adviser for King Priam, and he tells everyone that the horse is probably a trick and they should destroy it. Right after he declares this, a giant sea serpent comes out of the ocean and kills him and his family. Immediately everyone believes that since Laocoön was killed by a creature sent by the gods, everything he said should not be trusted and take the horse into Troy, ultimately sealing their doom.
I know it is another language and I’m sorry it was the only way I could find a clip. Start watching from 4:21
9) Cleopatra (1934)
Now when most people think of Cleopatra they instantly think of Elizabeth Taylor in the famous 1963 film. But before that movie came out Cecil B. DeMille (one of my fav directors) did a version with Claudette Colbert.
This film tells the same story of the last Egyptian Pharaoh and everything she did to try and keep her power. She tries to get Julius Caesar to help her, by seducing him, and after he is killed; switches her affections to Mark Anthony. But with Anthony and Octavius (Julius’ adopted son and also known as Augustus) fighting for control of Rome, all does not go well for the star-crossed lovers.
Best Snake Scene: Suicide by Asps
Now I’m not one to encourage suicide, but it was probably the best option she could have taken. There was no way for her to escape and if she was taken to Rome, she’d be tortured, raped, or killed. When they have Cleopatra commit her final act, Colbert does it so well. She is so stately, all the way up to the end; a true Queen of Egypt.
Start at 2:43
8) The Jungle Book (1967)
This is the original Disney version and based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling. In the story Mowgli is a man cub raised by wolves. Ten years pass by and when news of Shere Khan, the great tiger, has returned to the jungle they decide to send Mowgli back to the Man village. Bagheera, the panther, tries to take him back but they get interrupted by Kaa, the snake who tries to eat him, and Baloo a slothy bear who discourages Mowgli from returning to the world of men. Mowgli meets other crazy characters such as King Louie the Orangutan, Colonel Hathi the Elephant, and a group of Vultures who act like The Beatles.
Best Snake Scene: Kaa & Hypnosis
Kaa is pretty scary, being a python, but the creepiest thing about him is the way he hypnotizes people. He uses his power to attempt to not only eat Mowgli, but Bagheera as well.
7) Fools Rush In (1997)
Straight-laced Alex (Matthew Perry) is visiting Las Vegas to oversee a construction project and has a one night stand with free-spirited, Mexican-American Isabel Fuentes (Selma Hayek). Alex figures he would never see her again, but three months later she comes back into his life letting him know that she is pregnant. The two decide to do “the right thing”, and get married. But can they overcome their cultural differences?
Best Snake Scene: When Alex gets a snake bite.
So Alex goes out hunting with Isabella’s brothers to bond with them, but unfortunately things don’t quite as he had planned. As Alex is running about trying to connect with Isabel’s family, he gets caught in a rattlesnake nest. The brothers shoot to kill the snake, and Alex gets so scared he runs, right into some cacti. To combat the pain, Isabel’s brothers give him a LOT of tequila. This was always one of my favorite scenes in the movie.
6)Clash of the Titans (1981)
This version is nothing like the true story of Perseus in mythology but much better than the remake recently made in 2010.
In Clash of the Titans, there are two demigods that are the strong crucial characters. One of them is Calibos, son of Thetis, who is engaged to marry the Princess Andromeda. However, Calibos has killed all of the winged pegasi and this is just the last thing in Zeus’ list of grievances that Calibos has committed. To punish him, Zeus turns him into a hideous monster. Thetis is very angry, and in revenge has Perseus, Zeus’ son of a mortal woman, sent to Joppa. There Perseus sees Andromeda and falls in love with her; but unfortunately she is now under a curse, and if her riddle is answered falsely than the suitor is burned at the stake. (Her predicament resembles the princess in The Traveling Companion by Hans Christian Anderson). Perseus is able to solve the riddle, but unfortunately Andromeda’s life is once again threatened, this time by the Kraken, and he has to go on an adventure to find something to defeat it.
Best Snake Scene: Fighting Medusa
Medusa was a gorgan, and once very lovely until she angered Athena and was cursed with not only snake for hair, but if one looked into her eyes they would be turned to stone. Perseus goes after her to get her head so that he can use it to turn the Kraken into stone and save Andromeda. Now I’ve always imagined Medusa as a beautiful woman with snake hair, much like Uma Thurman’s portrayl in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010). However, in Clash of the Titans they take it once step further, giving Medusa the whole body of a snake, they even gave her a rattler at the end of her tail. I love her hair the most though, as it is constantly moving and squirming; just as it should be.
5) The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)
In The Chipmunk Adventure, the chipmunks and chipettes wish they could take a trip around the world. They are overheard by an eccentric millionaire brother and sister. The two agree to finance the trip, and include a prize of a $100,000 to the ones who finish first. All the chipmunks and chipettes have to do is take two separate routes by hot air balloon, and make several exchanges of little chipmunk and chipette dolls as proof they traveled to the places they said they would. Who will win? As always music and hijinks ensue.
Best Snake Scene: “Getting Lucky“
At one point in the film the chipettes are captured by a pre-pubescent sultan who is determined to make Brittany his wife. The girls split up as Eleanor goes off to take care of some things and Brittany & Jeanette go after the dolls (they were taken from them earlier and are needed to win the contest). When the two girls find their lost dolls, they discover that they are being guarded by snakes. Always quick thinkers, the girls decide to charm them–the only way they know how-through music. I love this song and dance number!
4) Robin Hood (1973)
Robin Hood (1973) is the Disney version in which all the characters are cartoon animals. Robin Hood and Maid Marian are foxes, Little John a bear, Prince John a lion, etc. It tells the story of the legendary bandit in abbreviated form. Robin Hood plays tricks on Prince John and the Sheriff, he competes in the archery contest in disguise, dances with Maid Marian, and has to save the day. I love this movie as it is Disney at its best.
Best Snake Scene: Anything With Sir Hiss
How do I describe Sir Hiss? Well he is the Cassandra of the Disney world. He is an advisor to Prince John; has a strong head on his shoulders and good intuition about people. The only problem is no one listens to him. He tries to warn Prince John countless times that those gypsy women are probably bandits trying to rip him off, (they are in fact Robin & Lil’ John) and later that the Duke of Chutney is not a real Duke, (once again right as it is Lil’ John). Sir Hiss is one of the characters you have a love/hate relationship with; but he for sure makes the scenes hilarious. He’s such a brownnoser, but funny all the same. “Mere slip of the forked tongue.” “Snakes don’t walk they slither.”
3) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
In Raiders of the Lost Ark we are introduced to Indiana Jones; archeologist and total superhero. He travels about and takes down the bad guys that trying to steal treasures for private collections. This film is the first in the series, and has Indiana on a search for the lost Ark. He has an old flame reappear, bouts with a villainous archeologists, and has to deal with a lot of Nazis.
Best Snake Scene: “Why’d It Have to Be Snakes?”
Indiana is afraid of snakes, deathly afraid of them. He just abhors being around them. At this point in the film, Indiana has discovered where the Ark is located and he and his men have completed digging for it. He is just about to climb down into the area when he discovers his worse fear is waiting for him. The line “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?“; has become a universal saying for when everything seems to have just gone down the crapper.
For more Indiana Jones, go to And Away We Go
2) Conan the Barbarian (1982)
In Conan the Barbarian, Conan’s family is killed by the evil Thulsa Doom’s warriors. Conan is enslaved and after years of servitude he is finally freed. He goes out on his own, becoming a thief and forming friendships with other thieves/wanderers. He is eventually brought before King Osric and asked by him to rescue his daughter from Thulsa Doom and the Snake Cult. Conan agrees because of his hatred for Thulsa Doom.
Best Snake Scene: James Earl Jones becomes a Snake.
The evil villian Thulsa Doom is played by James Earl Jones. Thulsa Doom is the leader of the Snake cult and is a sorcerer. One of his powers is the ability to turn into a snake. When he does this during the film it is so cool, but really creepy!
For more on Conan the Barbarian, go to Conan the Librarian
1) The Jungle Book (1994)
The Jungle Book is pretty much what Disney used as their basis for the Tarzan film (both being Disney films). The Jungle Book 1994 version is not the cartoon version, this one is a live action film and the animals don’t talk. The film starts out with Mowgli’s father being a guide for some Englishmen who are patrolling India. One night Shere Khan attacks the camp as someone has broken the jungle rules, that is killed for sport instead of food. Mowgli is lost in the confusion and thought to be dead, later raised by animals. He is eventually found by his old compatriots, who attempt to be bring him back into society. He still has feelings for Kitty, a girl he played with as a child, but she is engaged to the hunter/poacher William Boone who wants to use Mowgli as a guide to Monkey City and the rumored King Louie treasure. Adventure ensues
Best Snake Scene: Kaa takes down William Boone.
In this version of the story, Kaa is the protector of King Louie’s treasure. When a monkey steals Mowgli’s bracelet, (it was given to him by Kitty) Mowgli chases after him to Monkey City to retrieve it. There he has to fight Kaa to win his bracelet back. Later, when William Boone tries to steal all the riches for himself, he too has to fight Kaa. Finally this Will gets his just desserts.
For more on The Jungle Book, go to Redone Done Right
For more Chinese New Year Posts, go to A Horse’s Tale: Chinese New Year
To go to the previous holiday post, go to Boom Box of Love: Say Anything (1989)