I remember how thrilled we were around here at the announcement of Snakes on a Plane. Just the idea that a major studio (New Line, who rescued it from turnaround at remake king Paramount) would have the rocks to release a major movie with such a flagrantly cheesy title demanded respect. And even though they threatened to change the title to something substantially less serpentine like Flight 121, the movie would always be called Snakes on a Plane as far as we were concerned.

It turns out they’re better off with the original title, which as today’s Variety observes has become a phenomenon in and of itself thanks to proliferation among savvy online readers and writers.  Despite the fact that the film won’t be released until late summer 2006 and we’ve yet to even see a teaser trailer, awareness is at an all-time high as Variety stresses “the title alone has already inspired songs, merchandise and growing use of the phrase to signify something on the order of ‘It could always be worse’.” Add another entry in the pop-culture lexicon…

Sure, Sam Jackson uses the same quality control standards as Christopher Walken when selecting projects, but he may have been partly responsible for getting the title shifted back from its vanilla alternative – during interviews this past summer he insisted that the name would damn well be Snakes on a Plane, because that honesty is what initially lured him to the movie. That and the paycheck.

The movie comes from director David Ellis, who provided similar superficial thrills with Final Destination 2 and Cellular. The story (the complexities of which required a minimum of four writers) involves a commercial jet that also happens to be transporting FBI agent Sam Jackson, a star witness in a major federal case… and a cargo hold full of deadly mafia snakes.

You can keep Halo and Spider-Man 3 and Watchmen and all those other “big” movies. Only Snakes on a Plane truly matters. Accept it.