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Snakes in Movies
 
The Scorpion King (2002)
 
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
 
This stars The Rock, with his trademark eyebrow lift, back when he had hair and before he called himself Dwayne Johnson. It's a follow-up to The Mummy Returns (2001) his first movie. It's a dumb fun exotic action-adventure movie with lots of fighting, a little romance, and a bit of comic relief, and best of all, there's an extended scene with some big dangerous snakes.

The Rock is Mathayus who later becomes the Scorpion King, Steven Brand is the evil villain Memnon, a master swordfighter who forces a beautiful Sorceress with no name (Kelly Hu) to use her magic and her visions of the future to help his army conquer the local peoples. She has been his captive since she was a girl. The snake scene starts after Mathayus kidnapped the Sorceress for a few days then sent her back to Memnon's palace to distract him so that Mathayus and his allies can sneak into the palace and kill Memnon.

The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King
The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King
The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King

Because she was away from him for a few days, Memnon doesn't trust the Sorceress' prophecies of his upcoming battle. He's jealous, thinking that she's been unfaithful to him, which she has told him will take away her magic. He asks her to give him a "simple test" of her psychic powers. At this point we think that maybe he's right since we saw her sleep with Mathayus.

Memnon claps his hands and two snake handlers enter the room. They use snake hooks to pull four large cobras out of a big pot and put them into four separate urns that are standing on a rotating tray holding six urns. (Obviously Memnon has played this game before.) Once the snakes are inside, he covers the urns then spins the rotating tray to mix them up. He explains to her that there are six urns and four cobras. Her test is to use her magic to know which urns are empty. The audience is supposed to doubt her powers and worry that a cobra will bit her. Her nervous behavior adds to the tension. The Sorceress walks around putting her hands over the urns then uncovers one and puts her arm all the way down. Then she brings up her arm to show that the urn was empty. Memnon smashes the urn then tells her there is one empty pot left.

The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King
The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King

Memnon is suspicious still, and tells The Sorceress that he senses her fear because she has lost her power. She walks around the urns again then puts her arm down into another one. Her nervous face turns into a gotcha face when she pulls up a big cobra that is completely under her control. He asks what kind of magic it is and she tells him it's her magic. She calls him a hollow king and makes the snake strike at him. He offers to test her magic with his steel and cuts the head off the snake, but before he can do anything more to her, Mathayus jumps down from the ceiling and fights Memnon.

The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King
The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King The Scorpion King

Memnon kicks over all the urns leaving the cobras to crawl on the floor. Mathayus is startled when he sees the snakes, but quickly cuts the head off one cobra then continues sword fighting. Then he cuts the head off another cobra and there is more sword fighting. Then Memnon knocks Mathayus to the ground. Mathayus finds a cobra on top of him that he quickly grabs by the neck and throws over his shoulders. Then he gets up and, you got it, there's more sword fighting. This is the last we see of that snake so maybe it died when it was thrown. But it's not the last of the sword fighting, which seems to go on for another half hour before it becomes a flaming sword fight, then a fist fight. I think you know who wins in the end.

The snakes we see at first are real cobras. The snake handlers use hooks to manipulate at least three real snakes into the urns. But after that the snakes are all typical CGI monsters with big fangs. I'm sure that they shot the real snakes on a set with no actors, then took the snakes out of the jars and filmed the rest of the scenes with empty urns.