Sunday, September 12, 2010

Piranha 3-D (2010)

In this second remake to Joe Dante's 1978 camp classic, a breed of carnivorous killer fish are unleashed from a subterranean cave system after an earthquake creates a giant fissure in Lake Victoria. They quickly set out to ruin everyone's good time as they mow through hundreds of drunken co-eds that are out on the water for Spring break.

If one was to assess Alexandre Aja's work based solely on his latest remake, he could be expected to have a long and lucrative career filming made-for-TV garbage for years to come. PIRANHA 3-D takes the terms "gratuitous" and "excessive" to extreme new levels, putting on a spectacular display of gore and nudity unlike any other recent theatrical release without providing any substance or contextualization to back it up. Instead, audiences are subjected to mind-numbing characters and useless subplots that only serve as set-ups for additional nude scenes that are both unnecessary and unappreciated (for once). It is actually angering to have over eight-minutes worth of a costly theater ticket wasted on a softcore lesbian scene that required nearly half-an-hour of poor acting and otherwise worthless plotting to establish. It is tough to say who is responsible for the many recognizable errors, since Aja is typically a strong presence in the genre. The countless problems that riddle the entire picture just make it impossible to enjoy even as a cheesy B-movie. Unlike the impressive work done in other 3-D releases like MY BLOODY VALENTINE or AVATAR, PIRANHA 3-D makes very little use of the cutting-edge technology whatsoever, falling flat on screen when it isn't disorienting and nauseating audiences. Its editing is atrocious, many times setting up a gory gag without following through with any generated effects from the partygoers. This is most noticeable when a nude para-glider is dunked in the water, only to have her lower extremities devoured by the fish. When she is raised back up, all that remains is her bloodied torso, but not a single person comments or shows even the faintest reaction. Jerry O'Connell plays into his drug- and sex-crazed character far too convincingly, taking what could have been a fun and silly performance and turning himself in to an annoying and hated stereotype. PIRANHA also sells itself as a Horror Comedy, but most of the trashy humor and attempted gross-outs are unable to earn a laugh. Obviously, in an intentionally over-the-top picture such as this, nitpicking minor failures in the logic, plot, or acting seems futile, but this kind of sloppy filmmaking and juvenile scripting is representative of the product as a whole. What does come as a surprise is that the computerization of the fish, which most people feared would be the film's greatest disappointment, actually gives them the character and ferocity that had been missing in the earlier entries.

There is only one area of the film that truly succeeds at all, and that is in the incredible amount of gore that it brings to the table. With the award-winning special effects team of Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero creating each of the bloody deaths, gore fans will not be disappointed in the least. For all of the painful dialog and meaningless storytelling leading up to it, the final meltdown where several hundred feet of lake water turns red with screaming college students is worth the price of admission alone. Missing limbs, chewed-off faces, decapitations; PIRANHA pulls no punches in splattering the screen with gallon upon gallon of blood. With a body count that easily stretches in to the hundreds, PIRANHA can certainly claim to be one of the most gruesome Horror films to reach theaters in years.

Despite an overwhelming response from many genre fans during its theatrical release, PIRANHA 3-D is nothing more than the poorly made shocker that the trailer made it out to be. Rushing out to theaters in order to experience the film in 3-D will only disappoint movie-goers, and this one is better left to DVD.

Rating: 5/10.
Gore: 9/10.

If you liked PIRANHA 3-D, check out:
MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D, JAWS 3, MEGA PIRANHA.

10 comments:

  1. Wow. harsh! ... sounds like you felt about this one the same way i felt about MACHETE. But as much as I can't exactly dispute what you've said about the movie in theory, I (and lots of other movie-goers) liked PIRANHA 3D for what it was, so I can't really agree with your last line there, either. Oh well, that's just another DVD you won't have to buy when it comes out. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten to see this yet. After seeing the various trailers for it over time I always assumed this was to be 'the little Syfy Channel Movie that could'; totally bypassing a cable premier and going straight to theaters.

    I'm gonna try and see it today, or one day this week....hopefully

    ReplyDelete
  3. God knows I love a good bad movie, but the direction that they took this film in was just a complete waste. I hated the entire storyline involving the kid on the Girls Gone Wild boat, that could have been removed and replaced with anything more interesting to resolve half of the issues I had with the film.

    V, I hope I'm the odd one out and that everyone else enjoyed the film, I just couldn't rightfully recommend it to anyone and be able to sleep at night.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I managed to see this at a 5:35 showing with the gf in 3D and I thought it was great, Carl; occasionally dumb, but I believe that's what they were going for with this one.

    The underwater ballet of the pseudo lesbo's backed by a classical tune is proof enough of that. Not to mention the 3D vomit and also the duel between two piranha pulling on a penis followed by said flesh eating fish puking up said penis.

    It was actually better than I was anticipating. I was a bit nervous, though, seeing it with her especially with the level of nubile naked female flesh on display that I was sure would lead to a torrential spiel of what my supposed TRUE intention was for seeing PIRANHA 3D. Amazingly, all that was avoided and she said she liked it which was a revelation in itself considering her hatred of the original.

    I had no problem with the 3D. I thought it looked great. Maybe it's something to do with peoples vision for those who complained about the effect?

    There was also a scene in the trailer that wasn't in the movie. Again, the 3D was great especially the underwater breast fest that were 'Comin' At Ya! Surely that's up for some kind of award if ever a category is implemented for trashy exploitation movies.

    Still, whether it was going to ultimately emulate a SyFy shitter of the week was a minor concern compared to my anticipation of carnivorous prehistoric fish chowing down on arrogant spring breakers in three dimensions.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm actually wondering if different theaters use different 3-D devices and projectors that change the effect. I believe we saw the film in Real-D at ours, and it was just horrific. At the beginning when they pan past the fence, everything on the screen was blurred in the fore- and background, and when the kids are on the island waving it was a complete blur. The vomit didn't pop at all for us, which was confusing becuase I thought they were just going for the grossout effect, I didnt even consider that it was supposed to be coming out of the screen at us. Sloppy projecting perhaps?

    I really think it is the wasted plot that aggravated me more than anything else. If Jerry O'Connell and his stupid boat to nowhere had been removed entirely, I could see enjoying it, but there was literally no point to him or anyone on that ship besides setting up Kelly Brook's nude scene.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I really liked it because it was exactly the crazy summer romp I thought it'd be. Sure it was b-level but I think that was what Aja was gearing towards. And O'Connell totally acted that way to take some shots at the dude from Girls Gone Wild. Apparently, there were legal issues with the portrayal of his character, so Jerry just went all-out zany with the role. The massacre scene was a gorehound's dream and easily my favorite part! And who cannot love Kelly Brook? I hope some of those 5 stars were for her, umm, "performance". Haha

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's part of the problem, I loove Kelly Brook, but would have preferred more story or killing over seeing her naked for 8m. There are plenty of other places to find that lol.. I'm hoping a second viewing on DVD will help reshape my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm in agreement on this one. My review of it is similar. The 10 minutes of lesbian softcore was just BEYOND annoying. And most of the movie was very "ho hum". Thankfully, I didn't pay to see this because I'd have rather wiped my rear end with the $15.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It only seemed like a couple of minutes to me. Still, if you want more Kelly Brooks you should see her in SURVIVAL ISLAND with Billy Zane. She's all kinds of sexy in that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, I'm usually the sharper and more harsh critic, Carl.

    As you may have read, I had a lot of fun with 'Piranha 3-D.' I haven't seen the original in a while and I haven't actually seen the 1995 remake, so my opinion is purely-based on the film.

    Also for the record: I have not liked an Aja film that I've seen. No, I haven't seen 'High Tension.' It's one of those films with too much hype that I intentionally wait to see with a fresh view years down the line.

    For as ridiculous as it was, the underwater ballet thing amused the hell out of me. Mind you, I wasn't with a female at the time, so maybe I would have had a different reaction. :-)

    Overall, I found 'Piranha 3-D' to be a fun, gory film that made light of 3-D in a way that amused me. Having only seen this and 'Avatar' in 3-D, I think it has some merit- when it's not just a gimmick. Here- it was part of the whole experience and that rocked. Once I got past the 10 minutes of eye-strain that comes with this form of 3-D, I had a good time.

    ReplyDelete