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Piranha 3D - Blu-ray Movie Review

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Piranha 3D - Movie Review

4 stars

When it was first announced that Piranha, the 1978 original spoof of Jaws, which was directed by Joe Dante, written by John Sayles, and produced by Roger Corman was going to be remade, an audible groan was heard from the masses.  This would never work so far removed from the era of Jaws.  Hell, the closest thing we have to that type of aquatic fear is the annual silliness of ‘Shark Week’ on The Discovery Channel.  Not even close to the impact of Spielberg’s original film, I know.  Yet, director Alexandra Aja (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes) continued to promise a film that would recapture the gratuitous glory of Roger Corman’s B-movie masterpiece, and, having just witnessed his work, I can safely say that what Aja promised, he delivered and then some.  Certainly, the manic spirit of Dante’s Gremlins is alive and well within the roped-off swimming perimeter of Aja’s film.  While it doesn’t have the rationale or the impact of the original, Piranha 3D is soft-core celluloid cynicism at an absolute apex of cheesy fun.

Beneath Arizona’s Lake Victoria, there is trouble brewing in the form of an earthquake.  Actually, it’s what that earthquake unleashes upon some unsuspecting and mostly naked Spring Breakers: some badass Mesolithic era piranhas in 3D.  Yeah, I know.  Just go with it.  The silliness is part of what makes this movie work so well.  Aja, loosening up a little behind the camera but still retaining control (especially in the underwater cave scene), sets his humorously nostalgic tone early by sending Richard Dreyfuss as a fisherman (in his Matt Hooper wardrobe ala Jaws) onto the water and into harm’s way.  Among the partiers are some curvaceous strippers including Kelly Brook, who single-handedly proves to be the reason 3D was invented.  Don’t believe me?  Go see for yourself and report your findings back to me.

It seems, some of the co-ed participants are shooting a porno for a "Girls Gone Wild"-styled feature, produced by a cocaine-fueled Jerry O’Connell, who seems to know just what type of movie he is in.  Local teens Jake (Steven R. McQueen) and Kelly (Jessica Szohr), board the filmmaker’s boat serving as tour guides for the horny crew, but acting-wise, they don’t seem to get the joke and aim for the moon with some of their posturing.  Jake's smokin’ hot mom, Julie (Elisabeth Shue), just happens to be the local sheriff, and, alongside funny man Adam Scott and tough guy Ving Rhames, works to get everyone out of the water.  Unfortunately, it is already too late…much to our delight.

With cameos from Christopher Lloyd and Eli Roth, Aja keeps his film from ever being taken seriously, which is a damn good thing.  When a "Dying To Get Wet" barge starts sinking in a brief sequence that mirrors James Cameron's Titanic, the laughter becomes audible.  Serving up a fresh batch of nubile hotties and splatterfest gore, Aja stays true to his promise throughout the picture.  SEX!  FUN!  GORE!  In fact, this might be the bloodiest film of the year, if not the funniest.  That is, if you can wrap your brain around the gooey “joke” of the movie.  It’s a complete throwback to the campy films that were hastily put together in the ‘70’s and early ‘80’s and Aja’s direction never lets you forget it.  This is not cinematic wine.  This isn’t for the elite, nor is it meant to be taken seriously.  It’s not even meant for teenagers who mistake this for something serious and not get the joke.

From start to finish, Aja’s film is some mighty fine tasting cheese.  In fact, Piranha 3D delivers nearly ninety minutes of gore and fun - including an underwater make-out scene with porn star Riley Steel – shot in 3D.  How incredibly awesome for that kind of eye-popping technology is that?  Forget Avatar, boobs in 3D is where the real money is at.

When the final twenty minutes of Piranha 3D kick in, be prepared for some gnarly on-screen gore.  Buckets of blood and flesh are thrown at the audience, and everything sticks.  Everything, including the visual jokes.  Aja’s gorrific (yes, a new word) film is a Herschell Gordon Lewis-type bloodlust on acid.  Sure, this film won’t probably make you jump in fear, but it will make you squeal and squirm with the amount of bloody carnage that splatters the lens of your 3D glasses.  It’s over-the-top almost every minute, but, man, this film hits all the right notes in order to be a massive crowd-pleaser, should they turn out for this feature.  It doesn’t re-invent the cinematic wheel, but Aja’s Piranha 3D is a welcome throwback to a forgotten era of filmmaking when pure, unadulterated stringy cheese ruled the screen.

Go see it, just remember your Kelly Brook assignment.  I’ll be waiting.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Piranha 3D - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.
Runtime:
88 mins
Director
: Alexandre Aja
Writer
: Pete Goldfinger & Josh Stolberg
Cast:
Richard Dreyfuss; Ving Rhames; Elisabeth Shue
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Don't Scream...Just Swim!
Memorable Movie Quote: "The piranha hunt in packs. The first bite draws blood, blood draws the pack."
Distributor:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date:
August 20, 2010
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 11, 2011

Synopsis: After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the areas new razor-toothed residents.

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Piranha 3D - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie
 
Blu-ray Disc
4 stars
 
5 Stars
     
Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 11, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live; Blu-ray 3D

This is a very bright transfer. It’s almost sports car red with intensity.  The colors are pretty flashy with high orange operating at all levels throughout the film.  I’m sure the difficulty in shooting underwater has its limitations. While this is a pretty strong 1080p transfer, those limitations make themselves known in the underwater scenes. There is banding throughout giving this transfer a “vintage” sort of flavor. Unintended, I’m sure but it does add to the overall flavor of this retro horror schlock. The female skin tones are perfectly tan and supple, so that’s a plus. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack bares its teeth as well as the monsters of this film and will severely tear into your stereo speakers with fierce chomping.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • The studs responsible for this flesh-fest provide a pretty thorough commentary about the film. Director Alexandre Aja, Producer Grégory Levasseur, and Producer Alix Taylor provide the light-hearted analysis, knowing exactly what they are participating in: Spring Break fun.

Special Features:

For a release of this nature, it’s surprising that the supplementals are so thick and informative. Obviously, everyone is proud of this film and its success. The actors gush over their director and the director gushes over the babes of this picture and its writers. The film actually has a pretty interesting history that is explained by the documentary – which comes highly recommended.

The Special Features are entertaining, light-hearted and simply fun. They are as follows:

  • Six Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary):
  • Pet Emporium
  • Cheerleaders
  • Sand Island Ghost Train
  • The Kiss
  • Cliff Diver
  • Andrew's Death
  • Don't Scream, Just Swim: Behind-the-Scenes of Piranha 3D (in 10 Parts) (130 min)
  • Welcome to Piranha
  • Aja
  • Cast & Story
  • Lake Victoria
  • Spring Break
  • Blood & Gore
  • Special Effects & Stunts
  • The Music
  • Piranha & Visual FX
  • Why 3D?
  • Last Bites
  • Deleted Storyboard Sequences (11 min)
  • Billy Burger Shack
  • Mini-Van
  • Piranha Trailer & TV Spots (4 min)

Previews:

  • Resident Evil: Afterlife
  • Game of Death
  • Sniper Reloaded
  • Ticking Clock
  • The Virginity Hit

 

BD-Live Functionality

{2jtab: Trailer}

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