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Friday, August 20, 2010

There’s Nothing Fishy about the Joy of Watching Piranha 3D


Piranha 3D: 4 out of 5 Stars
Mr. Goodman: The piranha hunt in packs. The first bite draws blood, blood draws the pack.
There was a time when this film was threatened with the possibility of not being released, only to later be threatened with having a release, but not a 3D release. Fortunately enough, the powers at be made it possible for this film to be release as intended, thus preserving its artistic integrity. Anyway, there is a prolonged sequence featuring a very naked Kelly Brook swimming underwater with her very naked companion, accompanied by the orchestral theme, “Flower Duet from Lakme.” This sequence earns the film its first star. The second star comes from watching Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss, reprising his role as Matt Hooper from Jaws, be sucked into a whirlpool and devoured by prehistoric, flesh eating piranhas. The third star comes from watching Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue fend off these deadly piranhas by use of a stun gun. The fourth star comes from watching Golden Globe winner Ving Rhames use a motorboat propeller to slaughter a ton of piranhas. And the fifth star comes from watching Young Artists Award nominee Jerry O’Connell’s magnificent portrayal of a soft-core porn businessman pushed to his limits. That’s five stars, but the film loses one for not being shot in real 3D and because I’m not crazy. Here is a film that knows exactly what it is and delivers.

Taking place at Lake Victoria (or as I’m calling it, “Horny Boob Town, USA”), where the population grows from 5,000 to 50,000 for Spring Break, there's something more to worry about other than hangovers and complaints from local old timers this time around.  A new type of terror is about to be cut loose.  After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, it becomes clear that our heroes must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area’s new razor-toothed residents.


A week prior to seeing this, I was upset that the film, The Expendables, didn’t take its premise far enough over-the-top as it could have and was less fun because of it. This film is the answer to that. Piranha 3D is a blast to watch. This film is absolutely ridiculous and ludicrous (yes, both) in every sense. Everything about it goes so far over-the-top, pushing the realms of schlocky, B-horror films to its limits. The film is rated R for, “for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use,” and that should be everything you need to know about the kind of content involved. I’ve heard things such as, “most fake blood ever used,” and I would be hard pressed to disagree here.


Director Alexandre Aja, who previously helmed High Tension, which I hated, and the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, which I found to be too nihilistic to enjoy, has managed to find a film that can perfectly embrace his very violent filmmaking sensibilities, while still managing to be very enjoyable. This is a film that is so incredibly violent and gory; it would make Saving Private Ryan blush with its sequence involving masses of wounded party-goers fleeing piranha infested waters. The ways these terror sequences are constructed are fantastically tongue-in-cheek, rising close to the ranks of other classic splatter fests such as Dead Alive and Evil Dead II.
Noak:  There are thousands of them, and they are pissed!
The best part is how perfect the tone of this film is. Having, for the most part, a talented cast, this film benefits from everyone both realizing the joke of this film, but never attempting to wink at the camera. Sure the acting is over-the-top at times, but it never betrays the film by going overboard with how un-serious things are (the effects and specific gore shots are another matter). Having people like Elisabeth Shue and Ving Rhames, along with my boy Adam Scott, help lend credence to this feature that is nowhere near grounded in reality, but still manage to create stakes for the film. Then you have Christopher Lloyd enter a scene, playing it way over-the-top, making for one hilarious sequence of exposition. But my favorite was still Jerry O’Connell, as a parody of the mastermind behind Girls Gone Wild, whose antics of being a dick and being ridiculous go so well together at keeping me entertained, that I am glad he was a large part of this film’s viral advertising.


Then you add the 3D factor. While only converted into the format, the film certainly looks good as the big effects sequences start to take hold. The murky underwater scenes don’t do the film any favor when looking through these lenses, but the gimmick certainly functions well as the film progresses, when you have stuff like a piranha busting through the face of a girl being eaten alive. Have I mentioned how over-the-top everything is?

I’m not sure how to recommend this film if you are actually concerned with how good it is. I am, however, confident in recommending this film if you are concerned with how “goood” it is. It’s wonderfully ridiculous and as the rating described, full of crazy gore and nudity. The audience that would be interested in this sort of flick should certainly be satisfied by what it accomplishes. It may not be a great film, but it’s a fun movie; and some of the most fun I’ve had this summer.  
Guy outside the Theater Describing the Movie: There were tits, piranhas, more tits, and a dick!

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