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I thought this movie was going to be just AWFUL. However I was
mistaken, it was actually pretty good. The acting, as I would've
expected was mediocre, but no one in the cast was destined to shine in
this film. I also had a good time watching the film, I was really happy
how the Piranhas looked. Don't go in expecting a masterpiece like
Citizen Kane or Schindler's List, cause you'll definitely be
disappointed, but with a movie title like this, who would? Just go in
expecting some laughter and have some fun with it. Also there's a lot
of nudity and gore, so I don't advice parents to take your kids in
theater to watch this film. Piranha 3-D lived up to its title,
featuring Killer Piranhas with 3-D. It isn't in any way perfect, but
then again, it doesn't need to be.
Splatter flicks of the 1970s and 80s tend to have a real fun factor to
them, as opposed to darker gore films like the 'Saw' franchise. Once in
a while a group of filmmakers will attempt to homage those films, some
succeeding and others not. Peter Jackson blew us away with his 'Dead
Alive,' which piles on the blood, guts, and goo to the point of being
hysterical. There have been some pretty graphic Horror films since, but
who knew that the remake of the 1978 Joe Dante cult classic would rival
Jackson's over-the-top gorefest? We're not talking about great art here
people, but pure and simple trashy Horror fun like we haven't seen on
the big screen in some time.
Pros: The cast does it's best with the minimal material they have. Lots of gorgeous underwater and above water photography. Apart from one section of the film, the pace just zips along. Fantastic special and visual effects. Ample amounts of blood and gore. Also some great gore gags. Made with a real sense of fun. Occasionally pretty funny. The massacre sequence is actually pretty terrifying and stomach churning.
Cons: With a movie like this you don't expect brilliant writing, but it still could have been better. Plot is almost non-existent. There's a section of the film which includes divers going into an underwater cavern and the filming of a "Girls Gone Wild" style video above that really drags. Goes by so fast and is so short that there's no room for any real tension, which would have given the film some extra oomph.
Final thoughts: This film seems to have come at the right time. Not a bad way to end the summer. Sure it's all pretty mindless, maybe too much so, but who doesn't enjoy a good 90 minutes of pure bloody goofy fun now and again?
My rating: 3.5/5
Films rarely deliver on the promises of their trailers. Even their
synopses can indicate a promise of something the final film has a
problem making truly happen. Some movies come close, others fail
miserably, and others deliver a different experience entirely. Piranha
3D is the rare film the delivers exactly what the trailers, synopses
and every ounce of marketing promises buckets of blood, campy humour
and boobs lots and lots of boobs.
The plot, or what little semblance there is, revolves around the small town of Lake Victoria, which explodes with activity every Spring Break. An earthquake tremor shatters the lake's floor, and lets loose hundreds of prehistoric piranha. And as the trailer suggests, not even local Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) can stop the mayhem in store for the unlucky college students and residents who venture into the water.
Despite a rather threadbare plot, Piranha 3D survives on an alternating scale of maniacal destruction and sheer glee. It is clear from the opening moments of the film that Alexandre Aja is having loads of fun creating this throwback monster movie. And in a year where just about everything seems like a nostalgic reference to films from other decades (specifically the 1980s), Piranha 3D fits right in. It makes no argument about the type of film it is at any point. It knows it is not going to be the next Schindler's List, and it knows it has no chance of even remotely being a "good movie". What it strives for, especially if you are the right audience for it, is to be the funnest film of the summer. After all, this is a movie that makes a joke about a severed CGI penis.
The film is fun for the sheer fact that Aja does not seem to care about the line between good and bad taste. The aforementioned severed penis aside, there are quite literally hundreds of people who are murdered by these prehistoric killers by the time the film reaches its credits. And Aja just seems to revel in the destruction he creates at every turn. I lost count of how many people perished in one grisly attack near the beach that makes Jaws look about as menacing as Bambi. And somehow, the attacks even vary at how successful they are, and just what gets attacked. Various body parts are ripped out and eaten in detail, and many people end up more mangled than the trailers suggest. Aja has a go-for-broke style that we rarely get a chance to see in modern horror, and pushes the limits of what he can show at any given moment. I have heard there were cuts made to the film, but as it is, I cannot even fathom what could have possibly been chopped out in comparison to what they left in.
But the buckets of blood are only the beginning. This is also a film that revels in having bare breasts appear almost every five minutes. Hell, there is an entire five minute underwater ballet-like scene that borders on soft porn. But again, it does not seem like Aja cares. He just wants to revel in how much he can possibly get away with, full frontal nudity and all. It almost feels exploitative at times with just how much these female actresses show off, specifically Kelly Brook and Riley Steele (who is just one of a handful of porn stars who appear in the film). Aja knows his audience, knows his genre, and knows the films that inspired it. It almost comes off like he wanted to ensure he had enough bare breasts so he knew he did not do a disservice to all of those expecting gratuitous amounts of nudity.
The film's ultimate success comes from its humour though. With just how ridiculous the film quickly becomes, it never loses sight of its tone and lack of seriousness. It may get extraordinarily gruesome, but it is never serious or horrific enough that you will have trouble laughing at what is going on. The campy one-liners are all very effective, as is the film's nostalgic sensibilities. Even better are the cast members who provide them: Christopher Lloyd as an aquarium owner two steps short of Doc Brown; Jerry O'Connell as a coked out porn producer; Ving Rhames as a bad ass deputy; Eli Roth as the host of a wet t-shirt contest. Everyone brings their A-game, and maintain their deadpan humour throughout. They all look to be having just as much of a blast as Aja is.
But there are issues with the film. For one, some of the special effects are lacking. The explicit shots showing the piranha destroying their victims all seem to look awful, as do the piranhas themselves (3D effects do nothing but make them look even worse). The makeup effects are working at full throttle in every single case, but the effects of how these people are being ripped limb from limb seems to have not been too much of a concern for anyone. I realize the campy style of the film, but its style does not excuse its shoddy special effects. The character development is also a little stilted, much like the performance of main star Steven R. McQueen. Had Aja sacrificed the thirty to forty minutes of "development" and just added more mayhem, this would not be nearly as much of an issue. But looking at the movie and its style, I doubt Aja was going for perfection here.
Granted you are the audience for buckets of blood and gratuitous amounts of nudity, Piranha 3D delivers on all counts. It has some problems and is far from a great movie, but its campy and nostalgic style more than forgives any issue. The film exists solely to be gleefully destructive. And as long as you realize that going in, you will not be disappointed.
(This review also appeared on http://www.geekspeakmagazine.com).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have seen some bad "horror" movies recently. This is #1 on that list! Whoever thought of this idea really is a genius - Girls gone wild with a few CGI fish thrown in. A majority of guys going for this movie will recommend it to other guys for that one reason...oh and Kelly Brooke! But that is not even a consolation prize. The fish were added as an after thought. The main emphasis of the movie was spring break and the underwater scene of Kelly B and that other woman. I can't believe I got sucked in by the trailer and the title!!!!! I went and saw this movie in the hall, to my eternal regret. I hope anyone who hasn't seen it yet and reads my words will heed them. Don't waste your money on this "movie"!!
An underwater tremor unleashes thousands of hungry Piranha that have
thought to have been extinct for millions of years. Bad timing, because
it's Spring Break.
Piranha was, what some people called, a rip off of Jaws. Another person wanting a piece of the pie. It went on to have a sequel, to be directed by the now famous James Cameron and it seems that it is time for a remake, in 3D no less. Do we need a remake? Probably not, but the film is fun and excessively violent, which makes for a good time for those looking for b- movie horror goodness. Piranha delivers on the levels it aims for, take that as you want to.
Alexandre Aja directs this film, let's just forget he did Mirrors okay? He gets the bloody mess off to an interesting start by having Richard Dreyfuss in the film. A nod to Jaws no doubt, but one can only assume that he had him in here to say that this film is either a: More scarier or B: More dangerous. I'd go with the latter because the film isn't scary. What's more dangerous though? One shark, or thousands of Piranhas? You pick.
So it's Spring Break, so the fish have hundreds of young drunk teenagers to eat, and boy do they eat. The film doesn't shy away from the bloody truth. Piranha's can strip a cow to it's bones in minutes, these guys are more aggressive. They've been feeding off each other for millions of years and now they have a variety of meat to pick from. Yummy. So people die in bloody, over the top, funny ways. The film is one for the people who cheer when someone has their legs torn off. If that's not you, you might want to stay away from this one.
Also, if you're not a fan of naked women, you might want to stay away from this one. This film is full of naked women, left right and centre. There is even an underwater naked swimming dance sequence set to opera music. It's weird and funny at the same time because it comes out of nowhere.
The film could have used more of it's cast. We have Richard Dreyfuss, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd and Eli Roth. All of them are underused. Rhames, I thought was going to have a more hero type role, he doesn't. Roth has a total of maybe two scenes as does Lloyd. Dreyfuss only shows up at the beginning of the film. Once again, an interesting cast that is not put to good use. The film decides to stick with the blood and boobs.
The film is in 3D. I expected to have more fun with it than I did. Although I did enjoy it more than other 3D films I've seen. It has a more gimmicky feel to it and it actually fits with the film. Seeing bits of Piranha fly up at you is fun. Boobs in 3D, fish in 3D but the things that were used the most were the underwater coral reefs.
The theatre lost power near the end, so the last 3 or so minutes of the film we saw with no sound, but I could tell what was going to happen, even with the lack of audio. I'm not letting that affect my review for the film, but I can sense that the film was going to go for one of those jump-scare-abrupt endings.
Piranha 3D is a hoot, for those who know what they are getting into. In my theatre there were children, this is NOT A KIDS MOVIE!!!! This is more bloody and violent than any SAW film. Piranha is full of cheesy moments, and it works.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was expecting 3D babes and dumb "Jaws" type action but what they delivered was repulsive crap of the lowest order. How on earth did they get that cast to go anywhere near this disgusting and dumb mess??? Did Elizabeth Shue need money that badly? I've rarely seen bigger names involved with something this awful. Who the hell enjoys seeing woman getting graphically butchered in every way possible??? They graphically present everything ranging from flesh being peeled to the bone to women getting cut in half to a face literally being pulled off by yanking on a ponytail and all in bad 3D. Although, the ultra low point may have been showing a fish feeding on a severed penis and then spitting it out all chewed up at the screen. Come to think of it, that very well may be the low point in all of cinematic history.
For those of you who saw the trailer, you can already expect loads of
nudity and gore. And if you walk in Piranha 3D (do yourself a favour
and watch it in 3D, it's definitely worth it) expecting these things,
then you'll have a good time. Maybe it will go down in history as being
a cult favourite within 10 or 15 years from now, but it probably won't
be nominated at the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards, and that's
fine because the crew know that and only want to offer a really great
time. Piranha is a film that won't please to everyone: After all, it's
sort of meant to laugh of other horror movies that use huge chunks of
blood and gore to ''scare'' you, without exactly being a parody.
All in all, I was pleased with what I got. Some scenes had me laughing quite hard while in others, I literally jumped out of my seat. The acting was good, with no one really acting great, but everybody, from Elisabeth Shue to Jerry O'Connell, while going through Kelly Brook, Porn Star Riley Steele, Ving Rhames and small-time actors Jessica Szohr and Steven R. McQueen, everybody seemed to be having fun while shooting this movie. The CGI effects weren't as bas as expected and frankly, I didn't notice one scene featuring some cheesy dialogue. Blood and Gore is served in buckets and litres, so you might want to be prepared for that, and there's a lot of nudity as well. Maybe not a safe bet for young children but teens will have probably seen worse movies.
Story: An earthquake liberates thousands of bloodthirsty, prehistoric piranhas during the same week Lake Victoria is celebrating the annual spring break, where hundreds of teens come to party every year. Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) tries to keep some order until she discovers about the piranhas and tries her best to close the lake with her deputies. Meanwhile, her son Jake (Steven R. McQueen) is asked by the Derrick (Jerry O'Connell) and his Girls Gone Wild stars Danni and Crystal (Kelly Brook and Riley Steele) to show them the nicest places in town to start filming their next porno film, even though his mother had clearly told him to stay home to babysit his younger brother and sister.
Of course there's much more to it than that but if I were to write too much about the plot I would probably write a full-length spoiler. All in all, expect what you expect from the trailers and definitely sit back with your popcorn and drink and get ready for a hell of a ride. Definitely one of my top 10 films of the year so far.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yes There is loads of Gore yes there is loads of nudity...however thats about all there is to this steaming pile of crap.. No Story no good script no Character Development whatsoever also has one of the lame-est ending i have ever seen...This movie plays off as a big budget girls gone wild episode with some killer pirhanas thrown in almost as an afterthought...while some of the gore affects were nice and nasty looking..a lot of the Cgi stuff was utter crap..Even the so called 3d wasn't in 3d and it shows just like Clash of the Titans..There is a few good points to the film Elizabeth Shue who did a good job and the Richard Dryfuss Cameo was Clever..however other then that this movie sucks..If they had spent more time working on a good script and giving us Characters that were worth a damn and less time or even no time on nudity and gore the movie would have probably been better...Thank god for the Original being on DVD because i can go and watch that and see what a good film is all about...Again Gore and nudity do not make a movie
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An earthquake unleashes a bunch of prehistoric piranha fish into a
lake. This happens just as spring break is happening and tons of
brainless kids are partying in that lake! Sheriff Julie Forester
(Elisabeth Shue), deputy Fell (Ving Rhames) and others try to stop them
before they kill all the kids (who you seriously want dead). Also
Julie's son Jake (Steven R McQueen) is in a sinking boat in the very
same lake WITH his younger brother and sister.
PLENTY OF SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! OK--the original "Piranha" wasn't that good but THIS is even worse!!! For starters there's WAY too much female nudity. Yes--female nudity is expected in all horror films now and I can accept it...but this goes overboard! There's a wet T-shirt contest which offers no other point than to see women's breasts in 3-D. And there's a LLLLOOOOONNNNNGGGG skinny dipping session between two women (set to classical music no less!) which has them kissing and making out. And women's breasts and butts are constantly being shown on screen. Ummmmmmmm--this is a HORROR film right? If I want to see lesbian sex scenes I'll order it online! To make it worse Eli Roth (a lousy director and a sexist jerk) is shown in the wet T-shirt contest spraying down the women! He is killed in a very gory way but that didn't satisfy me.
Acting is all over the place. Shue is great despite having nothing to work with. Rhames appears drugged (no surprise there). McQueen is no more than OK. Adam Scott is very good in his small role as Novak. And Richard Dreyfuss does an amusing bit at the beginning (Remember "Jaws"?) But then we get Jerry O'Connell as a sleazy porno director and Christopher Lloyd as a scientist. They both seem to be trying to show who can overact the most! O'Connell is VERY annoying in his role--you want him dead FAST! Lloyd was SO over the top that my audience was laughing out loud at his performance! Really--just beyond belief.
On the up side--Shue was great (as I said before); there was a cute reference to the John Sayles scripted film "Alligator" (he also wrote the script for the original "Pianha"); the special effects were excellent; the underwater scenes were beautiful and the big attack sequence was brutal, bloody and long (LOTS of blood, gore and dead bodies). Then they gotta ruin it with a stupid "it's not over" ending.
I HATED this. I also find it disturbing that there's an audience out there for films that mix graphic violence and explicit female nudity. Really--mixing those is ENTERTAINING???? A 1.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To paraphrase Freud, "there are times when a piece of detritus is just
a piece of detritus." Similarly, there are times when a CGI weiner is
just a CGI weiner. And on that same note, there are times when a
heavily hyped 3D horror film manages to be so much less than the low
standard it sets for itself. By the end of its 88 (mercifully fleeting)
minutes, "Piranha 3D" had me wondering if a camera crew was going to
enter the theater, revealing that what I had just watched was a
practical joke before running the ACTUAL film.
Needless to say, that didn't happen.
Which means that yes, "Piranha 3D" really IS that bad.
Alexandre Aja, the French wunderkind behind the bloody psychothriller "High Tension," the mercilessly brutal remake of "The Hills Have Eyes," and that iffy movie about killer mirrors, has spent the better part of a year heralding his latest venture, an update of the Roger Corman-produced, Joe Dante-directed "Piranha" (itself a rip-off of "Jaws"). The concept seemed like a lock: the titular creatures with the razor-sharp teeth and unquenchable thirst for blood go ballistic on a couple dozen hardbodies during spring break; and to sweeten the deal (for those who prefer gore and boobies in their lap), the project would utilize 3D, the current industry standard for inflated ticket prices and deflated expectations.
How could this possibly fail? The problems with "Piranha 3D" (subsequently making it an even more frustrating picture) are so numerous that a college film course could be devoted solely to picking apart its flaws. The most glaring is the general lack of development all around: not just the characterizations (which are almost appallingly non-existent), but the plot (Christopher Lloyd is trotted out for a few lines of unconvincing exposition), the effects (the piranha exist in two forms: obvious CG close-up and murky, dark mass), the editing (the spring-break bloodbath is an incoherent mess of torn flesh shot largely in close-up), and the 3D itself (for a film that began with the notion of being an immersive experience, its use of the medium is actually less impressive than it was in "Friday the 13th Part 3," a film that's nearly 30 years old). In Henry Selick's "Coraline," the 3D effect was used to enhance elements of character and story that ultimately made the film an engaging trip into another world. In "Piranha," the effect (when it makes a rare, underwhelming appearance) is an obvious cash grab that feels like outright thievery.
In 2010, I thought the horror genre could see no greater low than the misbegotten remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street." How wrong I was.
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