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PIRANHA 3D (2010)

>> Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Piranha bites – in a good way.

Elisabeth Shu stars as Julie Forester, a small town sheriff who’s busiest time of year is spring break - when all the youngins come to town to drink, skinny dip and give the middle finger to the Man. Her son, Jake (Steven R. Mcqueen) gets stuck in his usual good son role of babysitting his younger sister and brother, rather than going out and doing what kids his age should be doing. That is until Jake gets offered a job by the eccentirc producer of WildWildGirls.com, Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell). You see, Derrick needs a local to show him the hot spots in order to shoot his new spring break vid, and before Jake can even accept the job, he is on Derrick’s party yacht and they’re heading out to their first location. What they don’t know is something lurks below and around the town, unearthed by tremors that until now, have kept an underwater, prehistoric lake out of reach of the hands of time.

So what is it that lurks? Well, it’s not the tranny from Sleepaway Camp (1983) – although how fun would that be?! No, it’s the vicious, cannibalistic, 2 million year old ‘thought to be extinct’ original boss of the water – the piranha! And boy, do they know how to throw an ass-munching party. With all the naked and scantilly clad partiers in the water due to spring break, this is nothing short of an all you can eat for them – and the piranha are hungry!

Now, I liked this movie. I actually really enjoyed it. I compare it to Snakes on a Plane (2006) in the sense that Snakes on a Plane knew it was a bad movie, and it did it right. That’s what you get with Piranha, a really well done B movie that takes a note from the original – which is even represented in it’s posters. We even get a cameo from Richard Dreyfus who isn’t in it long, but (according to IMDB) is playing the same character he played in the basis for this and all ‘don’t go into the water’ movies – Jaws (1975). But he doesn’t steal the thunder here. By far the highlight of the movie is seeing ol’ Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, as the movie’s fish expert, Mr. Goodman. It took me straight back to the Back to the Future trilogy (which conincidentally also stars Elisabeth Shu). I would like to see this guy in movies more. It’s like seeing a favorite uncle you haven’t seen forever. Nothing but fond memories and grinning. I should mention Jerry O’Connell also takes over every scene he’s in. He knows the ridiculousness of this film, and O’Connell plays it to a tee. The rest of characters seem to fall into the shadows and when something does happen to them eventually, you just don’t care.

The only real problem I had with Piranha was its ending. Now, the ending itself isn’t the worst finish in the history of cinema, it just feels...unsatisfying. Throughout the movie you are building up to the climax where the piranha attack the folks visiting on spring break. Once you get to that scene (where the majority of budget was certainly spent), you unsurprisgingly have a huge smile on your face for the whole time its on screen (roughly 5-10 minutes). After that, it cuts to the end scene (which I won’t mention here), for a good 15-20 minutes. In the end, you have this huge buildup over the first hour and some and then it’s sorta like...nothing happens (or nothing you really care about anyways). So boourns to that.

Now, in the theatre I went too I was shocked and entertained when a set of parents walked in with their son and daughter who couldn’t have been more than ten. I assume they didn’t know what Piranha was exactly, but wanted to treat their kids to a 3-D movie. Which is cool, and I don’t blame them - Step Up 3D was the only other 3-D movie playing, and no matter what Piranha wasn’t going to be as damaging as that. However, this movie is still not for kids – at all. Not only is there your usual course language, but there’s also extreme gratuitous nudity and (because this film is produced by Hostel (2005) director Eli Roth) extremely shocking (and awesome) violence. Needless to say, I wasn’t shocked to see those same kids were missing from their seats immediately after the nude underwater ballet scene (which I’ll admit - as pointless as it is, is actually kinda pretty). So note to parents, go see something a little less damaging to your kids that they’ll like more – like Scott Pilgrim.

What I also want to share with all ye who look upon this review is that I too have experienced the wrath of the vicious, terrifying piranha. That is, I have three of my own red-bellied piranhas and although they have never attacked me personally, the feeder golddish I put into their tank every day or so certainly know how truly frightening these creatures can be. This may have been the initial thing that perked my interest in this film the first time I saw the trailer. At the time I thought nothing more of it than another peice of trash heading our way, courtesy of the Hollywood fat cats in order to capitalize on the popularity of 3-D.

Then I started to hear things. Be it in person or on the interweb, this film picked up some speed and it seemed more likeley we’d see another Snakes on a Plane rather than another bad Jaws ripoff. That’s when I knew I’d be seeing this movie before the drone of Oscar-driven movies werre released and pushed this thing into the cheap theatres, never to be seen again in 3-D or on the big screen.

I give Piranha 3D an open door, because it’s rare that you go see a bad movie that was supposed to be awful on purpose. It’s fun, and the actors have fun, and the violence is epic. The nudity is whatever, but exxxpected. This movie is a direct and accurate shoutback to the 70’s and 80’s cheesy horror movies that made me love the genre in the first place. I recomend you go see this before it leaves theatres, because it definitely won’t be as good at home.

*Stills courtesy of Atmosphere Entertainment MM

1 comments:

Editing Luke September 2, 2010 at 7:12 AM  

haha, sometimes I just read a title and I think this is a Tyler movie and you've proven my point here. I agree that campy is a lot of fun, but I half expect to click over and find THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR! I want to see your review justifying the recommendation of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, haha.

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