(2010/Weinstein Company/Sony Blu-ray 3D Edition)
Picture: B 2-D Picture: B Sound: B Extras: C+ Feature: C+
fair to say that the Piranha films
have been the most successful series of films that came out of imitating Jaws.
The first film by Joe Dante in 1978 was a hit and is considered one of
the best imitators of all, in part because it tried to do something
different. You can read more about it at
infamous sequel Piranha II – The
Spawning is forever miscredited as being directed by James Cameron when he
was barely behind the camera and has explicitly disowned the film since. This 1981 release did have flying killer fish
with vampire teeth in their mouths.
Guess they must have had a sale at the 5 and 10 that day. Since then, the original film has been a fan
favorite and even the hilarious sequel has its fans, so a remake or
continuation was discussed for decades.
after missing the last 3D revival, a third film was made and what would have
been a #3 anyhow became Piranha 3D,
a worthy sequel to the original film with some effects as silly as either of
them. The capable director Alexandre Aja
(High Tension, Mirrors and especially the Hills
Have Eyes remake) and with The Weinstein Company, the film was made. It did not initially do well, but fan
reaction was still strong enough that people are still talking about it and
except for some silliness that goes with it being over the top more often than
it need be, it is a fun film.
of a lab error, an earthquake causes the killer fish to return and just in time
for spring break! The film begins with a
great gag appearance by Richard Dreyfuss, sending up his Jaws character. Aja shot
footage for trailers and the like that does not appear in this film, so if you
think you know what it will be like, you really do not. Then people start turning up dead at Lake Victoria and the terror is just beginning.
screenplay by Peter Goldfinger and Joss Stolberg has a great sense of humor and
love for the horror genre, especially this cycle of films. You get what you would expect from such a
film, then there are some nice new touches like Jerry O’Connell as a rotten TV
programmer who exploits everyone for money and whatever he wants with his
softcore vacationing gals videos, Christopher Lloyd sends up his genre persona
as a scientist gathering information as quickly as possible to stop absolute
disaster and Eli Roth makes a surprising amusing turn as a wet T-shirt contest
Shue, Ving Rhames and Dina Meyer head the main cast of known actors and the
rest of the newcomers fit in just fine.
What is most compelling (outside of the solid look of the film and the
3D working more often than not) is the moment the summer break visitors
encounter the killer fish. There is a
new kind of dread I have not seen before in a genre picture of this kind. Intended or not, it is a sad statement about
the times we live in and is a horror most viewers missed.
there are more put-ons, silliness and conventions (the makers had to follow
them, restricting them to some extent) than I would have liked, holding the
film back, but some other great in-jokes pay off and that is why Piranha 3D is better than you might
think and worth a look, especially as one of the few 3D Horror films that
really works. It is worth catching. (Yes, I know, but a pun that was
2.35 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition image
outdoes the 2D 1080p HD image also on this Blu-ray by a narrow margin, but both
look pretty good. The problem is that
the 3D is not always accurate as you would expect in the Avatar/Tron: Legacy era,
yet the film was shot in real anamorphic 35mm Panavision with underwater
shooting in Super 35mm and the 3D finished in digital. That makes it more competent than most 3D
productions to date and of late, but the 2D shows the limits of some of the
sillier digital work, so this is a fun 3D title and one of the better ones we
have seen so far, but demo moments are not always there. Director of Photography John R. Leonetti (Ca$h) does some of his best work to
Cameron actually attacked this film as an abuse of the format in a
much-publicized dispute (guess he missed Clash
Of The Titans remake, Last Airbender
and the My Bloody Valentine remake,
all much worse) that may also have to do with his further battle against his
name on the second film. Maybe? We have seen much worse and the film is fun.
MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix is the same on both versions and is pretty
good throughout, though some audio (like dialogue) can be limited in fidelity and
the mix can be inactively quiet at times (this includes building suspense for
the next moment of terror), but this is well recorded and mixed otherwise with
a good score by Michael Wandmacher. Extras
include ten (!) featurettes and a feature length filmmakers audio commentary.
deleted scenes and storyboards are only on the 2D Blu-ray, but this is still a
solid Blu-ray 3D title that delivers often enough.
- Nicholas Sheffo