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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Horror > Thriller > Monster > Science Fiction > 3-D > Piranha 3D (2010/Weinstein Company/Sony Blu-ray 3D Edition)

Piranha 3D (2010/Weinstein Company/Sony Blu-ray 3D Edition)

 

3-D Picture: B     2-D Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C+     Feature: C+

 

 

It is 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 this link:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10130/Deathsport+(1978)/BattleTruck+(198

 

 

The 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.

 

Finally, 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.

 

Instead 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.

 

The 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 host.

 

Elisabeth 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.

 

However, 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 unavoidable.)

 

The 1080p 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 date.

 

James 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.

 

The DTS-HD 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.

 

Sadly, 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


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