Quantcast

Piranha (Blu-ray Review)

I have never seen the original 1978 Piranha film, but much to my surprise, my wife has.  She has seen it many times as she told me.  I don’t know.  It must be a cultural thing.  So anyway, I guess that’s why she was so anxious to check this one out in the theater many months ago.   I have to say, I was very curious too.  I had little interest in the 3-D aspect of it, but I was amazed at the mostly positive critical responses the film was garnering after its first day of release.  I just had to check it out.  And so I did.  I was not ready for what I was about to experience…the most fun I had at the theater all summer long.

Film  

The aptly titles Piranha 3D is actually the second remake of the original 1978 film.  It is directed by Alexandre Aja (P2, Mirrors) and sports an all-star cast consisting of Elisabeth Shue, Steven R. McQueen (TV’s The Vampire Diaries), Jerry O’Connell, Ving Rhames, Adam Scott, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Lloyd, Jessica Szohr and the very ravishing Kelly Brook.  The script was actually written by the writers of the 2009 horror remake Sorority Row, Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger.  Man…where can I find a job re-writing scripts?

So like I have said before, it may have not made my Top 10 list of the year, but I never had more fun at the theater this whole summer, or the year for that matter.  Piranha is just a well-made movie.  It’s cheesy, yes, but it has substance where it counts.  And that’s all that matters.  So did I already mention that there’s a sequel already being planned for a September release this year?  Come on folks, they must have done something right to warrant that!

So what makes Piranha so appealing to moviegoers?  Why did it succeed?  Well truly, I think it’s a cornucopia of things.  For instance, there are the women.  Come on; let’s be honest with ourselves.  Who really watched the TV series Baywatch for the stories?  We watched it for the women and the beautiful beach partygoers.  Things are not that much different here.  There are plenty of sexy beach goers to go around to fill just about everybody’s tastes, in my opinion.  And let’s not forget Kelly Brook (pictured left).  If you need a reason to own this title on Blu-ray, then she is your excuse.  And for the fans of gore, look no further than this feature.  There is quite the number of unique death scenes to go around.  I loved every minute of the over –the-top non-stop zany action and devouring antics of the killer fish.  Just like Jaws, the water never really stays blue for that long.  And yes, for the hopeless romantics, there’s even a love story to be found within here too.  Did I sell you yet?

So anyone unfamiliar with this film is probably wondering what’s this movie is all about.  Would you believe me if I told you that the killer piranha were sprang loose from a beer bottle that falls into Lake Victoria in Arizona?  Well, that’s the B-movie appeal of what we have here.  The seemingly impossible happens, but that’s just where the fun begins.  And wouldn’t you know it, Spring Break just happens to be in full swing at this popular college hangout.  Sounds like a recipe for a bloody good time, doesn’t it?  Beer, babes, bikinis, music, sun and a bloody good time is what we have on our hands for the 90 minute runtime of Piranha as Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) desperately races against time to keep the people of her town safe and unravel the mystery of exactly what the killer fish are and how to stop them.  Don’t worry.  I won’t spoil anything for you folks if you haven’t seen this one.  This title deserves a spin in your Blu-ray player and hopefully, a well-deserved spot in your home video collection.  This ladies and gentlemen is Dimension Films’ Piranha.

“It’s not tan, it’s beige.”

Video  

Piranha swims on the Blu-ray format with a 1080p high definition transfer that features a solid AVC MPEG-4 encode and a 2.40:1 aspect ratio presentation.  As I stated above, there are plenty of nice visuals (babes, bikinis, etc…) to go around here.  Colors are bright, but it doesn’t plague the skin tones too much.  They are natural looking for the most part, but can get orange in color from scene-to-scene.  It’s kind of hit or miss.  The print is clean and free of any dirt and debris.  Detail, however, wavers.  It depends on where you are.  When you are above the water, this Blu-ray looks fantastic.  The blue water looks stunning.  But underwater, things get very murky.  Also, since this film was shot with the 3-D presentation in mind, several of the resulting effects shots can get a bit blurry.  It’s not a deal buster for me since I enjoy this film so much, but it does hinder the video score a little bit.  Hey!  I have to be honest, right?  I had no problem with the black levels.  While they are not the deepest I have ever seen, they were effective.  And last but not least, I do need to mention that there’s a thin veil of grain throughout the presentation that while it’s not intrusive, it constantly serves as a reminder that you are watching a cinematic presentation.  I like that!  And I like what I see in Piranha too (hi Kelly!).

Audio  

The audio of Piranha on Blu-ray is just as vicious as the killer fish are.  The bass is literally Earth shattering at times.  During one of the underwater scenes, several items toppled from my bookshelf.  I guess it kind of added like a third dimension to my Blu-ray watching experience.  The 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround traffic offers some very nice moments that engulf the viewer.  You gotta love that!   The sound effects make great use of the rear channels.  I was expecting the water elements to take center stage like in Into the Blue’ s Blu-ray presentation, but much to my surprise, everything is cohesively balanced here…gunshots, screams, music (and a rocking soundtrack it is), etc…  My only problem here, knocking the score down just a tad, is the dialogue track.  It’s all clear and understandable, but for some reason it just sounds a bit low fidelity-like to me.  Does that make sense?  It wasn’t crisp like I would expect it to be.  Boo!  But in hindsight, it ultimately doesn’t take away from having a fun time with this Blu-ray watching experience.  That’s the important part!

Special Features  

The special features on the back of the box don’t look like much, but there’s some saving grace here with a documentary that runs over two hours long.  For those of you who are keeping count, that’s 40 minutes longer than the runtime of the movie.  Yep, it pretty much covers everything you want to know about the making of Piranha and more.  Everything else is pretty much…what’s that term again?  Oh yeah!  Meh!  But then again…THEY ARE ALL IN 1080p!!!!  Yea!  Below are all the special features you will find on the Piranha 1-disc Blu-ray release.  Let’s dive in and explore!

  • Audio Commentary – Here you have your standard audio commentary track that features Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur and Alix Taylor.  This is pretty much your standard run-of-the-mill making of commentary track that discusses the production, filming and locations used in the film.  In my opinion, it’s a must-listen for fans of the movie and optional for everyone else.
  • Don’t Scream, Just Swim: Behind-the-Scenes of Piranha 3D (HD, 2:09) – Here’s the meat and potatoes of the special features folks.  In addition to the fun factor of the film and the hotness of Kelly Brook, this also makes the Blu-ray disc worth owning.  I mean, where else you going to go for your one-stop shopping of every thing Piranha?  There are 10 segments to be found here: Welcome to Piranha, Aja, Cast & Story, Lake Victoria, Spring Break, Blood & Gore, Special Effects & Stunts, The Music, Piranha & Visual FX, Why 3D? and Last Bites.
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary (HD, 7:43) – This one doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out.  If you are a deleted scenes whore, then this one is for you!
  • Deleted Storyboard Sequences (HD, 11:12) – There are two short sequences featured here: Billy Burger Shack and Mini-Van.
  • Piranha Trailer & TV Spots (HD, 3:38) – This consists of the Piranha movie trailer and a few short TV spots.  I always like when they include a trailer for the feature presentation.  So I’m good here!
  • Previews (HD) – Let’s keep the high-definition goodies rolling!  Included on this Blu-ray disc are HD trailers for Resident Evil: Afterlife (our full review here), Game of Death, Sniper Reloaded, Ticking Clock and The Virginity Hit (I’m on the fence about this one).
  • BD-Live

Final Thoughts  

So let’s see…final thoughts…um…BUY IT!  BUY IT NOW!  Seriously, I think anyone who has made it this far into reading this review and is somewhat interested in checking this film out is already a fan and I whole-heartedly recommend a purchase.  Forget Netflix!  If you want the movie now, click the link below and get it shipped today!  As Shakira would say, “Why Wait?”

So in conclusion, you should buy this movie for the following reasons:

#1 – It’s a fun and campy B-movie!

#2 – There’s plenty of gore, carnage and death to entertain even the most disturbed horror fans.

#3 – There’s water, boats, beaches, bikinis and of course…killer fish!

#4 – It doesn’t get much better than on the Blu-ray format (i.e. – You WON”T find a better way to enjoy it!  Don’t argue with me.).

…and most importantly…

#5 – There’s KELLY BROOK!

Piranha comes out on Blu-ray tomorrow, January 11thPre-order your copy today and enjoy a titillating good time this week!  Thanks for reading!

Share

Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

6 Responses to “Piranha (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    While I have no real desire to own this movie, I can certainly back Brian in saying that this is just a really silly and fun movie. Its really a comedy and not a horror by any means, and I would go to the lengths of saying I had more fun watching this movie than Machete or The Expendables as far as over-the-top ridiculousness goes.

  2. Brian White

    See Aaron…EVERYTHING you mentioned above is a P-E-R-F-E-C-T reason to own Piranha on Blu-ray! 🙂

  3. Gerard Iribe

    That’s a bold statement, Aaron.

    I’ll rent this.

  4. Aaron Neuwirth

    It’s bold if I was addressing the comment to you Gerard, but I was trying to speak to everyone that doesn’t worship those films.

  5. Gerard Iribe

    I just finished Piranha and have to say that the film was utter garbage. Most people loved this over over “Mirrors?” GTFO.

    Yeah, the nudity was cool and all, but the over use of GOD AWFUL cgi killed it for me. I did appreciate a few actual gore scenes of the non-cgi variety, but the awful cgi took me out of the film completely. It’s so bad.

    I’m glad I rented this instead of buying it. Piranha will go on my worst of 2010 list.

  6. Eric Flapjack Ashley

    The original Piranha is one of my favorite movies. This was awful. I must be too old for the target demographic because a lot of the “jokes” were terrible. I actually had decent hopes for it given its cast and director (of which I loved High Tension, P2 and Hills Have Eyes remake).