There’s Nothing Fishy About the Joy of Watching Piranha 3D

There was a time when this film was threatened with the possibility of not being released, only to later be threatened with having a release, but not a 3D release.  Fortunately enough, the powers at be made it possible for this film to be release as intended, thus preserving its artistic integrity.  Anyway, there is a prolonged sequence featuring a very naked Kelly Brook swimming underwater with her very naked companion, accompanied by the orchestral theme “Viens Mallika Sous Le Dome Edais from Lakme.” This sequence earns the film its first star. The second star comes from watching Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss, reprising his role as Matt Hooper from Jaws, be sucked into a whirlpool and devoured by prehistoric, flesh eating piranhas.  The third star comes from watching Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue fend off these deadly piranhas by use of a stun gun.  The fourth star comes from watching Golden Globe winner Ving Rhames use a motorboat propeller to slaughter a ton of piranhas.  And the fifth star comes from watching Young Artists Award nominee Jerry O’Connell’s magnificent portrayal of a soft-core porn business man pushed to his limits.  That’s five stars, but the film loses one for not being shot in real 3D and because I’m not crazy.  Here is a film that knows exactly what it is and delivers.

Mr. Goodman: The piranha hunt in packs. The first bite draws blood, blood draws the pack.

Taking place at Lake Victoria (or as I’m calling it, “Horny Boob Town, USA”), where the population grows from 5,000 to 50,000 for Spring Break, there’s something more to worry about than hangovers and complaints from local old timers this time around.  A new type of terror is about to be cut loose.  After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, it becomes clear that our heroes must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area’s new razor-toothed residents.

A week prior to seeing this, I was upset that the film, The Expendables, didn’t take its premise far enough over-the-top as it could have and was less fun because of it.  This film is the answer to that.  Piranha 3D is a blast to watch.  This film is absolutely ridiculous and ludicrous (yes, both) in every sense.  Everything about it goes so far over-the-top, pushing the realms of schlocky, B-horror films to its limits.  The film is rated R, “for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use,” and that should be everything you need to know about the kind of content involved.  I’ve heard things such as, “most fake blood ever used,” and I would be hard pressed to disagree here.

Director Alexandre Aja, who previously helmed High Tension, which I hated, and the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, which I found to be too nihilistic to enjoy, has managed to find a film that can perfectly embrace his very violent filmmaking sensibilities, while still managing to be very enjoyable.  This is a film that is so incredibly violent and gory; it would make Saving Private Ryan blush with its sequence involving masses of wounded partiers fleeing piranha infested waters.  The ways these terror sequences are constructed are fantastically tongue-in-cheek, rising close to the ranks of other classic splatter fests such as Dead Alive and Evil Dead II.

The best part is how perfect the tone of this film is.  Having, for the most part, a talented cast, this film benefits from everyone both realizing the joke of this film, but never attempting to wink at the camera.  Sure the acting is over the top at times, but it never betrays the film by going overboard with how unserious things are (the effects and specific gore shots are another matter).  Having people like Elisabeth Shue and Ving Rhames, along with my boy Adam Scott, help lend credence to this feature that is nowhere near grounded in reality, but still manage to create stakes for the film.  Then you have Christopher Lloyd enter a scene, playing it way over-the-top, making for one hilarious sequence of exposition.  But my favorite was still Jerry O’Connell, as a parody of the mastermind behind Girls Gone Wild, whose antics of being a dick and being ridiculous go so well together at keeping me entertained, that I am glad he was a large part of this film’s viral advertising.

Then you add the 3D factor.  While only converted into the format, the film certainly looks good as the big effects sequences start to take hold.  The murky underwater scenes don’t do the film any favor when looking through these lenses, but the gimmick certainly functions well as the film progresses, when you have stuff like a piranha busting through the face of a girl being eaten alive.  Have I mentioned how over-the-top everything is?

I’m not sure how to recommend this film if you are actually concerned with how good it is.  I am, however, confident in recommending this film if you are concerned with how “goood” it is.  It’s wonderfully ridiculous and as the rating described, full of crazy gore and nudity.  The audience that would be interested in this sort of flick should certainly be satisfied by what it accomplishes.  It may not be a great film, but it’s a fun movie; and some of the most fun I’ve had this summer.

Guy outside the Theater Describing the Movie: There were tits, piranhas, more tits, and a dick!


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

23 Responses to “There’s Nothing Fishy About the Joy of Watching Piranha 3D”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    I’ll rent this.

  2. Brian White

    This is simply AWESOME Aaron! I am sold! I am so pumped to check this out over the weekend! I will post my thoughts after seeing it, but everything you say above has me completely sold on this. After all, we all need a little summer time piranha fun now and then, right? 🙂

  3. Brian White

    @Gerard…What??? I can’t figure out your movie tastes at all 🙁

  4. Aaron Neuwirth

    Like I said to Lady Gaga, different Strokes (wink) for different folks.

  5. Gerard Iribe

    As much as I’m a fan of Aja’s stuff (I love High Tension, Hills Have Eyes, and Mirrors) I don’t think this looks cool at all. The CGI piranhas look lame, and it looks to be another 3-D lackluster effort. I don’t even remember if they actually shot it in 3-D or not. If they did, it will look cool, if it’s converted, it will look like shit. The film is alos like 80 minutes long, so if you have ADD, you’ll be fine.

    IDK, just not feeling it. Then again, when I watch it on bluray, if I like it, I may buy it. They just won’t get my theater $.

    Aaron, unfair comparison to The Expendables, IMO.

  6. Brian White

    @Gerard…Aaron says above this is sadly shot in 2D and converted to 3D, but that’s not a sticking point to me. The fact that I get to have a “Crank”-like time with this 80 minute flick makes me all over this. Sounds like fun. Sign me up. I need this.

  7. Gerard Iribe

    @Brian…I’ll watch Crank if I want a Crank-like experience. Ewww, 2-D convert? Big time PASS.

    I’ll watch it on bl-ray, though.

  8. Aaron Neuwirth

    @Gerard, it’s like you didn’t read anything I wrote and made a blind decision before responding.

    Yes, the 3D is a conversion, a decision made 3 years ago, before 3D hit big and converted opposed to shot, due to the inability to film in 3D with so many underwater shots. Of course it doesn’t look as great as it could, but it’s hardly lackluster (it wasn’t tacked on at the last minute).

    I’m also not sure how CG prehistoric flesh eating piranhas are supposed to be realistically portrayed, but this is a tongue-in-cheek splatter film…

    And who likes Mirrors? that’s a new one.

    And yes, in my opinion, I didn’t have fun watching the Expendables, save for a few scenes. I did have fun watching this movie. It’s not for everyone, but to each his own…

  9. Gerard Iribe

    @Aaron, I would to respond, but WSB has been sending my comments to the spam filter.

  10. Gerard Iribe

    Ah, there we go. Mirrors had one of the greatest onscreen deaths of all time. I won’t spoil it for those that haven’t seen it.

    The fish should have been a blend of practical and cgi. Hell, even the cgi sharks in Deep Blue Sea look better than these fish. Then again DBS used a combination of the two elements.

  11. Brian White

    We are talking about the kiefer Sutherland mirrors right? If so, I loved that film!

  12. Brian White

    @Gerard…well at least you will watch it on Blu-ray rather than streaming it 🙂

  13. Aaron Neuwirth

    How do you do practical swarms of giant prehistoric piranhas? Yes, it’s obvious CG, but it’s not like this flick had a huge budget to work with, let alone the need to make convincing creatures.

  14. Gerard Iribe

    @Brian, that’s the one.

    @Aaron, A blend. They can make a half dozen “real” ones and use them for close-ups, etc…

    The other problem I have is with the design. I know they’re supposed to be prehistoric piranhas, but why do their eyes look like they shoot laser beams? Why do their bodies look like tanks? These things are armoured?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still see it, but in a few months.

  15. Brian White

    @Gerard…I love Mirrors. I thought that film was done extremely well and the ending…wow!

    @all – Okay…My thoughts on Piranha 3D…

    I had a blast with this one!
    Much like Jaws 2 scared me as a little kid of the water, I could not help feeling the same way here.
    The screenplay was well written. It provided an out for everything and closely followed the proper tale that Save The Cat teaches you to craft. Was not expecting this from the movie.
    But anyway…anyone that knows me knows that I am a PITA when it comes to complaining about CGI. Was I too wrapped up in this simple story to care? IDK. But I had no problems with any CGI or effect shot within this film. Of course, they did not look 100% real and mechanical at times, but who cares…I had fun!
    This will be a day 1 purchase on the Blu-ray format. 3D or not, I want this badly! I do have to add one last thing… think this was the first 2D to 3D conversion I walked away satisfied from. They had a 3D trailer for Resident Evil: Afterlife…I’m looking forward to that and Machete (Jessica Alba 🙂 ) next!

    @Gerard…you are one of the kings of B movies in my opinion. Take your GF today and have some summer fun with Piranha today. I’m eager to know your opinion. I don’t think I can wait another two months…BTW…Evil Dead is on its way to you!

  16. Aaron Neuwirth

    Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. This was the best conversion I’ve seen, and despite how much I don’t care about the Resident Evil movies, this one at least looks visually over-the-top to match it’s general style.

    Also, I’ve bought three or four of like the 10+ versions of the Evil Dead (and three of the T2 releases) but I’m still psyched for Evil Dead on blu-ray.

  17. Gerard Iribe

    Thanks, Brian. I’m anticipating Bruce Campbell’s unibrow in all its high-def glory.

  18. Sean Ferguson

    I’ll throw my two cents in…I want to see Piranha 3D and the best movie in the Evil Dead series is Army of Darkness!

  19. Aaron Neuwirth

    I’m an Evil Dead II man myself, but my Halloween costume this year – Obama Vs. The Army of Darkness – will be amazing.

  20. Gerard Iribe

    Well, Piranha BOMBED, as expected.

    That is all.

  21. Aaron Neuwirth

    Made $10 mill and only cost $24 Mill, plus the sequel has been green-lit.

  22. Brian White

    Plus it has an 81% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I would hardly call this a failure. 🙂

  23. Gregg

    THIS MOVIE WAS SO MUCH FUN! I heard someone say over the weekend the old “it’s so bad it’s good” line. I don’t know what the hell that nonsense means, but this movie was straight up entertaining from the very get-go. I especially loved the “show me the way to go home” tie-in to Jaws courtesy of Mr. Dreyfus. Great tip of the hat!