Piranha 3D

Piranha 3D

What he said:


Absurd is the first word that comes to mind. Not that I didn’t expect this; truth be told I was both aware and hopeful it would be. But even knowing this was supposed to be something of an homage that still didn’t fully prepare me for some of the stuff I saw in this movie. The fate of Jerry O’Connell’s character comes to mind.

Piranha 3D is a gore-filled, parody about a small party town in Arizona during Spring Break. Things are a “little different” this year though when a small earthquake unleashes a species of piranha long thought to be dead. Spring Break, man-eating fish, can you sense where this one is going? Blood, boobies, and B-movie special effects are what this remake is all about.

The movie knows what it is and doesn’t pretend to be anything more than that. It mostly succeeds in recreating the feel of an old fashioned schlock-fest. Though at times, it tries a little too much even for what it’s meant to be. A few times, I found myself saying “Did I really just see that?” And that wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

The casting was a nice touch. The movie brings in some fairly big names for something everyone involved had to know would in no way aid their careers.

Elizabeth Shue (who still looks pretty damn good) was solid as the tough as nails Sheriff Julie Forester. Julie runs a tight ship at home and in town, where she’s forced to attempt to contain thousands of drunk and horny college kids year-after-year.

I usually enjoy Ving Rhames. Whether he’s playing a convict, cop, bouncer, mob boss, he’s usually very good. He’s done some really good movies in his career, but isn’t afraid to do a stupid movie like this one.

Richard Dreyfus, Christopher Lloyd, and Dina Meyer are all veteran actors who were placed nicely in the small roles they were given. I particularly loved Christopher Lloyd’s appearance. It was vintage Doc Brown.

Rating: Thumbs half way up.

What she said:


There’s a whole genre of movie out there that aims to be over-the-top and blood-riddled, and features hybrid killer animals presented using very cheap (circa The Chubb Institute) CGI special effects.  You usually see them on the SyFy Channel very late at night, or direct to DVD at your movie store.  But there has been renewed interest in this genre, and so Piranha 3-D was created.  Piranha brings in B-actors instead of D-actors, a slightly more complex storyline, and community-college level special effects.  Oh yeah, and lots and lots of nudity.  It’s sort of like a Cinemax late-night special that features fish with teeth. 

And yet it’s actually quite entertaining, when you’re not cringing at the gratuitous nudity.  Seriously, there’s more topless women in this movie than at Hugh Heffner’s last mansion party.  But there’s also a lot of great gore.  And it’s kind of fun to watch the spring-break kids get eaten up.  Jerry O’Connell plays a sleazy Joe Francis/Girls Gone Wild style producer/director, and runs around in a bikini swimsuit for half the movie.  Elisabeth Shue is the sheriff in this Arizona lake town, which features warm waters as blue as the Caribbean.  She’s sort of the tough broad who keeps all the college kids in check, while still allowing them to drink and party to their hearts desire.  Hey, I guess it’s all good for tourism.

Basic premise: Party town besieged by pre-historic piranhas unleashed by earthquake.  That’s all you need to know.  Oh, and that there’s a great cameo by a crazy Christopher Lloyd.  He’s very Doc Brown in this.

So, you have to let a lot of things in this movie slip.  I mean, a lot.  But that’s how these cheesy sci-fi movies are.  And you have to not mind naked chicks everywhere.  If you can manage to get past all that, the movie is kind of a fun time.  Sort of like your own personal trip to Cancun.  Enjoy it, but just don’t watch it with your parents.

Diagnosis: Thumbs half up. (A little less nudity next time)