MOVIE: Piranha 3-D (2010)

Okay, sure, you can make a case for me simply being foolish.  I mean, who goes to a movie named Piranha 3-D expecting it to be good, after all?  Only a fool!  A crazy person!  A complete madman!

But, but. . . BUT!

In my defense, I had fully expected this one to suck — UNTIL the reviews started to pour in last week.  In my experience, critics don’t tend to like most horror flicks, and for that reason alone, my plan had been to avoid reading anything those wankers had to say in the first place.  Why bother when you already know their nature is to knee-jerk with a pan on principle, right?  Snobs.

Imagine my surprise, then, when a reader forwarded me this rave review from Associated Press reporter Christy Lemire:   “Mere words cannot describe how awesomely gnarly Piranha 3D is, how hugely entertaining and how urgently you must get yourself to the theater to see it. Like, now.”

Say what?  “Awesomely gnarly”?  She even talks like me!  Curious, I started poking around and, sure enough, the critics were mostly kinda NOT hating on this one too much.  And that’s when I made the neverfailingly tragic mistake of getting my hopes up.  WILL I NEVER LEARN?

Apparently not.

The first few minutes of Piranha 3-D seemed only to confirm Lemire’s review, with a witty nod at Jaws that boosted my hopes all the more.  The filmmakers must be true fans, I said to myself, and everybody knows true fans of Jaws are among the smartest, most talented people in the world.  (Ahem.)

But as the Jawsaphors continued to pile up (not just in the script, but also in the camera work), the whole thing started to feel less like an homage to one of my all-time favorite films, and more like evidence the Piranha 3-D filmmakers couldn’t be bothered to come up with their own ideas — consumed, as they clearly were, by trying to maximize the number of jiggling, naked boobies they could cram into 88 minutes of film. (Some of those boobies, frankly, I found scarier than the prehistoric piranhas trying to munch on them.  Not a good sign, ladies.)

In my opinion, to really get into a horror flick, you have to have someone to root for.  It doesn’t always have to be the good guy — I mean, who among us wasn’t totally rooting for Junkbucket in Junkbucket, after all? — but you have to give a rat’s ass about somebody.  Giving the ass of that rat (just what IS the origin of that expression, anyway?)  requires some semblance of character development, no semblance of which can be found in this movie, despite the near-heroic attempts of both Elizabeth Shue and Ving Rhames.  By the end, the only thing I was rooting for anymore (aside from the closing credits, of course) was that the two little kids would become fish food, because at least killing off children would be somewhat original.

Also, for the record — Things I Do Not Need to See in 3-D: vomit, dismembered penises, Eli Roth.

Speaking of which, despite the fact this movie is titled Piranha 3-D, the 3-D effects were clearly added after filming was complete, tossed in at seemingly random, unplanned moments, making them superfluous at best and irritatingly distracting the rest of the time.  Frankly, I’m at the point now where if a film advertised it was going to be shown in TWO! AMAZING! DIMENSIONS!,  I’d be far more willing to shell out the extra five bucks for my ticket.

In other words: 3-D fad, I wash my hands of you.  You and I are finished.  Done. Kaput.  It’s over.  Stop texting me.

That said, I am pleased to report there was one good thing that came out of my Piranha 3-D experience.  You know those new full-body x-ray scanners showing up in airports nowadays?  The ones that give the security staff a vivid view of all your naughty bits?  I have stopped caring about this.  Because after 88 minutes of naked ladies! naked ladies! naked ladies! (including two who could make out underwater for ten minutes without ever coming up for air — neat trick!), I became completely immune to the titillation.  I give those x-ray officers three 8-hour shifts before looking at boobs becomes the most boring task on the planet.

I feel kind of bad for those guys.  Also: gynecologists.

This movie is definitely what I would describe as “awesomely gnarly” — except that I don’t mean that in a good way.  Frankly, Ms. Lemire, I haven’t been this disappointed by mainstream media praise for a horror movie since Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.  Fie on you.

Friends:  Save your hard-earned money and go rent Jaws instead.  All the Richard Dreyfus, nary a one of the wet tee-shirt contests!

Enemies:  You’ll love it!  Try the IMAX theater!

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre: Horror, 3-D
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Ving Rhames, Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, Jerry O’Connell, Steven R. McQueen

Tags: ,

6 Responses to “MOVIE: Piranha 3-D (2010)”

  1. RogerBW Says:

    Impressions I’m getting about this film from other reviewers are that (a) it’s thoroughly mean-spirited to its human characters and (b) the last third or so in particular dissolves into a welter of gore and body parts. (Which is not of itself a bad thing, though personally I feel it doesn’t go well in the same film as lots of naked breasts.) Any thoughts on that?

  2. Trip Says:

    I love that a post on a 3-D horror movie about piranhas chumming humans ends with a hat tip to jaded gynecologists. It’s all about the journey.

    Still – is there any genre of film that is or could be enhanced by 3-D? What does 3-D really bring to the table, anyway?

  3. Liz Says:

    Hooray! Down with 3-D and up with good ACTING and WRITING! I may never bother with “Avatar” now!

    Poor, silly Meg 🙂 … and poor silly ME! We may never learn!

  4. megwood Says:

    RogerBW, I’ve seen some of the criticisms about the “mean spirit” of the film, but I wouldn’t say this movie stands out in that regard. Then again, I’ve seen a LOT of movies like this (horror subgenre I call “college coed slasher disaster”). They were drinking heavily and having rampant sex, after all — those two things will get you killed in any horror film.

    As for the last third, it’s definitely a gore-fest. Poor propeller girl — good lord. (Another nod to Jaws, there, by the way.) But I was more distracted by how dumb every one was being than the actual deaths.

    Trip, “It’s all about the journey” made me laugh out loud. And I totally agree on the 3-D thing. Avatar is the only film I’ve seen so far that used it well (in no small part because it used it intentionally). I haven’t seen a movie since where I didn’t find it more intrusive than anything else. It’s turned into a fad instead of a real tool for creativity. No point to it at all that I can see.

  5. RogerBW Says:

    Meg, thanks. Lack of sympathetic characters tends to be a killer for me.

    There is definitely a perceptible difference between “we made this in 3D” (which really requires a whole new visual grammar, at least as big as the B&W->colour change and maybe more so, and to give Cameron his due he’s made some big steps in that direction) and “3D was applied in post-production, probably by some cheap VFX shop in China” (Clash of the Titans being one of the most blatant examples of the recent crop). I think film companies should be required to say which approach was taken, and I definitely encourage film reviewers to do it…

  6. TC Says:

    I liked it. By the time I got to the halfway mark I lost count of all the bare tits I saw. That alone should make it worthy of Oscar consideration

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