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September 7, 2010

Movie Review: Piranha 3D (2010)

by Corby Kennard

When I heard there was going to be a new Piranha film way back at Comic Con, I was thrilled. I love these sorts of cheesy nature attacks films. I'd recently seen Piranha 2, with the young-old Lance Henriksen and directed by someone named James Cameron, and as much as I enjoyed the silliness of the movie, I was a bit leery of the director porting over the flying-piranha hybrids to the 3rd installment of the Joe Dante-started franchise.

Buy Piranha 3D on DVD or Blu-ray

If you feel the same way, lay those fears to rest. This one is much more believable, as it involves piranha who somehow managed to stay alive for somewhere around 3 million years in a cave under Lake Havasu Arizona. An earthquake opens a crack in the cave, releasing the killer fish into the teeming and naked throngs of party-goers during Spring Break. The kids party, the cops try to save them, and the fish kill and kill and kill. Seriously, this is one of the biggest and bloodiest body counts you're gonna see in this sort of film.

The movie opens as a lone fisherman in a rowboat - an inspired cameo you need to see to appreciate - casts his line into the placid water. He knocks a bottle off the side of his boat and it drifts down, down to the murky trash-strewn bottom of the lake, where it ostensibly starts an earthquake, which cracks the cave, which causes a whirlpool, which knocks the fisherman into the lake, which makes him food for the suddenly-freed piranha. This is the first bit of bad CGI, which is probably made worse by the 3D.

Oh, yes, the 3D. I'm not a huge fan of the gimmick, for a few reasons. First, I wear glasses, so I have to put the extra glasses on over my glasses. Pretty annoying. Then there are some points where the 3D doesn't really work, and the picture just looks blurry or ghosted, so it takes me out of the film. And if the film is too long I get a terrible headache. I also hate those stupid 3D tricks where they throw something at the audience or have a yoyo or something. It's so cheesy, and not in a good way. Well, rest assured, the 3D is fantastic. They keep the tricks to a minimum, and yet the film really pops off the screen in the best way. I mean, 3D boobs? Sign me up! Oh, the fish and gore are pretty good, too. (But really, you wanted to know if the boobs work in 3D. They do.)

At any rate, a good portion of the film is taken up by the police investigating the bloody remains popping up in the lake, a party boat filming naked swimming hotties, and the titular fish making their way to the giant Spring Break celebration where hundreds of unsuspecting college kids drink and strip their way to alcoholic bliss and a laundry list of STDs. When the fish finally attack en mass, well, lets just say they probably cut the amount of new yearly Valtrex prescriptions in half. As well as the Senior Class of 2010. There's no other way to put it - the carnage is nothing less than impressive.

Director Alexandre Aja; along with co-stars Ving Rhames and Elisabeth Shue as the local cops, Jerry O'Connell as a sleazy porn producer and Paul Scheer as his cameraman; have delivered one of the best 80s movies since, well, the 80s. Do yourself a favor and see it in the theater. You don't want to miss this one in 3D.

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