You have been warned so don’t get all pissy and blame me if you haven’t seen it yet.
Part of my nerdiness is a love for all things graphically violent. I’m also a smart chick who can cuss like a sailor. Deal with it.
It’s been a while (saaaay 30 some odd years) since animal attack movies had their heyday. But really, who doesn’t love giant mutant bunny rabbits attacking Janet Leigh?
So I was both worried and excited when I saw the trailer for Piranha 3D a while back. It looked like Chris Parker and Marsellus Wallace in cop outfits with hordes of horny teenagers gyrating to generic techno music in the background while they talk about a fish.
All of this is true. But it’s also super awesome.
A quick note about the 3D. It’s obviously post-production 3D which is kind of a bummer. But compared to other attempts at post-production 3D, it’s pretty darn good. But your eye knows when it’s being tricked and some of the underwater scenes are a bit hard to focus on. The above ground, daylight scenes don’t even seem like 3D, which is good because then you’re not thinking about it.
I will admit I jumped a few times and was clutching my Star Trek sweatshirt to my chest. My male companion, however, did not. Being a chick is lame sometimes.
The plot may not be complicated (teens raid lake for spring break, earthquake releases prehistoric piranhas, piranha’s eat teens) but the movie strikes the perfect balance between making fun of itself and taking itself seriously.
The blood is gratuitous. Jerry O’Connell announced on KROQ that they broke the record for the amount of fake blood used in a movie. The lake (Lake Havasu renamed Lake Victoria) is literally filled with the stuff during the climax of the movie. The director, Frenchman Alexandre Aja, comes up with some brilliant ways of showcasing the gore. Eli Roth (of bad ass Jew Inglourious Basterds fame) gets decapitated by a speedboat. A topless blonde extra gets sliced in half by a snapped cable. Porn star Riley Steele gets eaten from the inside out while a horrified Jerry O’Connell (in an inspired turn as a Joe Francis-type) looks on only to have his penis chewed off and then ultimately spit up by a piranha.
The boobies are plentiful. From both the stars and the extras alike. Brit Kelly Brook and Steele are “Wild, Wild Girls,” a not so subtle parody of “Girls Gone Wild.” Kelly is likable and Steele has some surprisingly well acted moments. Of course, they share an extended naked underwater make out scene set to a brilliantly chosen piece of classical music. I’m told that Steele showed up on set not knowing how to swim and had to be taught. How does a porn star not know how to swim? Whatever, it was pretty freakin’ hot.
The cameos are perfect. Richard Dreyfuss sends Matt Hooper into movie history with a hilarious last hurrah to open the flick and Christopher Lloyd is present in all his Doc Brown glory as a local fish expert. In our theatre, both characters received thunderous applause. Even minor characters are played by well established actors giving you the sense that people read the script and just had to be a part of it. Cause it’s just that awesome.
Elisabeth Shue is a bad ass Sheriff with no fear. At one point she gives a delightful shout out to her Adventures in Babysitting days (a big plus for this Thor obsessed Norwegian). Ving Rhames is going through the motions a bit until the scene where he sacrifices himself for the very teenagers who ignored him when he fired off his gun and told them to get the hell out of the water. A boat motor makes for an excellent weapon against fish by the way. At least for a while. The mopey kid from Vampire Diaries (lucky bastard is the grandson of Steve McQueen) does a pretty good turn as an irresponsible older brother sucked into the world of Wild, Wild Girls. But even better is Brooklynn Proulx as his witty and adorable younger sister Laura. Jessica Szohr is cute but forgettable as lucky bastards love interest.
The piranha’s themselves are pretty gnarly looking. They have red eyes the color of dried blood and almost look armor-plated and slightly skeletal. Whoever designed them did a good job of making them look prehistoric. Even their egg clusters are creepy.
And, of course, they’re just the babies. Mommy makes her entrance at the very end in a move that would put Shamu to shame.
A rollicking good time filled with plenty of laughs and a scary moment or two.
3.5 out of 5 SCI-FIVES!