Fish like boobies too – Piranha 3D Reviewed

Oh crap! Fish!

Oh crap! Fish!

Spoiler Alert!

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.

Save yourself Jerry! Stop screaming in my face!

Save yourself Jerry! Stop screaming in my face!

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.

Swimming with the fishes...

Swimming with the fishes…

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!



Lightsabers vs. Phasers

Stop looking at me like that. My "I heart the Dark Side" shirt is dirty.

Stop looking at me like that. My “I heart the Dark Side” shirt is dirty.

All girls, nerd or not, love something big, strong and powerful they can hold in their hands.

I’m talking, of course, about weapons.

What did you think I meant?

In the epic battle between Star Trek and Star Wars, there are a few topics that really get nerd blood boiling.  One is the Enterprise vs. the Millennium Falcon.  The other is lightsabers vs. phasers.  Today I want to focus on weapons.

beam-me-upI’ll start with some of my back story.  I come from a military family and I have four (count ‘em FOUR) Dad’s.  How’d you like to be my boyfriend meeting the parents for the first time?  My biological Dad was career Navy.  He worked in nuclear subs and can shoot a torpedo like nobody’s business.

Don is a direct descendent of Davy Crockett.  He practiced qi gong and kung fu.  He relates to Native Americans and walks a fine line between awesome and crazy.

Popi was a Green Beret and Special Forces during and after Vietnam.  He is a 5th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a 4th degree black belt in Hwa Rang Do, a 3rd degree black belt in Hapkido, and a 1st degree black belt in Judo and received some of his training from none other than Chuck Norris himself.

In other words, my Dad’s can kick your Dad’s asses and they didn’t exactly leave me in the dark.  Imagine me coming at you with a weapon!  I stabbed a guy with a fork once during college (he got fair warning) and have witnesses to prove it.  My weapons education started at a young age.  My fascination with science fiction started at a young age.  It is only natural that I would want to possess both a lightsaber and a phaser.  The ultimate sword and the ultimate gun.  *le sigh*

So which weapon is superior?  Both are comprised of energy technology.  Both can be used as tools when not serving as weapons.  Both have nifty designs that seem innocuous when not in action.

The lightsaber is essentially a sword.  An awesome, retractable sword.  It requires years of training to master and when combined with the mental and physical skill of a Jedi, can be a weapon and a shield simultaneously. It is damaging only as far as the Jedi can reach, unless it is being used to ricochet the blast of an E-11 back to its originator. Positives: you build and become one with your lightsaber.  I can imagine a Jedi bestowing the name Tenel on his lightsaber much the way a Marine might name his rifle Betty.  Negatives: you can’t shoot anything out of it so unless someone is firing at you and you can bounce it back, it’s really only good for close range fighting.  Anything it touches is toast so be careful not to activate it while it’s in your pocket.

My my. Is that a phaser in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

My my. Is that a phaser in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

The phaser is essentially a gun.  An awesome, nadion particle shooting gun.  It takes far less time to learn, anyone can seem to pick it up pretty quickly, although it’s always good to practice your aim.  It’s not one setting-fits-all like the lightsaber.  Phasers can be conveniently adjusted anywhere from “stun” to “kill” to “vaporize on contact.”  The frequencies can also be changed when fighting an enemy with adapting personal shields such as the Borg.  Positives: you can learn how to operate it quickly and can make multiple types of adjustments to the weapon.  Negatives: it’s not really a personalized weapon.  When not in use, it gets stuck back in the closet until the next time it’s needed.  Make sure you know what setting it’s on before you fire or your buddy who’s possessed by an alien entity won’t be making it back to sick bay.

I may be getting myself in trouble with the Star Wars crowd on this one (I AM called Princesstrek afterall) but I gotta go with the phaser.  It’s good for close and distance fighting.  It can shoot a steady stream of laser so you can kill and weld with the same tool.  It comes in multiple styles or “types” including rifle and shuttlecraft versions.  Control-wise it’s not THAT different from a remote control and I can wield one of those like nobody’s business.

Lightsabers are kick ass and I will admit that they are far more attractive than your typical phaser.  But when it comes to practicality and functionality, the phaser wins every time.

Sorry Luke.