Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Written by: Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Ving Rhames, Elisabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd, Jerry O’Connell, Jessica Szohr, Riley Steele, Adam Scott, Steven R. McQueen, Dina Meyer
The Final Destination, the most recent and hopefully “final” film in that franchise, had a kid sucked into (and out of) the suction drain of a public pool. Who knew a death like that in 3D could not only be topped, but conquered so mightily that even the great gore hounds of cinema would cringe?
That’s the fate of poor Jerry O’Connell in Piranha 3D, and that’s no spoiler. He’s the sleazy porn-producing jerk, snorting cocaine on the bow of his ship and being as sexist as possible. The movie only has 90-minutes to ensure the audience hates him after all. He is the recipient of what may be the most vile, sadistic death in filmmaking history, existing purely because 3D cinema has come to the point where digitally rendered male, uh, “parts” can be swallowed whole by prehistoric piranha.
Yeah, Piranha 3D is awesome.
It has no brain, no thought process, no real plot, but staggering amounts of boobs, blood, and beer. It’s those three B’s that matter in a movie like this anyway. It’s a film that opens on Richard Dreyfuss casually fishing at the lake, the closest this movie comes to calm. The 3D gimmicks begin early, the unnamed Dreyfuss character tossing a beer bottle into the lake which takes forever to reach the bottom, but hey it looks cool. Seconds later, an underwater earthquake lets loose the little voracious beasties, and off we go.
Christopher Lloyd gives us the breakdown as the always important scientist character, wonderfully overacting his role with bug-eyed stares as he realizes what’s been freed. You must be asking yourself how two million year old fish survived trapped in an underground cavern with no source of food, right? As we’re told, they ate each other. That’s right… these fish have babies just so they can eat them. Is it possible to have a more killer creature than this?
Piranha 3D lives up to its namesake, providing tons of splattered fish bodies, lots of objects tossed at the screen, the schools of hungry carnivores swimming about (the only underwater life beyond plants by the way), and boobs. In fact, it’s hard to guess if the MPAA has ever allowed more gratuitous displays of nudity in a studio film to be given an “R” rating. If you’ve drug your girlfriend to this one after being forced into Eat Pray Love, prepare for awkwardness.
The movie relishes in its ability to offend feminists, with a full two-minute sequence of porn star Riley Steele and friend swimming completely nude in the water… and in 3D. It has no purpose, no point, no actual reason for being beyond titillation and to kill some time.
The whole movie is like that, entire deaths centered around utterly pointless nudity, yet it all fits. You could not make a film more tongue-in-cheek without the tongue going through the cheek. It’s as stupid as it is oddly brilliant, a film that just does it all because it can without holding back. Pirahna 3D doesn’t pretend to be anything other than it is, not even for a second. That’s exactly why it works. — Matt P.