This weekend saw quite a bit of movies released, none of which seemed particularly interesting, but one did pique my interest: Piranha 3D, a reimagining of the 1978 Roger Corman feature Piranha. While the original film was an attempt to hitch a ride on the success of Jaws, this new film is instead riding the wave of the recent 3D phenomenon.
Typically, when I find out a movie is in 3D, it actually makes me NOT want to go see it, as today’s 3D is more for high-definition picture quality, whereas I grew up in a time where 3D meant a harpoon was coming right at your face and that’s the 3D I want. Piranha 3D promised me this ‘gotcha’ 3D.
As far as the film’s subject matter, I must admit I’ve been intrigued by those South America fish with a penchant for flesh ever since thrash metal giants Exodus sang about piranha on their 1985 debut album. Of course, I was probably compelled by the song’s reference to them as “Loki’s children,” trapped in the depths of Hell brought up to one day waste mankind. But I was introduced to these deadly creatures nevertheless and the fascination began.
It helped a lot that Piranha 3D, directed by Alexandre Aja (The Hill Have Eyes remake), boasts a cast of Richard Dreyfess, Elisabeth Shue, and Christopher Lloyd, right there enough to get to me go see the film.
If you’ve seen Piranha 3D, then it’s time for some SPOILER TALK.
Continue reading for my SPOILER-filled thoughts on the movie, and feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.
WARNING: If you have not seen Piranha 3D, do NOT read any further. There will be SPOILERS below.
Piranha 3D opens up on Lake Victoria, a serene lake in Arizona, where a man is on his motorboat fishing. This is Richard Dreyfuss reprising his role as Matt Hooper from Jaws. You’ll see his glasses and wardrobe are the same as from Jaws and he’s even singing the same song “Show Me The Way To Go Home.”
Ironically, in his peaceful retirement, Hooper meets his doom at the jaws of thousands of prehistoric piranha after an underwater earthquake unleashes the beasts. So, yes, within the first few minutes of the movie, a big-name star gets killed off, but we also get to see the creatures right away. In my opinion, the CGI was done well for the creatures, and also for the maelstrom created by the quake.
After the initial introduction to the piranha and the first onscreen kill, the film slows down a bit to build some back story and set up for the events happening in Lake Victoria, Arizona, which apparently becomes a hot spot for Spring Break each year. The town’s population grows from 5,000 to 50,000 for the annual event, yet there’s seemingly still only 3 police officers on staff.
We meet Jake Forester, played by Steven McQueen, grandson of legendary actor Steve McQueen. Jake is the 17-year-old son of the town sheriff Julie Forester, a total milf and badass, played by Elisabeth Shue. I thought Shue was perfect for this role, because, let’s face it, we’ve known she can pull off badass ever since she told the Lords of Hell not to “fuck with the babysitter” in 1987’s Adventures In Babysitting. Shue is teamed up again in Piranha 3D with her Back To The Future II & III co-star Christopher Lloyd, who appears as Mr. Goodman, the owner of a local pet store who luckily happens to know a helluva lot about prehistoric piranha (he even has some kind of fossil casting of one!).
The film tries to give Jake a love interest in Kelly (Jessica Szohr), a local girl whom he obviously has feelings for. She seems to like him to, so it’s unclear why they’re not together, and why she hangs out with a bunch of douchebags who like to harass and abuse Jake. The more I learned about Kelly, the more I hoped she’d soon become fish food, because she’s a bit of a bitch (and she has that Megan Fox in Transformers kind of look, also). Like I said, she hangs out with guys who treat her friend Jake like shit; she ditches the guys because 1) they didn’t get her backstage at a concert as promised, and 2) she got a better offer to hang out on the “Wild” boat with Jake. Once on the boat, she behaves like a drunken whore, going lesbo for the camera, and being a bitch to Jake — again, why is that? What has he ever done to her? So, yeah, totally disappointed that she didn’t bite it and that Jake — who I really liked — had to risk his life to save her sorry ass.
When Jerry O’Connell shows up as Derrick Jones, producer of Wild Wild Girls (a parody of Girls Gone Wild), didn’t you just hate him? I know his character was supposed to be annoying, which then makes his gruesome death that much more of a pay off, but damn, I couldn’t stand him! It also sucked that right before the movie was released, the details of his death were all over the internet.
Speaking of Jerry O’Connell’s character’s death: pretty sick, huh? I like how he pulls a Jason and comes back to life for a second at the end. Oh, yeah, and his penis gets bitten off, eaten, and spit out. Apparently, his dick must have been really huge, because I didn’t see any of that “shrinkage” you supposedly get from being in cold water (as we learned on that episode of Seinfeld).
Oh, I forgot, there’s lots of naked boobs in this movie! Boobies, titties, titties, boobies, in your face, in your face, in your face — in 3D!!! Should I be offended? No way. This is an R-rated horror movie about drunken promiscuous young adults getting eaten alive by piranha, there should be boobies! That’s just the way it goes, old-school style. For those of you who are concerned with all the boobs in the movie, don’t worry, there’s plenty of ass too (oh, and aforementioned penis).
I’m a hetero girl, so I almost forgot to mention this part, but I don’t want to leave out any integral scenes: underwater naked female ballet. Apparently, it’s sexy.
Those drunken partying college kids? Yeah, most of them get slaughtered, and quite grotesquely too. Should I feel sorry for them? Maybe a little, but NO! You know why? Because all they had to do to survive was get the fuck out of the water when the police came and told them to. But did they? No! Let me tell you something, if I’m in the water and the police show up frantically yelling for people to get out of the water, I’m getting the fuck out of the water. I’ve seen Jaws, ok? I know what happens when you don’t get out of the water. I lived my life “afraid to go back in the water.” I’m fucking out of there!
You know what happens if you don’t get out of the water? Yeah, you did, you know why? Because the 3 policemen in town only have one round of shotgun ammunition and a taser. How the hell are they going to fight off thousands of piranha with that? THEY CAN’T! Oh, yes, they try and it turns into like a carnival sort of game for a few minutes, but they cannot succeed. Therefore, you die. Like I said, get the fuck out of the water when you’re told.
By the way, why do motor boats suck? Is this a fact? Do motor boats just, you know, NOT start up? If so, it might be time for a recall. And that goes for speed boats too, their engines suck, and so do the welding on them too apparently.
PIRANHA!!!!! whew, they are fucking hungry. There’s thousands of them. They’ve have nothing to eat but each other and discarded beer bottles for hundreds of thousands of years, so it’s understandable that they’d have a feeding frenzy on those unsuspecting Spring Break revelers. Yet, somehow, Jake is able to hold them off for 10 minutes or so by throwing them an already half-eaten Jerry O’Connell. Yeah, I don’t think so. But, hey, it’s in the script.
Oh, about the piranha, guess who did the design work on them? One Neville Page, who also did the designs for the Cloverfield monster and the ice creature in 2009’s Star Trek. I’m guessing this is why I loved how the piranha looked — yes, yes, I did, I thought they were so cute.
Elisabeth Shue badass moment: Mama Bear gets a call from Baby Bears that they’ve out on the lake and their boat is sinking, they need help! We get the classic pan up on Shue’s face as she realizes her children are in danger — pan out for emphasis! Don’t worry children, Mama’s on the way! Shue then leaps off of her police boat — which is closed in by other boats and is already packed with injured people — onto floating debris in the water and into a speed boat and she’s off! Shue did this stunt herself, and it’s an awesome moment for her character.
Who joins in to help the Sheriff rescue her kids? Why, it’s Adam Scott (from Parks and Recreation) as Novak, a geologist of some sort who was the only surviving member of the diving team that came to town that day to explore the lake after the earthquake. Somehow, Novak knows exactly what the Sheriff is doing and decides to go with her. Yes, his character gets the final death, meant to leave the film open for sequel and to be the butt of the final joke, but man, I liked him! What happens to him is quick, so hey, maybe he survives and will be back for a sequel (if there is one, and I hope there is). Scott gets the line “Is that a fucking piranha?!”
Ving Rhames shows up in the film as Deputy Fallon. Rhames never fails to disappoint, and in this film, his character goes crazy with a motor boat propeller (the only time one of these works, interestingly), killing off the attacking piranha, thereby sacrificing himself to save those stupid assholes who just wouldn’t get out of the fucking water when he told them to!!!
By the way, there’s ancient piranha eating up the townspeople, I don’t know, maybe call in the National Guard or some shit? I think at some point, Sheriff Forester calls some nearby towns and asks them to come help them get the people out of the water, but it didn’t seem like they planned on coming to help.
More cool casting: Paul Scheer plays the cameraman for the Wild Wild Girls videos; Dina Meyer (SAW movies) and Ricardo Chavira (Carlos on Desperate Housewives) appear as the part of that diving team that gets eaten; and Eli Roth as the Wet T-Shirt Contest host who gets his head chopped off by two crashing boats.
Non-piranha kills: You’d think with thousands of piranha on the attack that there wouldn’t even be enough room in this 89-minute movie for some non-piranha kills, but oh there were! There’s the aforementioned Eli Roth character; the girl that gets sliced in half (exposing one breast in the process) by the fallen cable; and the girl with her hair stuck in the propeller. There was also the injured girl who got pulled apart while she was being carried to safety — does that count? I don’t know. Technically, she died from being pulled apart, but that was an accident only after she was severely maimed in the piranha attack.
By the way, what happened to Paul Sheer‘s character? I don’t remember him getting killed or escaping off the boat, so what exactly happened to him? Did he get killed when the glass bottom of the boat broke and the piranha got in? If so, put this down for most unmemorable death.
And when exactly did this happen in the film?
I don’t think it did!!!! Call in the Trailer Police!
Lastly, in the end, we learn that these mutilating, chomping fish on the loose are actually the BABIES!!!! Oh, shit!!!!! Lloyd’s character discovers this after examining the one piranha that was caught and deducing that its sex organs are not fully developed. Umm, can you please tell me HOW he was able to examine this piranha and live to tell about it?
And there you have it! Your turn… What did you think of PIRANHA 3D? How does it stand up to the original 1978 PIRANHA? You ready for a PIRANHA 3D sequel?