28 November 2010

Piranha


Piranha

Starring Elisabeth Shue, Steven R. McQueen, Kelly Brooke, Adam Scott, Ving Rhames, Jerry O'Connell, Jessica Szohr, Christopher Lloyd, Richard Dreyfuss. Written by Peter Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg, Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur. Directed by Alexandre Aja. Release date: 20 August 2010. Dimension Films, 88 mins., Rated R

Plot: A swarm of prehistoric piranhas threaten to devour all the swimsuit wearing teenagers during Spring Break, which will be bad for business.

PIRANHA doesn’t try to mask what it sets out do to: deliver blood and gore, and tits and ass, and it throws all four things at the camera shamelessly. And in 3D, I have no doubt the male populace helped drive the box office receipts on those things alone. Acknowledging that PIRANHA doesn’t set out to accomplish much other than providing deliberately bad CGI piranhas, bikini clad babes, and lots of blood, it’s nonetheless not a particularly good movie. And above all, PIRANHA relishes in being over-the-top. Over-the-top in the gallons of blood that pollutes the screen and waters, in the amount of breasts flowing freely, in the amount of deliberate clich├ęd lines of dialogue and ‘jump scares’ and blatant embracement of just pure badness.

Before pursuing, I will say that I enjoyed myself immensely with the movie, and it entirely accomplishes what it set out to do. That being said, one reviewer I hold in high regard, The Foywonder, did bring up a interesting point: with the exception of a considerably higher budget and the three dimensional gimmick, PIRANHA is, in many, many ways, no better than your average SyFy Original Movie production. And I would have to agree with him on several points. What we have here is a movie that doesn’t take itself remotely seriously, and takes great pains to just be wild and as out-there as possible, attempting to rekindle and pay homage not only to the original Joe Dante production but also creature features of the water films, whilst providing crazy entertainment for the hormonal young adults masking their satisfaction of the films content. But PIRANHA fails in the respect that it doesn’t feel like that. Even with all these outlandish elements and ‘who gives a frak?’ mentality, PIRANHA feels like a loveless production.

The best aspect of PIRANHA is, arguably, the cinematography. The underwater camerawork is very nice, from the piranha POV shots to the tense feet-walking-through-shallow-water scene, it is exquisite and quite gorgeous. It’s not like director Alexandre Aja pulled out all the stops with Spielbergean shots, but for a considerably big budgeted B-movie creature feature, it exceeds expectations. Performances aren’t anything to write home about, but you know you’re in trouble when Playboy model Kelly Brook shows more range than, say, Jessica Szohr who has three seasons of GOSSIP GIRL under her belt or Jerry O’Connell who’s been around for awhile. But as expected, the limited screentime-given Ving Rhames nonetheless owns his scenes, and is wickedly cool taking a few hundred piranhas down with him.

Random note: hilariously awesomely bad scenes involving a chewed up severed penis. I can only imagine how it would have looked in 3-D.

Another random note: Main character Jake took his dear time rescuing his love interest Kelly from certain death. A good 10 minutes or more of screentime passed before he got back to rescuing her, and really, she woulda been a goner in three minutes or less. It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie…

Third and final random note: Christopher Lloyd, I dunno whether to love or despise your exposition heavy cameo. I think I’ll fall under the category of lovin’ it. Now please pick a more substantial role…

The final word: PIRANHA isn’t as good as it could be, but it’s still fun mindless entertainment for 88 minutes. Breasts, blood, piranhas – a good movie for a laid-back night. The film abruptly concludes with a promise for a sequel, which is already in development under the working title PIRANHA 3 DD, but I frankly felt a little cheated, wanting more out of the expenses given for so little received. One of the few ‘horror’ films that could have benefited from a longer running time. Truth is, I’m putting more thought into critiquing the film than the producers put into making it, so I’ll just leave at this: rent it, turn the brain power off, sit back, and enjoy.

And peoples of the blogosphere who saw this movie: correct me if I'm wrong, did that shot above actually happen in the movie? I remember looking out for it specifically after seeing it a few thousand times in the trailer, and frak if I actually saw the frame grace the screen. Best I can think, it happens near the end when non-boyfriend guy is rescuing her, but I don't believe Aja used this specific angle...Please leave comments below.


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