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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Piranha 3D (2010) - Horror (monster)

Piranha 3D (2010) - Its 1975 and a little known director named Steven Spielberg created a little film called Jaws that changed how we looked at the ocean. He reinvented the horror that lay under those calm waters and since everyone must pay tribute to him for that. Piranha 3D does just that in the opening scene. Fisherman Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfus), with the same character name as in Jaws (1975), has the honor of being the first victim of the prehistoric looking fish released from an underground lake to the surface lake after an earthquake. Viewers know from this point on that this film is exactly what it should be, a campy monster flick that does gore well and does not take itself too seriously. Unlike the unrelated original Piranha (1978) this is not a comment on environmental pollution but instead, with tongue firmly in cheek a fun romp of gore and survival.
As the credits role we meet some of the players, Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) sheriff of Lake Victoria, a hot spring break site that deals with thousands of college partiers each year. Jake Forester (Steven R. McQueen) the mousey son of Julie who has one job this week, to baby sit his younger siblings Laura(Brooklynn Proulx) and Zane (Sage Ryan). Kelly (Jessica Szohr) Jake's love interest if he could do more than quietly stare at her before the film is over. Derrik Jones (Jerry O'Connell) as the high strung director of "Wild Wild Girl" films who highers Jake to lead him around the lake.
Jake takes the time to look at the Wild Wild Girls website, and the lovely women who he will see in person, Crystal (Riley Steele) and Danni (Kelly Brook) and of course his Mom walks in and catches him. She is appreciative of him watching the younger kids while she works nonstop during the week. So good guy Jake has a dilemma does he stay with the kids or take the bait and go on an adventure with porn stars? What would you do?
Julie and Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames) investigate the boat of Matt Hooper in a character developing scene, they find his body and now know something is not right in the lake. They don't know what but like in Jaws, when Amity would not close the beach on the biggest tourist weekend there is financial pressure not to close the lake.
Jake works out with the kids to stay in the house while he goes riding out with Derrick and his lovelies. Running into Kelly at the peer the intermittent connection they have is on long enough for Derrick to invite her along for the day. The movie moves along as you would expect, with a fish attack her and there in isolated places so you know the threat is growing, while the Jake, Kelly storyline is developed with the antagonist Derrick pushing their buttons. On location we have a scene with nude girls Crystal and Danni being filmed swimming together underwater in 3D for like 90 seconds while the soundtrack plays opera. Life could not be better for young Jake. Of course it can't last and the kids do not stay in the house, nor do they stay off the lake and after a canoe ride are stranded on a small lake island. Every time either kid puts a foot in the water there are great underwater shots of what could be the piranha closing in. Will one of the kids be eaten?
While this is going on a team of Seismologists arrive to investigate the earthquake. Lead by Novak (Adam Scott) they are lead out onto the lake by Sheriff Forester, two members of the team will be the bait, I mean divers who will investigate the new rift in the lake. This sequence although some nice 3D effects going down is exactly what you expect. When the sheriff and Novak pull the second diver eaten from the water they capture a fish and now know something is more amiss than previously thought.
Jake and Kelly continue their almost flirtation with some drinking games but unfortunately before Jake can make a move Kelly gets sick from all the booze she drank.
Julie brings the captured fish to Mr. Goodman (Christopher Lloyd) doing his best Dr. Emmett Brown impression and fills the audience and the sheriff in on the 2 million year old species of piranha they have captured. He is the exposition for the movie so we all known how these fish act. Now that we are all up to speed we can get on with the killing.
Para sailing topless seems to be an in thing for lake partying and gratuitous boob shots the in thing for this movie. (Thanks Gianna Michaels) We get the great scene where the kids in the boat notice too late that Para sailing girl is screaming not cheering and then the great gore shot that follows. Jake now filming this for the coke snorting Derrick misses the money shot when he sees his siblings on the island. After getting pissy with Derrick and using the My Mom's the Sheriff card he gets Derrick to go pick them up. Unfortunately the boat gets stuck in some reeds as they try to pull away to take the kids home and after Derrick gets retaahded (stupid and coked out) the boat hits some rocks smashing the glass bottom and begins to sink.
At the same time the sheriff's department is attempt to get everyone out of the lake. Yeah several hundred mostly undressed partying college students on boats and watching wet T-shirt contests are going to listen when one guy with a bull horn yells 'Everybody out of the pool.' Quite the opposite and we are witness to a great and I mean great attack scene that makes the Amity beach scene from Jaws look like kids playing in a kiddie pool. The piranha attack and chaos and ore effects flow as free as the fake blood. It doesn't just start and subside it continues minute after minute bring the body count up. When Deputy Fallon finally falls while chopping fish with the propeller of the outboard he is holding we see the campiest carnage. ( I loved the twitching kid behind the grieving deputy in the boat)
As this scene winds down Julie gets a call from Jake and learns all is not well on the home front. She immediately heads to save her family. On the sinking boat, Kelly is trapped below as water flows in and help arrives. Still how will Jake save the day, who will live and who will die. It does not take long to find out. Of course there are the ridiculous solutions and decisions but Jake being the protagonist comes up with a plan to execute to save his girl and blow a good portion of the fish to pieces.
Silly as the end scenes are they fit into this playful movie perfectly. You get exactly what you was expecting from this film, as long as Oscars are not what you are expecting. Being rated R is a good thing for this just for the gore effects. There is really no subtext in this film other than the message that when you are missing out on spring break, and lie to participate, you could die. Or responsibility ignored could cost you your life. the 3D could have been designed more, it was there but did not take full advantage of the technology. There are some good shots but it was mostly background noise. The script was so predictable it was great, no surprises at all just the standard approach to get to the effects. Just the kind of crap this reviewer likes.
Rating (7.1) In Zombiegrrlz rating, Go See it in Theaters unless you like campy bad-ish monster movies, 3D not essential. Ratings of 5.0 and above are recommended.

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