Monday, 11 June 2012

Piranha 3DD Movie Review

Piranha 3DD Movie Review


2012, directed by John Gulager


Reviewed by Tim. S

About two thirds into the film, David Hasselhoff says to himself “Welcome to rock bottom” just before announcing the opening of the fictional, and ill-fated ‘Big Wet’ water park. This tongue-in-cheek quip not only illustrates the general feeling of watching this film, the ensuing chaos further illustrates the dismal train-wreck this rebooted franchise has become.

Tastelessness is a consistent theme through the film, and it ends up leaving a more of a sour taste in your mouth as you go through the film. The first film was notorious for its graphic depictions of dismemberment and death, where as this time around the violence is somewhat toned down, while the sex dial has been cranked to 11, and it only hurts itself in the process.

When your film's only redeeming quality is gratuitous toplessness, you're in trouble

The film plays out in a highly predictable fashion, and doesn’t leave much to the imagination. However, where horror films challenge our expectations, this film instead gives us jarringly inconsistent queues of poor taste humour spliced in with the unfolding carnage. It just leaves you feeling uncomfortable more than anything else.

A sequel to Piranha 3D? Great Scott!

The film is plagued with numerous technical inconsistencies and improbabilities; though if I bitched and moaned about every film’s inconsistencies with physics and human anatomy I’d never stop, so here are a few of what I considered to be this film’s worst offences:

A scene involving one of the couples’s skinny dipping in the lake; the girl (who was previously revealed to be a virgin) feels something touching her lower body, and assumes it’s her boyfriend. We’re shown through underwater shots that in fact juvenile piranhas are circling her. We see one making a rapid dash towards her vagina, and she displays a sense of unease and discomfort, and promptly leaves the water. It’s unclear exactly what’s happening here, but later on when she’s having sex for the first time with her boyfriend, she displays signs of increasing discomfort as we see something moving in her abdomen, only moments later to have her lover withdraw his penis in agony as he reveals at least six inches of piranha with its teeth firmly gripped over his junk. I couldn’t figure out exactly how she didn’t notice six inches of spiny, prehistoric carnivorous sea life writhing uncontrollably in untouched territory. Maybe that’s just how she imagined sex the first time would be, whatever.

I was confused as to whether this was intended as slight against her implicitly cavernous reproductive organs, or whether the piranhas had some fascination with mammalian gestation and reproduction routines. It’s never explained in any sense exactly WHY the fish chose to inhabit her nether regions, or how it even survived there for as long as it did without any oxygen. I felt that this scene could have functioned well as a plot device to have the kooky marine biologist (Christopher Lloyd) make some wacky explanation about their extraordinary adaptability to survive in any condition, but instead the scene is just passed off as a cheap vagina dentata shock moment, which felt really strange to me since the very opening of the film depicts a sort of intra-orifice gestation of piranha larvae within a floating bovine carcass. The opportunity was right there to push the scientific explanations, but I’m giving this film too much credit just by considering that possibility.

This gross anatomical inaccuracy was almost enough to make me leave this film right there. Not because I’m worried that one day when I’m getting cozy with my lady I’m going to get my junk bitten off, but because it essentially illustrated what’s wrong with so much of modern films and television; shock for the sake of shock, and breasts for the sake of breasts.

Getting people wet is hard work when it's not the wet season

The other plot point about piranhas entering the pool through a well pump also makes no sense; any pump of industrial capacity would be fitted with numerous filters, as you’d be collecting much more than just water- what about all the earth matter that’d get sucked through the system? It’d clog and stop working pretty damn quick without some kind of filtration system, but of course being that logical would ruin the entire premise of the film.

There seem to be unclear definitions of the relative size and density of the piranhas; one scene depicts them destroying timber planks of a jetty occupied by two girls, while another scene depicts one breaking through, of all things, the concrete lining of the pool. Exactly what the piranha was doing embedded in solid concrete is beyond me, but after that I half-expected to see a piranha erupting out of their car stereo on the drive home. Oddly enough, the piranha is strong enough to break concrete with its bare face, yet when male protagonist Barry hurls his flimsy trash collecting stick at the large, spiny fish, its head is penetrated instantly. Probably the worst scene for defying the accepted laws of locomotion and biophysical movement was the final scene showing a child, filming an near still piranha approaching on land, to getting decapitated by it leaping forwards and gaining apparent light-speed velocity (yeah, I’m aware of how stupid this all sounds too). It just… doesn’t happen.

Sadly they don't look much better than they did in the first film either

I’m not fazed by blood spraying everywhere, or giant bouncing breasts filling the screen, as long as there’s at least a semi plausible reason as to why it’s all happening. Rambo (2008) was one of the most graphically violent films of recent years, and for good reason- the film is a war movie illustrating the horrors of life under the crushing iron fist of the Burmese military junta. We don’t watch that movie expecting a nice, sanitized cakewalk. We know going into it that we’re going to see some of the most disturbing, anatomically accurate dismemberment and disembowelment that cinema can bring, for the purposes of illustrating the ongoing problems in Myanmar.

You might also expect to see some cleavage or breasts in a screwball teen comedy, usually to illustrate the singular focus of the bumbling male protagonists. Speaking of breasts… There’s loads of breasts in this movie. Like, heaps. You won’t get a shot of the water park without catching an eyeful of some woman’s inflated assets, more often completely exposed than not. Hell, there’s even several shots of full frontal nudity to top it all off too. You’d think this film was conceived by socially awkward adolescent males. 

This publication is not set to 18+ so some of these picturess are censored. But you all have imaginations anyway.

Now, I’m not a prude and I’m not offended by this, but compared to the first film, it’s just absurd. It almost feels like an afterthought, as if the crew watched a rough cut of the movie and thought “God this is awful, better add a whole lot of tits and maybe people will like it.” At least in the first film, the provocatively presented women functioned as an illustration of both the hedonistic nature of the lake setting, and as a means of characterizing the eccentric pornographer character. 

Boobs. Your argument is invalid
What the first film was in gore porn, this film is in actual porn. There’s just nudity for the sake of nudity this time around, and it cheapens the film to a new low. The gore is actually toned down this time around- it doesn’t focus on the minutia of gory injuries and dismemberment like the first film did, instead opting to show the overall larger spectrum of injury and death.

A little late for CPR, buddy.
The film is also plagued by highly ineffectual, weak characters; it’s hard to tell if you’re meant to care about any of them. Coupled with the ridiculously similar-looking male and female cast of beach-perfect bodies, peroxide hair and absurd pretty-boy/beach babe features makes you feel like you’re watching that episode of Beverly Hills 90210 where they all go to the summer wonderland and get attacked by killer fish.

The character of the sleazy stepfather isn’t even remotely likeable, nor does the film make any attempt to cast him in any other light than a one-dimensional sleazebag. A standard trope for a character like this is for them to have some mildly redeeming quality, or at least in the throes of death to bequeath their final lamentations “…I only wanted what’s best for you Becky, nothing else.” *Choke* *Gasp* *Dead*. However he’s constructed as a one-dimensional selfish douche whose unceremonious decapitation reveals that he seemed to suffer from some kind of congenital defect in his cardiovascular system, resulting in 90% of his bodies’ blood volume collecting in his neck, judging by the ridiculous quantity of red stuff. Even if he hadn’t died here, its unclear how much longer he’d have lived with this crippling disorder. But it’s not even over yet- his disembodied head is catapulted right into the loving bosom of… bosoms. Yep, a pair of big ol’ breasts catches his disembodied head, which promptly enjoys one hell of a motorboating before being thrown into a pool of piranhas- a woman may or may not have been attached to said breasts.

This picture actually sums up the movie if you think about it. Or don't.

 Coupled with the generally unlikable characters, the casting leaves something to be desired; there’s a lack of A-list talent in the film, with the most well-known names (Christopher Lloyd and David Hasselhoff) being relegated to minor, or insignificant roles. Having said that, it was great to see Christopher Lloyd back and playing another kooky scientific character; these types of roles just fit him so naturally. David Hasselhoff on the other hand felt extremely awkward, playing a parody of himself in a horror comedy with the chaos unfolding makes you unsure of exactly what you’re watching- Are you meant to laugh or be shocked?

Decapitation's never been funnier.

Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames) returns from the first film, as does the camera man from the pornography set. However they only receive a minor role. It was great to see some returning cast from the first film, though it would have been far more poignant to follow their journey, both through the psychological trauma following the events of the first film, and what brings them back to the scene of the unfolding chaos. However, I think I’m giving this reboot franchise too much credit for potential character development, especially with a title like ‘Piranha 3DD’, Gulager’s clearly not a stickler for subtlety.
In conclusion, is it worth seeing? I wouldn’t say so. However, it does give me a new appreciation of the first film- that movie actually looks half decent when compared to its train-wreck of a sequel. Plagued by logical flaws, sub-par visuals, unsatisfying casting and tacky special effects, I’d say you’re not missing anything. I think my favourite part of the film would be the blooper reel during the credits; you get a sense of just how ridiculous the actors think the film is. If you want to see loads of breasts, the internet has you covered. If you want to see blood and guts, watch the first film.