Saturday 12 May 2012

Piranha 3DD

Storm In A DD-Cup

Piranha 3DD USA 2012
Directed by John Gulager
Now showing in UK cinemas.

Wow. I really don’t get it.

This movie is not the film it needed to be... and is not what I was expecting for a sequel to the previous successful franchise relaunch either, for that matter.

It’s funny... up until a few weeks ago, I’d never seen any of the Piranha movies and never really had any desire to either. But then I saw the cinema trailer to this one and it made this look like a really fun movie. I knew that the original movies had been kind of revered by legions of fans over the years (which is kind of understandable since they’ve got directors like Joe Dante and James Cameron involved with them) and I figured, what the heck, I might as well check these movies out sometime soon, especially if I want to catch the new one in cinemas.

So the last few weeks I’ve been watching the previous four movies Piranha, Piranha 2: Flying Killers, Piranhas and, finally, Piranha 3D and reviewed them here on this blog before the first movie hit the cinemas. Since these reviews have come out quicker than I’d anticipated releasing them, I’ve rushed to get the movie reviews for these ones up on my blog before I write this review on the weekend of this film’s release.

So now it comes to it, the first thing that I have to say about this is that it’s nowhere near as fun as the trailer makes it out to be. Nor is it, and I’m hesitant to say this because I really didn’t like the last one very much, a worthy or even lively sequel to the shenanigans going on in the previous movie, which is where a few of the troubles with this one begin.

Set in a completely different place to the previous film, this one has very few familiar faces back from Piranha 3D... just cameo roles, really, in the form of Ving Rhames' police man (who lost his legs fighting off piranhas in the last film), his beach friend from the last one, and, of course, Christopher Lloyd, again taking the role of the “fish expert” from the previous film (although his character’s wife doesn’t seem to have been asked to come back). Then, of course, there are the piranhas themselves. The previous film had a visual punchline to the movie which took place in literally the final second or two of the final shot of the movie... when Christopher Lloyd tells the main protagonist that the piranhas they’ve been fighting are just the babys and a giant piranha whizzes over the boat and takes one of the central characters into the water with it for a snack. With this ready made set up for a sequel, I was expecting this thread of parental, giant piranha to at least get a mention, but this movie just ignores it and settles for piranha that have got confused and used the drains and water system to migrate into another small town without being noticed... well okay, they are noticed as soon as they start eating people but, since a brand new water park which connects to these same water systems is about to have its opening ceremony, the usual “you’re not closing the park” kind of conversational clichés apply.

There are some major things wrong with this film though. I wonder if it had enough budget because, honestly, even the so-called set pieces happen, more often than not, when there just aren’t that many people around to take part in them. It’s like the film is always pausing to add a new piece of fish chaos without actually flowing along visually with the bigger picture. Sure these sequences make sense and contribute a little (very little) to the advancement of what passes for a story in this one... but they still seemed to be disjointed and confused as to their intention in some sequences... that is to say, many of these sequences seem quite superfluous in their contribution to main narrative and also, I have to say, seem quite unenthusiastic in their execution. I certainly wasn’t engulfed in a wave of energy and fun on this one.

Another terrible thing about this movie is that, after a pure genius title like this which plays around with women’s bust measurements as part of its promotional identity, there is really not much nudity in it compared, even, to other movies in the series. So I did feel a bit like the final product was unrealistically represented by the marketing.

One, small, ray of light is that The Hoff is in it. Yep, David Hasselhoff is in here playing himself and doing lots of riffs and jokes regarding his time served on Baywatch, and he was kinda amusing in this because he seems to be taking himself much less than seriously than you might expect. Personally I’ve never seen an episode so I didn’t really get a lot of the jokes but some people in the audience who saw this were laughing along with him so I’m not ruling out the allure of Hasselhoff. In fact, Hasselhoff fans would do well to stay considerably into the end credits as there are a lot of outtakes and general tom-foolery taking place while the final credits roll.

And there are a lot of “credit breaks” in this movie.

Another good thing about this is that there is a main female protagonist who positively shines in regards to any other players in the movie and this, coupled with a much less objectifying or misogynistic set of characters in their attitude towards women, means that you actually feel some sympathy, or at least empathy, with some of the characters.

There’s also some semi-inventive violence again... although it does, to be fair, seem more tacked on there in a rather more blatant and less subtle way than I found it to be in the previous movie... although it irks me to say the previous movie was, in any way, subtle about anything, to be perfectly honest with you. The majority of the carnage takes place in a small water park and when the camera finally cranes up to take in the dead on the final “field of battle”... I was quite surprised how unimpressive it all looked and, lets face it, seriously underwhelming... like the purse strings had been cut sometime after funding had been promised or something similar. I’d hate to think there was no reason for this blatant disregard for an impressive climax to the movie (despite a nice ending shot of fish-induced decapitation).

Out of the five Piranha movies I’ve watched over the last few weeks, I can honestly say that I can’t find much to recommend in any of them. This one is, especially, quite lame and I expect, if it didn’t have the gimmicky title and the gimmicky process to match it, that it would perhaps have wound up as a straight to DVD release under any other circumstances. This film was not a fun watch and I think I’ve had my fill of trashy fish-monsters for a while.* Time to get on to some better quality movies as a counter balance. I need more Kurosawa in my life... I’ll sort it out.

*Coming sometime soon.... my review of The Alligator People!


  1. Can you talk more about how it objectifies women less? Since I haven't seen it, all I know is it's called Piranha 3DD, and the posters don't exactly break the mold, soooo....not so sure about that.

    I'm down to watch at least a couple of these, though, for sure.

  2. Hi there,

    Thanks for reading.

    Yeah... let's just say that the previous movie was full of the objectification of women and was quite nasty in its derogatory attitude from almost ALL the male characters. This one only has that attitude from one male character who is clearly the "bad guy" and the scenes relating to the poster art (and they don't relate very closely) are limited to maybe less than ten mins of screen time very early on.

    You're right, the posters and marketing on this one don't break the mold... what I'm saying is, if you're looking for the kind of movie that's being advertised then you'll only be happy for about five minutes of screen time. This is, in my opinion, very mis-representational marketing for this particular product. Compare this to the previous film and the experience is quite different. These posters would have been perfect for the last one.

    Again, thanks for reading and thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment. Much appreciated.

  3. Wow. I started out with "You've got to be kidding," and by the end, I was seeing these as a filmic sociopolitical statement on the human condition. But isn't that the case with schlocky genre flicks? I think they really do describe the general tone of the era: women are boobs; men are the framers of moveigoers' perception (and they look at boobs), and random things happen like giant flying piranhas take out characters in the midst of dialogue. Wow. Thank you again for seeing these films so I don't have to!

  4. Ha! Thanks for dropping by again.

    Yeah, that's quite alright. You really don't have to... I don't know why they've become so legendary in their time, asides from the directors of the first two for curiosity value I'm guessing.

    Thank you so much for your continued support. It means a lot to me.