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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2011

ARTICLE INDEX
"Piranha" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-february-2011-piranha

Synopsis

It's Jaws meets Girls Gone Wild, as an underwater earthquake releases thousands of hungry prehistoric piranhas into Lake Victoria during Spring Break. Can the sheriff (Elizabeth Shue) and her deputy (Ving Rhames) convince the unruly college kids to get out of the water in time before they all become fish food? A re-make of an 80's "classic", Piranha provides an amalgam of sex, drugs, rock-n-roll...and lots of gore. This is not a movie for the kids on a Saturday afternoon, but can be entertaining for the more mature horror fans that take their fright with a wink.

Specifications

  • Sony Pictures
  • 2011, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 29 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Codec:  MPEG-4 AVC
  • 1080p
  • DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Christopher Lloyd
  • Directed by: Alejandre Aja
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

A re-make of Joe Dante's 1978 original and the excesses of '80s genre films in general, is a fool's errand; it is, after all, a movie about prehistoric fish preying on hormonal partygoers in various states of undress. Was I disappointed with Piranha? Not really. I knew what to expect (after the first 10 minutes, I knew who was going to get chomped). Should you expect high art from this movie? Not at all. But you should expect to have some fun watching it. The movie is a parody afterall and the excessive gore and nudity are just heightened examples of “Don’t take this too seriously, folks’! The thin plot is bolstered by some fun characters: Christopher Lloyd and Richard Dreyfuss in particular, though Dreyfuss only appears briefly for the first few minutes. Perhaps this was Dreyfuss’ nod to Jaws? Lloyd was cast as the professor character (Ala Back to the Future) that declares the fish are from the distant past. Like, we needed to be told that? Rhames goes out in style too, with a outboard motor as his weapon of choice. Anyway, this is a rental, at best. I wouldn’t want to watch it more than once, let alone in 3D.

Technical

As silly as the movie was, the picture quality was very good, especially when considering the harsh sunlight shots. The CGI is certainly not very convincing (the whirlpool and Dreyfuss' scene in particular), but the gore effects are delightfully over the top. I did not see this in 3D, but I can imagine what that would have been like. Details are sharp and the blood is “in your face”. The sound was very good, too. Underwater ambiance and surround sounds swirl around you and the bass heavy music propels the movie right along.

Extras

PS3 Wallpaper, Filmmaker Commentary, Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Welcome to Piranha, Deleted Storyboard Sequences, Piranha 3D Trailer and TV Spots.