Monday, August 23, 2010

MOVIE OF THE MOMENT: PIRANHA 3D


In this dog day heat, if you were in a multiplex over the weekend, the only rational choice was a cool swim in the refreshing waters of Lake Victoria, where spring break has just sprung. (Yes, it’s the end of summer, but stick with me.) Lots of brewskis, oiled-up, barely clad hotties everywhere, nonstop tunes— And, oh, yeah, if you do decide to take a dip, you might just come out a few pounds lighter, if you come out at all. Because the lake has just been stocked with a particularly vicious variety of prehistoric piranha, and they are hungry for human flesh after millions of years of self-cannibalizing in order to survive. Director Alexandre Aja’s giddy, over-the-top Piranha 3D, a remake of Joe Dante’s drive-in-era (1978) knock-off of Jaws, gets the exploitation spirit exactly right, summoning the spirit of Dante and even throwing in a little Russ Meyer to keep things humming before the body parts really start flying. The 3D image isn’t as clear as it should be (the movie was converted in post-production), but it’s still fun to see what pieces of the unfortunate extras get shorn and then spit back out at the audience. Aja also has a game cast (Elizabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Jerry O’Connell, Adam Scott and Christopher Lloyd, among others) who make sure the feeding of all those girls and boys gone wild to a pack of very hungry, nasty, meat-eating pescados is as much silly, gory fun as it could possibly be. You can read my full-length review of Piranha 3D right now at Bullz-Eye. Mangia!

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7 comments:

Dave S said...

Dennis - SO much looking forward to seeing this tonight. Your review and comments have increased my anticipation! Also looking forward to Jackass 3-D! After so many crappy neo-3-D flicks, is the third generation version of 3-D finally settling into what it was intended to be?!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I hope so, Dave. The best 3-D films this year so far have been animation (How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3, Despicable Me), but so many others that use it don't use it creatively-- most big action blockbusters aren't appreciably helped by the process, and Clash of the Titans may have even been hurt by it. And then there are those movies that get converted afterward. Sometimes it works-- as in most (but not all) of Piranha 3D, and sometimes it just lays there and all you get is a dimmed image for your extra admission. There have been so many trailers for movies that are coming out in 3D-- animation, comedies, whatever-- but they all seem like they are creatively processing the technology in the same way, to the same ends. Those ends are eventually gonna get boring and maybe get rejected by the ticket-buying public. (I was so glad my kids and I saw the Cats and Dogs sequel at a drive-in, thereby avoiding 3D-induced annoyance AND the exorbitant admission cost.)

The two 3D movies I'm most excited about this fall are, of course, Jackass 3D and, even though its distribution is likely not going to be on the scale it deserves, Joe Dante's The Hole. If anyone can show us how to shoot a 3D movie and use it, as Matt Seitz suggested in a recent article, in a more intimate, character-oriented setting while at the same time maximizing its effectiveness as a tool of exploitation, it's Dante. With any luck, these two movies will at least demonstrate that there is more room under the 3-D circus tent than for just bouncing ping-pong balls and (admittedly brilliant) animation.

Dave S said...

You're right, Dennis. I hope I/we all get a chance to see Dante's film in 3-D. You know, the two films that I most enjoyed seeing in 3-D on the big screen were Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D (Oh why didn't I keep those cool glasses with Jason's hand shoving a poker though one end and out the other?!) because, silly movie though it was, it had no pretense of being anything other than an excuse to shove things in the audience face. The other was Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder where it was used to implicate the audience and actually generate suspense. I can easily recall the odd feeling I got as the camera slid behind the curtain in that added dimension, connecting the audience with the supposed killer who is lying in wait for Grace Kelly to answer the phone. Chilly, I tells ya!

Flickhead said...

Dennis, for what it's worth, my two cents on the fishy flick.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Flickhead, if you're after my heart, it's yours! (Nice choice of image to lead of with too!) But what about these parents who are so selfish that they can't either spring for a baby-sitter or at least wait until DVD. God, I can't imagine forcing my kids to watch this movie. But being the reasonably well-adjusted adult that I am, I sat, as you did, stunned, and kind of elated, that such a thing exists, especially when most horror movies these days are lacking imagination, humor, or both. I can't wait to see it again! Thanks for the link! Dave, check out that link to Flickhead's impressions-- you'll REALLY be looking forward to Piranha 3D after that!

And you know what, Dave-- I've never had the pleasure of viewing Dial M for Murder even flat, let alone in 3D. I gotta see it. I gotta see it. And thanks for the reminder about Friday the 13th Part 3 (in 3D). That was the only one of the 3D movies from that '80s revival (Comin' at Ya!) that was any good at all. Doesn't that poker go through the back of someone's head and get an eyeball impaled on it, which is then shoved toward our noses? That's quality cinema right there.

Don Mancini said...

Oh happy day: The Weinsteins just announced a sequel!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Don: I heard about that too! I also heard that the actors had so much fun on the first one that even the ones who ended up as chowder are trying to figure out a way to come back for the second course. Jerry O'Connell is welcome, for sure, as is the lovely Kelly Brook! I actually felt bad when she-- Well, I don't wanna spoil anything!