Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Severe Case of Remakeitis: PIRANHA 3D (2010)

Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezus!! "Suck" is just not a strong enough word. This movie is hooooooorible! Man, how do you screw up prehistoric piranhas attacking people in 3D? No, seriously, the only way this should suck is if you are Leonard Maltin and Tipper Gore on a movie date. Nekkid chicks and flesh-eatin' fish? Sign me up! Yeah, I know, I am a remake hater, but I am also a 3D horror movie lover. forget the whole "remake" thing, it's just a crap movie made cynically by untalented people. FINAL DIMENSION 3D was a crap formulaic movie with tons of CG effects yet it was so much fun. The 3D was flawlessly executed and the action started immediately and never let up, even the credit sequence was jaw-droppingly cool in 3D. That's all I asked from this movie, nothing more, and it failed miserably.

Every character is totally annoying and the acting sucks on all fronts. The basic plot concerns a meek teenage boy (Steven R. McQueen, yes, he's related) who is supposed to be babysitting his two precocious-as-fuck kiddie siblings, who have a huge amount of ridiculously complex "comic" dialog that no children would ever utter, and gets hired by a Girls Gone Wild clone producer to take them to the lake's "hotspots". This is after a seismic quake has opened a rift in the bottom of the lake allowing prehistoric piranha to escape. Whatever. I find the Wild Wild Girls angle to be pretty annoying as it's been done already and it was never very clever to begin with. I was over it back when HATCHET (2006) came out, it's numbingly dull plot and characters paving the way for this.

Christopher Lloyd's bit part as an aquarium store owner that knows way too much about prehistoric fish (including being in possession of an actual fossil of the exact species of carnivorous fish that has just been re-discovered), proves that aging gracefully is certainly not something he is prepared to do. Same with Richard Dreyfuss... I knew I was in trouble when the opening sequence has him drinking Amity Island Beer and singing along to the radio playing "I had a little drink about an hour ago". They spend so much time playing the song and featuring close ups of the bottle (including a looooong sequence as it falls to the bottom of the lake), I almost yelled in the theater "Ok! Ok! I GET IT already! Stop hitting me!" Ving Rhames has a thankless bit part as a deputy sheriff who attacks the piranha with an outboard motor. The sequence was (like everything else) SO badly done that it just magnified what a stupid idea it was to begin with.

I hate to admit this, but the thing that got old really fast was the endless footage of chicks in bikinis. I know, you are thinking I've thrown a freakin' rod, but damn! After the first freaking HOUR of what was quite literally an 75 minute episode of MTVs BEACH PARTY (with about 13 minutes of alleged "horror" movie), I was so over it. There were points where I was beginning to wonder why the movie was titled PIRANHA and not DJ CHOCOLATE THUNDER'S SPRING BREAK (yeah, there is a DJ "character" named Chocolate Thunder, I couldn't make that shit up). And if that wasn't bad enough, who the hell made Jerry O'Connell the star of the freakin' movie, and WHY!? When it wasn't the longest Bud Light commercial ever, it was non-stop Jerry O'Connell over-acting to the point where I was praying for him to get killed quickly. No such luck, his inane scenes go on and on and when he finally DOES get killed it's the lamest sequence ever. In what is supposed to be a "funny" sequence, he whines "they got my penis... they got my penis!" Then they show his severed penis floating through the water and a piranha wolfing it down whole, then swimming back on screen to belching it up into the faces of the audience. Damn, I didn't realize this was a Lloyd Kauffman production.

I didn't have a problem with the non-stop gore at the end of the film (is it too much to ask to have it spread out a bit?), but I did have a problem with how ineptly it was staged. No style, no atmosphere, just flat, floodlit shots that felt like the director, Alexandre Aja (responsible for 2003s ridiculously over-rated HAUTE TENSION), was just shrugging his shoulders and saying "ok, there's your gore *yawn*". The SyFy Channel horror movies show more panache than this heap. Most of the gore effects were so flat and uninterestingly delivered that they didn't have any shock value and looked like the rubbery stuff that you used to see advertised in the pages of Fangoria magazine back in the '80s. On the other hand, I did think the CGI piranhas actually looked pretty cool, but if you don't do anything cool with them...

The final nail in coffin is the non-event of the 3D effects. They sucked ass. Most of the time they didn't work. There were weird digital halos and flickering around people and objects, and there were some layering issues where some things that are supposed to be in the back ground appear in the foreground and vice-versa. Nothing comes out of the screen, there is just a little bit of depth in some scenes. This is simply inexcusable. If FINAL DIMENSION 3D can crack it out of the park with no plot and stupid characters, there is no reason, other than a complete lack of talent, intelligence and ambition, for this movie to blow it so badly.

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