Wednesday, November 30, 2016
The Remake Comparison Project - Terror, horror, death. Film at 11.
Cody and Priscilla swim with the fishes to discuss Piranha (1978) and Piranha 3D (2010).
The United States just celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, which for some of us doubles as an endurance challenge as we strive to see how much food we can possibly eat. There will also be a lot of feasting going on during next month's holidays, so right in between these feasts Priscilla and I decided to cover Piranha and it's 3D remake/follow-up, films in which people become the food for voraciously hungry predators.
There is no surprise in the fact that legendary B-movie producer Roger Corman ended up making a cash-in on the 1975 Steven Spielberg-directed blockbuster hit Jaws, the only surprise is in the fact that it took three years for Corman's Piranha to follow Spielberg's Great White shark to the big screen.
A script for Piranha had been written by Richard Robinson before Corman got involved with it, and when that script ended up in Corman's hands and the project was set up at his company New World Pictures, the producer chose New World employee Joe Dante to bring Robinson's script to the screen. Dante had recently made his directorial debut with the New World spoof Hollywood Boulevard, which he co-directed with Allan Arkush, the duo building a comedy around stock footage from several Corman productions. Piranha would be Dante's first solo directing effort, and one which was built from the ground up - there was no stock footage to work from this time.
Dante wasn't particularly impressed with Robinson's script, and rather than just go with it he brought on screenwriter John Sayles, a future Academy Award nominee, to do a rewrite.
Corman has produced some great films, and he has produced a lot of bargain basement schlock. Hiring Dante to direct Piranha was a great choice, as it sounds like Dante was able to elevate the material he was given.
On the film's audio commentary, Dante says that things were overly complicated in Robinson's script because the writer tried too hard to present reasons for people to get into the piranha-infested water. Like writing in a forest fire simply to have the fire drive a bear out of the woods so the bear could chase some kids who have to jump into the water to escape from it. Sayles was brought on to simplify and improve.
Truth is, people really don't need strong reasons to go into the water, especially in horror movies. Even when the water doesn't look particularly decent, which is the case in a lot of scenes here.
The film begins at a military test site, where a young couple on a hiking trip ignore the "No Trespassing" sign on the fence surrounding the seemingly abandoned site and decide to go skinny-dipping in a pool on the property. Unfortunately for them, this pool turns out to be full of flesh-hungry piranha who proceed to eat the young couple alive.
Woods, camping, people making bad decisions... the opening sequence is right up my alley. Funny how David is all courageous at first, but is quick to have second thoughts. Nothing a half-naked girl can't change though.
There may have been Oscar nominations in Sayles' future, but he wasn't going for an Oscar with this film, and the opening is pure B horror movie greatness. Young hikers, skinny-dipping, these are classic horror elements.
The water is so dark, it looks dirty. I don't think I was ever as carefree as Barbara. There's no way I would've dove in. Then again, I wouldn't have wanted to break in, either.
Following the title sequence, Dante pays homage to the film he's cashing in on by introducing Maggie McKeown (Heather Menzies) as she's playing the Jaws arcade game. Maggie is a "skip tracer", hired to investigate the disappearance of those two young hikers in the vicinity of Lost River Lake in the town of Indian Springs.
I want to play it! And I have to say, I wonder how Maggie got the job to begin with, she does not seem very reliable or capable.
In her search, Maggie enlists the aid of a local - Bradford Dillman as down-on-his-luck alcoholic Paul Grogan, who lives like a hermit in his cabin in the woods. His best friend is an elderly fisherman named Jack (Keenan Wynn), who delivers the cornmeal and booze that he subsists on.
Maggie and Paul are an interesting pair of leads for a film to have. Maggie appears to be more confident than she is capable, Paul is a schlub with a troubled back story that is surprisingly important to the events of the film.
Paul is reluctant to help Maggie, but he's a push-over and before you know it he has taken her to a location that piqued her interest: the old military test site. The "No Trespassing" sign is no deterrent to Maggie, and after she finds evidence on the property that the hikers were indeed there, she becomes especially interested in the salt water pool - and she decides it needs to be drained so they can check the pool for the hikers' bodies.
Maggie jumps to conclusions very fast. The fact that she's so impulsive makes sense in the movie, but I'm surprised it didn't get her in trouble, or more trouble.
While Maggie and Paul look around the military test site, there are details that a lot of filmmakers probably would have left out - and given the fact that this was a relatively low budget production, it's a bit stunning that they're even in this one. I'm talking about the evidence of genetic experiments that are on display: a strange creature in a fish tank, another little monster (brought to life by stop-motion animation) walking around in the rooms. These things very easily could have been cut out, for budgetary reasons or if they were deemed a distraction. I'm glad they're in here, though, because they add a touch of oddness that I appreciate.
I would have definitely erased the weird, almost pet-like creature that is walking around while they're in the military test site. It changes the tone of the movie quite a bit. Not that it was downright serious before then, but now there's a blatant silliness about it, and I find it unnecessary.
With the flip of a switch, Maggie drains the pool into the nearby river, the water emptying out and leaving nothing behind but some debris and a skeleton that Paul guesses belonged to a dog. Scientist Dr. Robert Hoak (Kevin McCarthy) charged out of his hiding place and tried to stop Maggie from draining the pool, but he was too late.
Kevin McCarthy is always a welcome presence in any film, and that's something Joe Dante agreed with. This was the first of seven times Dante cast McCarthy in one of his projects.
And what do you know...he can actually pronounce the word "piranha" correctly.
Hoak is in the film to deliver exposition and serve as a doomsayer. He is so out of his mind when he first encounters Maggie and Paul that they are forced to restrain him, taking him back to Paul's cabin while they wait to take him to the police - for attempting to steal and crashing Maggie's rented Jeep - in the morning.
Passing the time, Maggie pries into Paul's personal life and he spills his sob story: the end of his ten year marriage, the loss of his job at a smelting plant when the place was closed down for killing the fish in the river with its pollution. He has a young daughter who lives with him, but she's currently at a summer camp down river.
Maggie seems to be trying to seduce Paul in this scene, although she does it in an awkward way. The movie implies that they sleep together, the novelization outright stated it, but I am baffled as to why she would want to sleep with this drunken nobody. There has been nothing appealing about him up to this point.
She doesn't seem to be very bright. I mean, the way the two of them meet is kind of crazy if you think about it. She walks into his house and makes him join her, just like that. I doubt that's part of what she should be doing for work, also she didn't even know Paul, he could've killed the two hikers for all she knew.
The next day, Maggie, Paul, and Hoak head down the river on a raft that Paul and his daughter Suzie (Shannon Collins) built after she read Huckleberry Finn. It's a raft they never tried out because Suzie is afraid of the water - and the "things" in it. This is a fear that is having a negative impact on her experience at Lost River Camp, since she can't bring herself to swim like the other kids do.
On the raft, Hoak displays his own fear of the water, and he tells Maggie and Paul about the piranha they unwittingly released when they drained the pool. As part of a government funded endeavor called Operation: Razorteeth, these piranha bred and mutated with radiation so they could survive in the cold water or warm, fresh water or salt. They were meant to be released into the rivers of Vietnam, but when the war ended the military tried to poison their creation. A few of the more mutated fish survived the poison, and Hoak has continued to nurture his monsters.
Movies like this tend to drop their killer creatures into unexpected locations and to give a reason for their excessive aggressive and hunger, and Piranha is no different. How well the explanations work is a case-by-case thing - sometimes they over complicate things, sometimes an explanation isn't needed at all. Jaws didn't have an explanation for why that shark wanted to feast on so many people. Weaponized piranha is kind of a goofy concept, but for this movie I can go along with it.
I'm okay with the explanation, and I don't even doubt that something like that could actually happen. Not exactly like it, but similar.
Hoak's story is proven true when the rafters come across the corpse of Paul's friend Jack, who bled to death after the piranha ate his legs to the bones. Then they come across a young boy who witnessed his father getting eaten while they were out fishing and is now trapped on their sinking, overturned canoe.
Lest you think Hoak is a villain for creating the piranha, it's he who dives into the river, against Paul's advice, to save the child. While the piranha tear into his flesh, Hoak is able to help the kid safely make it over from the canoe to the raft.
A noble move on Hoak's part, but I'm not entirely sure it was necessary.
I guess he was consumed by guilt, even though he didn't act like it at all.
Hoak is pulled back onto the raft, but doesn't live very long... and the blood seeping from his body is going between the boards of the raft, into its rope lashings. Hungry for more and attracted by the blood, the piranha start biting into those ropes. Maggie and Paul row the raft to the shore as it falls apart beneath them.
Even in a movie with stop-motion creatures, the fish chewing the lashing seems a bit far fetched to me, but it is a good idea for a moment of suspense. All set up by a Huckleberry Finn reference.
They were mutated after all.
The river flows down to a dam, which is opened every couple days to help sustain the water levels of Lost River Lake. The dam is due to be opened soon, adding a ticking clock element into the story. Paul is desperately trying to reach the dam before it opens and releases the piranha into the lake, giving the fish access to the people staying at a resort and to the summer camp kids.
With seconds to spare, Paul stops the dam from being opened and the military is called in. Soldiers roll into Indian Springs accompanied by horror genre icon Barbara Steele as Dr. Mengers, a former associate (and more) of Hoak's. Their plan for how to deal with the piranha is to dump poison into the river at the dam, where the piranha are now gathered.
Dr. Mengers is the only other person who can say "piranha" correctly.
Paul has a problem with this plan. Although he hasn't mentioned it before, his entire focus up to this point has been on stopping the piranha at the dam, he now reveals that there is another way for the fish to get into Lost River Lake. There's a stream they could swim up and fork off down a creek that feeds into the lake. It's this creek that the summer camp sits on.
Rather than listen to Paul and Maggie's concerns, Mengers and the soliders are only interested in covering up the piranha problem so the fish can be kept and used for some other future war, so our heroes are taken into custody. But not for long. Maggie distracts a guard (played by John Sayles) with by referencing Superman and flashing her breasts, allowing her and Paul to make their escape.
That was one of the easiest escapes ever.
She didn't even have to flash her breasts, but I think she wanted to.
Unfortunately, their freedom lasts for about as long as their initial captivity. When a local police officer catches them speeding on their way to the camp, he arrests them and locks them in jail, holding them until the military comes to pick them up.
There is another layer of corruption here as well. The smelting plant was purchased by the military. The military sold the property so a resort could be built in the area, and they still have stakes in the success of this resort, which is about to have its grand opening. They can't let the possibility of some piranha being in the water screw things up.
The original script may have been overly complicated in some aspects, but the finish film verges on being convoluted itself. There is a lot going on around this body of water. Military tests, smelting plant, summer camp, resort about to open. They could have done some picking and choosing here instead of putting them all in the movie.
I see where you're coming from, but I think it worked out fine this way.
Jaws had a human villain in the form of the smarmy Mayor who refuses to close the beaches of the island due to the shark attacks, allowing the 4th of July festivities to go forward as planned. Resulting in tragedy. Piranha has several human villains, and those not yet mentioned include Dante regular Dick Miller, a character actor whose working relationship with Corman already went back decades at this point, as Buck Gardner, the public face of the resort who ignores the warnings about piranha, and Paul Bartel as Mr. Dumont, the head counselor at Lost River Camp who antagonizes Suzie, trying to goad her into swimming and even mocking her for not receiving any letters from home.
But then again, why wasn't Paul writing to his daughter?
Exactly. I guess that in addition to being a drunk, he also wasn't a great father. Maggie knows how to pick them.
The fact that Dumont takes comic books away from the kids is enough to get him on my bad side.
We can be fairly certain that Paul is right about the piranha getting around the dam, so the remainder of the film focuses on establishing the locations they'll be terrorizing, the camp and the resort, and the characters who inhabit them. In addition to Dumont, we meet two other counselors who are much nicer to Suzie; Belinda Balaski as Betsy and Melody Thomas as Laura. Characters who almost take a midnight swim together before Dumont interrupts them.
There is a summer camp scene where Betsy is telling a campfire story, and I love the way Dante shot this, with the fire in the foreground and the giant full moon right over Betsy's shoulder. That's a shot that should be in a Friday the 13th movie.
It's a great shot. And Betsy doesn't seem to mind that she's terrorizing some of the kids.
Thanks to Maggie coming up with an escape plan that this time involves a little violence, she and Paul are able to get out of the jail, but they're not able to make it to the camp in time to stop the day's swimming activities. The piranha arrive, and it's little Suzie's chance to be a hero. She witnesses the attack from the shore, seeing that her peers are being chewed to pieces and the fish are gnawing on the inner tube that Betsy and Laura are in, threatening to dump the friendly counselors into the water. Suzie grabs an inflatable raft and rows out to save the older girls... But a little girl can only do so much.
How bad does it need to get for someone, anyone, to start screaming "get out of the water"??
Betsy's death may be my favorite in the film. It has an emotional weight to it, and again there is a great shot that Dante composed to focus on Belinda Balaski - that shot of Betsy slipping away from Suzie's reach and being pulled deeper and deeper into the water.
The camp couldn't be saved -
If you thought Spielberg having a kid die in Jaws was something, Dante one upped it by maiming and/or killing a bunch of kids in his movie.
Were any kids killed though? I got the impression Betsy was the only one.
- but there's still hope for the resort. Buck Gardner can't be reasoned with, though. So while people frolic in the lake for the grand opening, the piranha arrive in the lake and the fish have another feast. Amid the panic, there's even an explosive boat crash.
The lake looks nasty. The water looks anything but inviting, yet people don't seem to care.
Our heroes are coming off as being pretty ineffectual at this point. It's almost surprising that these events didn't happen in the opposite order: the resort is attacked, then they have to rush to try to save Suzie and her fellow campers. This movie has a bigger problem in mind, though.
The piranha have been contained to this river and lake so far, but since they're able to survive in both fresh and salt water, it's possible that they could move beyond the lake and get out into the world - out into the ocean. Paul hasn't been able to stop much so far, but this is something he is dedicated to stopping. To do so, he needs to go back to his former place of employment, the smelting plant, and access that fish-killing pollution within it.
This may be the only movie ever made where the viewer is meant to be rooting for deadly pollution to get dumped into a waterway.
Since the plant is flooded, this means Paul has to wrap a tow line around himself and swim into the building's control room. Maggie is left at the wheel the speedboat that Paul is tied off to, counting to 100. When she reaches 100, she needs to speed Paul out of there. Before he drowns. Before the piranha can eat him. And before the pollution can kill him.
This is probably my favorite part. It's extremely nerve-racking, and for a while you're pretty much convinced Paul can't possibly survive this.
This is another solid suspense sequence, especially once we start seeing the piranha chewing on Paul while he tries to release the pollution. While doing this and getting eaten alive, he also has to hold his breath for around three minutes.
Things seem to turn out about as well as you would expect, with the door being left wide open for a sequel.
Piranha is a rare Jaws cash-in film in that it's one that Spielberg himself saw and his enjoyed. It got his stamp of approval, and I can see why - while it's certainly a low budget B-movie affair, it's fun, has its own unique charm, and the quality is several notches above that of a lot of other movies of this type.
I love Piranha '78. It's not a movie I have watched too many times over the years, but it's one I thoroughly enjoy every time I do so. Even with the silliness, it manages to have a lot of suspenseful scenes and moments, and the pace is to my liking.
I can also see how the movie wouldn't work as well as it does if it had been in the hands of a director other than Dante. Even if that director had Sayles' rewrite to work from, they could have flubbed it. This movie is a jumble of story elements with two odd lead characters that don't seem to accomplish much. It could have been a mess, but Dante made it work.
Although the two main characters can't get anyone to believe them and don't exactly save the day, they are likeable, even if a little off at times.
I also love the fact that the only two characters who are able to pronounce piranha the way it should be are scientists. Makes sense that they'd be aware that there is a correct way to say the word, and it's not "pirana", if it was meant to sound that way, it wouldn't have the "h" there. The "nh" is a nasal phoneme that does not exist in English, but is a well known one to us Portuguese-speaking people, and it should not be ignored.
Dante even pulled it off despite the fact that the piranha effects aren't exactly mind-blowing. Special effects artist Rob Bottin did an admirable job for the budget, but the piranha are still just presented through shots of silhouettes moving in the water, quick cuts of fake fish being poked at actors, close-ups of sharp teeth. This could have looked quite cheesy, but the imagery is accompanied by something else that I think is what makes it effective - a sound effect of a weird noise that the piranha make. This noise is a bit unnerving to me, and thus the shots of the fish chowing down are unnerving.
I think the special effects work pretty well, I have no issues with them. The only thing that's cheesy is the creature at the military test site. And I think it's really clever that the piranhas are usually silent at first, and then they start making that noise. Very creepy.
Dante managed to make a horror cult classic with this film, and it's one that has had a place in my viewing rotation ever since I was a little kid. It was one of the films that helped contribute to making me just as scared of bodies of water and the things that lurk beneath the surface as little Suzie is. She didn't want to swim in that creek, and thanks to movies like Piranha, Jaws, and others, neither would I.
I love the water. Pools, the ocean... but I can't see why people would feel like going into that nasty lake, or even into the tank at the beginning. For me, water needs to be clear, if I can't see what's underneath at all, I don't feel like going in. As far as the movie goes, I think it's great. Lots of fun and interesting moments, gotta love that '70s score. I like Piranha '78 more and more every time I watch it.
PIRANHA 3D (2010)
In the thirty years between the release of Joe Dante's Piranha and when production began on its 3D remake, the Piranha property had been revisited a couple times - first in 1981 with James Cameron's ill-fated feature directorial debut Piranha II: The Spawning (in which the killer fish grow wings), and then again in 1995 with a made-for-TV remake that stuck very close to the original film's story. Neither of those films were very well received. Then Piranha 3D came along to revive the franchise with a bigger budget and a third dimension gimmick.
Piranha 3D director Alexandre Aja has directed or produced several remakes over the course of his career, including The Hills Have Eyes 2006 and Maniac 2012, but he doesn't consider them all to be remakes. Although his Piranha movie is officially a remake, Aja doesn't agree with that label - he considers it to be just another movie about piranhas, and there is some merit to his view, because the screenplay by Sorority Row writers Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger started off as an original spec script called Killer Fish. That script was purchased with the intention of turning it into a Piranha remake in 2005, at which time Chuck Russell (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, The Blob 1988) was attached to direct. Eventually Russell dropped out, Aja stepped in, and it was his "remake but not a remake" vision for the concept that made it to the screen.
Like Dante featuring the Jaws arcade game in his film, Aja's movie starts off with an acknowledgment that all of these movies owe their existence to Jaws. This acknowledgment comes in the form of a cameo: the first character we see is a beer-swilling fisherman played by Jaws co-star Richard Dreyfuss, where wardrobe similar to the clothes he wore as Matt Hooper in that film. As if that weren't enough, the beer is Amity brand and the fisherman is listening to - and singing along with - "Show Me the Way to Go Home" on the radio he has with him in his canoe.
With this cameo, Aja has me smiling within the first minute and a half of his movie.
Same here. Love it.
The fisherman's pleasant afternoon is disrupted when an earthquake hits, opening up a fissure at the bottom of the lake and creating a whirlpool that threatens to suck the fisherman and his boat down into the depths.
Aja gets kind of arty with the nature cutaways, particularly when he shows the effect the earthquake has on a couple of fighting scorpions. That's not something many directors would have included.
Falling into the water, the fisherman discovers that this fissure has also unleashed a school of large, hideous piranha from the underground waterway they had been inhabiting. These piranha proceed to tear Dreyfuss to pieces - and thus succeed where the Jaws shark failed.
Even though I love Richard Dreyfuss' cameo, the opening is too big for me. The CGI takes over in a not so effective way - CGI bottle, really? - and the whole thing becomes too over the top for my taste.
The opening kill out of the way, the film proceeds to establish the setting and characters. It's Spring Break in the small town of Lake Victoria, Arizona, a huge tourist destination for debaucherous college students this time of year. Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) has her hands full trying to keep these thousands of kids under control, so her own young children Laura and Zane (Brooklynn Proulx and Sage Ryan) have to be watched by her teenage son Jake (Steven R. McQueen, grandson of The Blob 1958 star Steve McQueen). The less-than-cool Jake has a crush on his longtime friend Kelly (Jessica Szohr), a college student who has come back home for Spring Break, but since Kelly is hanging out with other guys Jake is susceptible to falling in with pornographer Derrick Jones (Jerry O'Connell), who is assisted by Paul Scheer as Andrew and plans to take a boat out on the lake to shoot some Girls Gone Wild-style shenanigans with models Danni (Kelly Brook) and Crystal (Riley Steele, one of three actual porn stars in the cast).
Derrick asks Jake to guide him around to the best filming locations in Lake Victoria, and after being impressed by Danni and doing some research on Derrick's Wild Wild Girls website - research that is repeatedly interrupted by his mom -
A lot of guys who went through adolescence in the age of the internet will relate to what's going on in that scene.
This is a movie that was made with the male audience in mind.
- he decides to take the job and pay his younger siblings off so they won't tell Julie that he left them home alone.
While her kids are being disobedient, Julie is discovering that something is very wrong in Lake Victoria. When the fisherman's wife reports that he never came home, Julie and Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames) go out looking for him... and find what's left of his corpse. Julie considers closing the lake, but it doesn't seem feasible, especially not during Spring Break.
The second day in Lake Victoria begins with the piranha munching on a cliff diver.
Now that's more like it. The simplistic approach taken in his death scene is more appealing to me.
As thousands of partiers surround the lake, Jake wades through the crowd to join Derrick, Andrew, Danni, and Crystal on their boat... taking a moment to appreciate the show Danni and Crystal are putting on from the deck. A show that includes motorboating.
This production really managed to get the perfect extras for the Spring Break crowd scenes. There are a record breaking amount of douchey-looking dude-bros on display in this movie, many annoying the instant they appear on screen. The girls, they appear to be the type who would go for douchey-looking dude-bros. This is not a crowd I would want to be anywhere near.
Again, the movie is supposed to be for men's enjoyment. Tons of breast and butts on display for lingering amount of times.
Kelly, having been disappointed by the dude-bros she was hanging out with before, is on her own at the lake and catches Jake perving. And Derrick catches her talking to Jake. Seeing Kelly as a potential new model, Derrick invites her along and Kelly, noticing how Jake doesn't want her to come, agrees to get on the boat with them.
One of my favorite scenes happens right there when Derrick says "Jake's my boy!" because it reminds me of the same line said by Anthony Michael Hall in Sixteen Candles, which is one of my all-time favorites.
The entire Forester family goes out on the lake, although on three separate boats. While Jake is with Kelly and the pornographers, his younger siblings have decided to leave home in favor of fishing on the tiny Sand Island and Julie goes out on the water with a team of geologist divers who want to investigate the fissure that opened up in the lake bottom, connecting it with the subterranean lake.
When geologists Sam and Paula (Ricardo Chavira and Dina Meyer) dive down to explore the subterranean lake, they discover multiple stalks of eggs full of piranha just waiting to hatch... and multiple piranha that have already hatched. And they're hungry. As the divers are torn to pieces, a third geologist - Adam Scott as Novak - tries to rescue Paula, but only manages to pull her bloody corpse onto the boat. Along with a thrashing piranha.
I know the geologists lost some screen time, their introductory scene was cut, but it's still kind of surprising to see Dina Meyer show up in such a small role. We don't know anything about her character, and all we know about Sam is that he's a horndog.
Who isn't, in this movie?
I like the moment at the end of this piranha attack where we see a diver's eyeball floating in the water. After Friday the 13th Part III, any 3D horror movie really should have some kind of eyeball effect.
Alcohol flows non-stop on Derrick's boat, but Jake's good times are somewhat ruined by Kelly's presence, as he is disturbed to watch as she seems to fall under the spell of Derrick and the drinks. She doesn't get naked like Danni and Crystal do - and they are naked for an extended period of time, swimming beneath the glass-bottom boat - but she does do things Jake isn't comfortable with. Like licking tequila and salt off of Crystal's body and then kissing her.
Seems to me that Danni and Crystal are a type of fish themselves. Since "piranha" means slut in Portuguese, it's very fitting. Not only that, but they don't need air at all. They're breathing just fine all that time under water. I bet it never occurs to all the horny guys this tiny "detail".
Danni and Crystal's underwater ballet was the most talked about thing from this movie when it was released, so I know this stuff was popular with a lot of viewers. I wasn't complaining. But now I wonder, is Priscilla having any fun watching this "scantily clad Wild Girls" stuff?
Some people forget that there are straight women who happen to love horror movies, and I think all of them got together and made this movie. There is nothing going on that is appealing to me, and even though I'm used to seeing naked women all the time in horror movies, it gets to be too much. Like, "again, really?". Very boring. Yeah, I can't say I enjoy this aspect of the movie at all. I could definitely have done without.
Realizing what's going on between Jake and Kelly, Danni suggests that the tequila and salt be put on Kelly's stomach for Jake to lick it off... But before Jake and Kelly can get to their kiss, Kelly has to vomit.
3D puke! At least it just looks like foam instead of chunky pea soup.
I wonder if guys managed to stay turned on seeing that.
Julie and Novak take the piranha they caught to a fish store operated by marine biologist Carl Goodman (Christopher Lloyd), who immediately recognizes the fish as a breed of piranha that was believed to have gone extinct more than two million years ago. Instead, they've been trapped in that underwater lake, surviving through cannibalism.
Along with Richard Dreyfuss' cameo, this is another favorite moment. I always enjoy seeing Christopher Lloyd.
During this scene, Goodman's wife references baby alligators being set loose in New Jersey, which is likely a subtle nod to another creature feature written by original Piranha writer John Sayles, Alligator.
If you have a character with a lot of scientific knowledge in your film, casting Christopher Lloyd in that role is one of the best choices you could possible make. It's Doc! Lloyd is always a joy to watch.
If only he knew how to say "piranha" correctly. Nobody does in this movie.
As for the explanation for this particular bunch of excessively hungry, displaced piranhas, I think the "unearthed prehistoric breed" angle works quite well. Nice and simple.
But more unlikely than the explanation Piranha '78 gives us. I like their explanation better. Mutant piranhas all the way!
Out on the lake, a parasailer played by porn star Gianna Michaels is having so much fun on her Spring Break that she doesn't seem too upset that she's giving Derrick something to film from his nearby boat - her breasts are falling out of her top. Once the boat she's being pulled behind slows down enough to dip her into the water, the piranha show up and there's not much left of her but her top half.
The party is in full swing near the shore, where porn star Ashlynn Brooke appears as a partying college girl (who had a date set up with geologist Sam, but their interaction was cut) and popular genre director Eli Roth makes a cameo as the host of a wet T-shirt contest.
And yet again more "treats" for all the horny guys out there!
Given the type of characters Roth usually writes (and played in the Death Proof segment of Grindhouse), he seems right at home in this Spring Break atmosphere. This cameo is much less surprising than when he showed up in Rock of Ages. Of course Roth would show up to talk about "tittays" and "weapons of masturbation".
Now knowing what they're dealing with, the Lake Victoria police try to break up the party and get the people out of the water, but no one takes them seriously... So everyone is still in the water when the piranha swim in, setting the stage for a total bloodbath. As people start getting eaten alive by the fish, panic sets in, which causes even more deaths - structure cables snap, cutting people in half; people are crushed by boats; a woman's hair gets stuck in an outboard motor. Julie, Novak, Fallon, and the rest of the police force try their best to save as many people as they can, but many are killed.
I don't get why they weren't getting the boat filled with people and going back and forth for more people to rescue. They were fairly close to the shore.
This massacre sequence is a glorious sight to behold, providing several minutes straight of pure mayhem and disgusting special effects provided by Greg Nicotero (who has a cameo) and his cohorts. Most of the deaths are all in good fun, but that outboard motor death does disturb me.
I don't find the deaths to be in good fun at all, the effects look so real that during those scenes, the movie loses its fun vibe and becomes quite unsettling.
The fun has also come to an end on Derrick's boat, as he has gotten coked up and confrontational. Derrick gets mad when Jake spots his younger siblings on Sand Island, where they have been stranded because Zane didn't secure their boat correctly. Derrick only agrees to help Laura and Zane once Jake reveals that his mom is the sheriff.
As the boat leaves Sand Island, its motor gets clogged up in weeds. Derrick pushes it up to full speed to get it loose, and ends up smashing that glass bottom into the rocks. The boat starts to sink, characters tumble into the water... and the piranha are out here, too. After the fish get them, all that's left of Crystal is her skeleton and her breast implants, and Derrick loses his penis.
If this was an attempt to please the female audience, it failed miserably. Although it was a nice touch that the creep got his penis eaten, kinda.
Andrew also falls into the water, but we don't see what happens to him. He just hits the water and disappears from the film - his fate lost in another cut scene. The disappearance of Andrew is one of my only issues with the film, because it seems sloppy. The sequel, Piranha 3DD, did explain what happened to him, which was a nice touch. But it didn't save that sequel.
Kelly is trapped below deck as the boat sinks and Jake makes a call for help to his mom. Julie shows up on the scene with Novak, and their plan to save the Forester kids, Kelly, and Danni involves having them cross a rope from one boat to the other.
Seems stupid that Julie wouldn't realize that it should only be one person at a time, but she was under a lot of stress, so it's understandable.
If you think anyone is expendable in this situation, you would be correct. Aja kills a lot more people in his movie than Dante did in his, but he is nicer to kids.
Once everyone else has gotten to safety, or hasn't, Jake takes the rope and ties it around his waist so he can swim below deck and rescue Kelly from the piranhas that are getting closer and closer. While he's down there, he decides to set up a fish-killing bomb using propane tanks and a flare.
They could've easily broken the skylight, but what's the fun in that? And seriously, Jake and Kelly can always hug and kiss later, no time for that right now!
Beyond piranha and events that draw people to the water, there aren't a whole lot of direct similarities between the first Piranha and this one, but both films do have a character roped to a boat for the climax.
Kelly is saved and the propane bomb is surprisingly effective, but this movie has a twist up its sleeve to give audiences one last jump scare before the credits start rolling.
I don't know whether to agree with Aja and say that this is more of a Piranha 3 than a remake, or to say that it's one of my favorite remakes because it didn't attempt to replicate the original and instead simply told its own story involving piranha. Regardless of what you want to call it, I think Piranha 3D is an awesome, highly entertaining film.
I wouldn't call it awesome, but then again this movie didn't have the female audience in mind, so it makes sense that guys would think it's great. I think it's good, with some nice moments that range from fun to nail-biting.
This movie doesn't have a serious bone in its body, it's just trying to be as fun as possible while embracing the core of B-movie exploitation horror: gore and nudity. If you're looking for a deep story or impressive character work, you won't find it here, this is a fast paced film that's fueled by blood and breasts.
True about gore and nudity. It has a bit of character development with Julie and her kids. All the butts and breasts get to be too much if you're not into women though, I would've been able to enjoy the movie more with at least a little less of that. But I do absolutely love the gore. They can even make me ignore the bad CGI with those horrific piranha-inflicted injuries. Looks very real, disgusting and disturbing.
There are some dodgy special effects here and there. Sometimes the CGI piranha look great, but at other times they're a bit lacking. They haven't held up well over the years since the film's release, but while things looked better in 3D in the theatre, to be honest there were always some off moments in there. Everything involving those fish is so much fun, though, that I can let that slide.
I'll take simpler shots over too much CGI any day. That is the case here as well. My favorite death scene is the cliff diver's. Don't get me wrong, I love the gore, but I like seeing the aftermath better without having to sit through bad CGI.
I do like the location, there are some beautiful places in the movie. It actually makes sense why everyone wants to be in the water in Piranha 3D, the water looks great.
I saw Piranha 3D in 3D when it came out, and enjoyed the experience so much that I went back and saw it in 3D a second time. Going by something I wrote a while back, apparently this was the only movie I went to see twice in 2010, out of the fifty plus movies I saw theatrically that year. I can understand why. My opinion on the film hasn't changed in the last six years - I still find it to be great mindless fun.
I'm sure Cody enjoyed seeing all the nudity in 3D so much that he had to go back and watch it again. I didn't get to see Piranha 3D in 3D, which would probably have made me like the movie and the effects more, but still, it's definitely entertaining and fun. I can't say I love it, but it's not bad. Does its job.