Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In short: Piranha 3D (2010)

Seismic activity opens up the passage between an ancient underground lake and a popular vacation spot somewhere in the USA, allowing the elder lake's population of pre-historic piranha a nice little holiday in sunnier parts. But the poor darlings are oh so very hungry! Fortunately, Mother Nature takes care of her own and has seen it fit to provide the fishies with a delightful welcoming feast in the form of hordes and hordes of young and tasty spring breakers.

These young people turn out to be the ideal food, at once highly nourishing and dumb as rocks. There's also some stuff about the local sheriff (Elisabeth Shue) and her children, but there's absolutely no need for anyone to spend even a second thinking about it. The script bots who shat out this film's script certainly didn't.

Still, while I'd rather not talk about the script (why put more effort in than the people actually making the movie?) of Piranha 3D - no, I'm absolutely not calling this film by its official title, Piranha, for poor Joe Dante surely has enough troubles - I have to admit I rather enjoyed watching the film. In fact, for my tastes it is director Alexandre Aja's most watchable film up until now (please don't ask me about Haute Tension). At least, this time around, Aja seems completely clear about what sort of movie he is trying to make, namely an ultra-orthodox exploitation film that exclusively worships on the altar of breasts and blood. And truly, brothers and sisters, blood and breasts is what Aja brings us. Just don't get too excited here, it's spring break style nudity, so there's nothing going on that's actually erotic, unless you're a monkey.

Now, obviously, I would have preferred a film that attempted to include at least a bit of cleverness from time to time, but this is not the sort of film that ever promises any stimulation of one's brain cells, so it would seem rather unfair of me to complain too much about the complete lack of that stimulation. And hey, a film made by people with any ambition or working brains would probably not include as many scenes of people trying to fight against a swarm of angry fishes by shooting them.

All this does still sound rather more negative than it's supposed to, given that I had a (sort of) fine time watching Piranha 3D. It's decently paced and does "carnage" quite well. There's really nothing wrong with the movie that couldn't be solved by burning its script and letting someone with even the faintest whiff of talent - or just half a clue - write a new one. Obviously, it's not a film that can hold up to even the minor scrutiny of thinking about it for ten seconds (and yes, I'm pretty sure that's still nine seconds more than Aja and the writers spent thinking about their film).


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