Full disclosure: I didn’t watch Piranha (2010) in 3D, so I missed the bouncing boobs in my face, the projectile vomiting, the limb stumps. Will this mitigate my viewing pleasure? I hope not!
Went to see Amaracord (1973) one night in San Diego, back in ’73, and then The Godfather (1972) the following night. My impression at the time: Coppola was no Fellini, in spite of The Godfather’s subsequent glory. I mention this because I watched the first hour of Piranha last night, after watching Machete the night before, and Aja is no Rodriquez. I can enjoy a ride at the county fair, but for a classic ride, you’ve got to go find a Disneyland. I didn’t have much use for Aja’s High Tension (2003), didn’t see Mirrors (2008), but I liked The Hills Have Eyes (2006) OK, partly because I thought I was looking at New Mexico, though it seemed strangely strange to me, who had lived there, when in fact the movie was filmed in Morocco.
First sign of trouble in Piranha: old guy gets eaten but later his bloody corpse washes up. Corpse?!? These are Jurassic super piranhas? There shouldn’t be anything left of the geezer but a couple of clean white bones, a wedding ring, and a grinning skull; Aja just wanted that corpse to rear up in the water. Weak! Second sign of trouble: the CGI blood is laughably bad – there is no excuse for bad CGI blood in this, our high-tech age – bad CGI in 2011 is sort of like Rush Limbaugh still being big and bold and fatter and greasier than ever eleven years into the new millenium. Makes you realize that (1) Kubrick was off by a thousand years, (2) it takes less than 50% of the population to screw everybody, including the planet itself, (3) Limbaugh is hardy, like those Jurassic piranhas. The irony, blood-wise, is that the production used 75,000 gallons of fake blood and still couldn’t tat up the CGI blood. Oh, no. “Tat” now is just short for tattoo; the old slang has faded away.
Anyway. T&A-wise, Aja is a wannabe Rob Zombie here, and I’m thinking of unrated, director’s cut The Devil’s Rejects (2008). Inadvertently or vertently, Aja has put himself in his own movie via Jerry O’Connell. (Yeah, O’Connell is supposed to be Joe Francis of “Girls Gone Wild,” but you know what I mean.) My best financial advice to you the reader: invest in gun companies. They do well no matter what, and especially well in times of trauma, like, for example, when a mentally ill person goes on a shooting spree at a public gathering. If the individual uses a Glock, say, and manufactures casualties into the double digits, Glock sales will dependably shoot up the next day. You could look it up. Anyway. Rule of thumb: the more artificial boobs, the worse the movie. So far in Piranha, they’re all artificial. In Crank: High Voltage (2009), the Neveldine/Taylor flick, a pole dancer’s artificial boob takes a round from a handgun and springs a leak. Now that’s quality movie making!
I hiked in to Havasu Canyon back in ’58, before the lake was created. Canyons, waterfalls, reservation. When the lake came upon the scene, my parents bought a lot. It is to be hoped that the inhabitants of the reservation made some money. Nothing ever came of my parent’s lot, even after the developers moved London Bridge to the lake, piece by piece. I wonder if it’s still there.
Too many underwater piranha POV shots here, following which, Aja cuts back above water, but without the piranhas showing up yet. Weak! Homage to Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009).
Sure, Piranha took a lot of work to make, but they all do. Listen to the commentary, watch the extras, you’d be a churl to rag on the movie. All that effort, all that thought, years in the making. I get it. Aja, going for an ’80s vibe. That is, let’s put the tits back in horror. But what’s that expression? Tits on a pig? Tits on a horse? I googled it and got tits on a boar, a stick, a keyboard, a turtle, a unicorn, a tomcat.
I do like the notion of a primordial lake, far below the regular lake lake, an unter lake where no sun has shone for two million years, but that has plants growing in it. What do all those zillions of piranha down there eat? Each other, we are told! Only the strong survive. And they’re super hungry!
As in all but a couple of the most inventive movies, the vomit is white.
Continuity error: Topless woman is being towed behind speedboat on one of those hang-gliding kite things, that dips her into the water from time to time. Her bottom half gets eaten. No further mention of the incident as Spring Break rolls on.
Note: I left in the drunk parts of this post for sentimental reasons.
Last 28 minutes
Ving Rhames finally gets a minute of screen time, while he’s being eaten. Elisabeth Shue at 47 is a worthy mom/sheriff and makes a couple of points discreetly but clearly, while providing a lot of stunt work for her double.
Using a shotgun on a zillion hungry fish: not effective but fun cinema.
“Be careful getting out of here. The rocks, I suddenly remember at the end of the movie, sometimes strip away the engine.” BANG.
Would it have saved the film if the two kids got ate? Probably not. But at least get rid of Brooklynn Proulx, just because her name annoys me.
I never recognized Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, or Richard Dreyfuss. Lloyd and Dreyfuss snuck by me because of their geezerhood.
Aja now empties out the body and body-spare-parts locker, drains the blood tank, decapitates, slices torsos in half, calls in the foley artist with his scream collection, and, best of all, has the woman sitting in an inner tube with her butt hanging down get bit.
The TCM review is not yet posted.
Filed under: Horror |