Piranha 3-D - ****
Directed by: Alex Aja
Starring: Elizabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames, Richard Dreyfuss, Kelly Brook, Eli Roth
Review: Before I even get into my review I will address what I know is going to be the first question from all you loyal Jeff Report readers out there. "How can you give Piranha 3-D four stars but 'Inception' only three and a half? Are you saying Piranha 3-D is better than Inception?" The answer to that is a resounding no. Let me explain.
As is the same philosophy as my movie review idol Roger Ebert, my philosophy is that of taking each individual movie as it's own entity. You cannot take every movie ever made, put them on a list, have the best at the top with four stars, the worst at the bottom with zero, and the rest somewhere in between. You can't even look at this as a bell curve where X% of movies is a four star, X% is a three star, etc. This would mean one would have to reevaluate all ratings with each set of movies released each week. This is way too much work and starts taking the opinion based quality of movie reviews and replaces it with a scientific process. This is not what reviewing movies (or the Jeff Report) is all about.
Hopefully that provides a little insight into why exactly this type of a ratings event can occur. Now, on to the review.
Piranha 3-D is unequivocal, campy, pure awesomeness. This movie is everything you thought it would be and more. Rarely is a movie so refreshingly self aware that you can disregard what it's trying to do and just enjoy what it is. The Filmmakers did not set out to create the greatest movie ever made, they didn't even set out to create a good horror movie.
The filmmakers here wanted to go make a movie that didn't take itself too seriously, made fun of itself, and reveled in all the comedy and glory that it was all on it's own. Such is the brilliance of Piranha 3-D.
The movie centers around the town of Lake Victoria where thousands of co-ed's come every year to get crazy and spring break it up. This year goes over like any other, until a small earthquake opens up a hole in the bottom of the lake. This reveals a subterranean lake underneath Lake Victoria. Geographical Seismologists find they way to Lake Victoria to investigate. What do they find? Thousands upon thousands of ancient piranha eggs.
Eventually the piranha find their way out of their subterranean home and start munching on all the hapless co-ed's on Lake Victoria. With smatterings of the original Piranha as well as some light references to Jaws this movie capitalizes on it's own ridiculousness.
Besides a career best performance from Jerry O'Connell, we are given intentionally cheesy special effects, unnecessary gore and nudity, and other fine performances by actors who completely bought into what the movie was trying to do. Elizabeth Shue plays a mother/sherriff who is trying to save her kids and her town from these horrible piranha. She goes over the top while staying within the confines of the role the movie laid out for her. These actors understand that they don't have to add to the movies ridiculousness, they are just a part of it. They all seem to effortlessly fit in and add to the overall appeal of the movie.
This is a prime example of a movie that does not take itself to seriously, knows exactly what it's trying to be and smashingly succeeds at it. If you can handle the blood, guts, gore, nudity, and general crassness, then this movie is definitely worth your time.