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There's something in the water... again. And this time no one is safe from the flesh eating fish as they sink their razor sharp teeth into the visitors of the best summer attraction, The Big Wet Water Park.
For more about Piranha 3DD and the Piranha 3DD Blu-ray release, see Piranha 3DD Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 29, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Danielle Panabaker, David Koechner, Katrina Bowden, Chris Zylka, Jean-Luc Bilodeau, David Hasselhoff
Director: John Gulager
» See full cast & crew
Piranha 3DD Blu-ray Review
"DD" isn't quite "XXX."
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 29, 2012
Can it happen again?
One's initial reaction right off the bat after watching the seventy-minute-sans-credits Piranha 3DD might very well be "at least there's still some truth in advertising." Certainly, Piranha 3DD does present audiences with plenty of gratuitous nudity and excess violence, but it comes up short of meeting expectations for the former and topping the first movie in the latter. While there are boobs aplenty, there's not an overload of up-close 3D breast shots, and the violence doesn't have that same stomach churning intensity, consistency, and visual mayhem as the first film. It's toned down and dumbed down (if a movie called Piranha 3DD can be "dumbed down") for an audience only interested in crudeness, gore, and appearances by washed-up stars of yore. The movie is completely derivative, offering nothing new in the Piranha universe and hardly making much of an effort to go further than the original. This movie seems like a quick cash-in and nothing else, the perfect example of a movie made just for the sake of making it and, hey, here's a catchy title sure to excite all the male ninth graders around the world, so best take advantage of it and get something out there fast before the 3D craze dies down.
Lake Victoria, once the world's spring break capital, has become a ghost town, a haunting memory of the massacre that took the lives of countless partygoers at the vicious, unrelenting fangs of deadly piranha. Now, the little miscreants are back. They kill two famers, including Gary Busey, when the men go in search of a missing cow they find in low-lying water infested with piranha. Meanwhile, a slimy entrepreneur named Chet (David Koechner) has revamped a water park in which he own a 51-49 stake with his stepdaughter Maddy (Danielle Panabaker). Out are the old lifeguards and in are strippers plus one David Hasselhoff. Out is a completely family-friendly experience and in is a brand-new adult section of the park where anything goes and a camera mounted by the poolside ladder displays a naked girl's most intimate parts for all the world to see on a nearby flat screen monitor. Of course, Maddy disapproves. When it becomes clear that piranha are locally on the loose, several concerned teens -- those whose naked bodies have yet to become piranha fodder -- track down Christopher Lloyd, a YouTube piranha sensation, for the low-down on the infestation. Can the teens prevent another massacre, or is Chet's water world about to take a turn for the bloody?
Welcome to 2012. Piranha 3DD epitomizes everything that's wrong with movies anymore. It's the dreaded sequel, and the doubly dreaded Horror sequel that does nothing to improve upon the first. It emphasizes pretty much everything but plot because, really, there isn't one, unless one considers "random characters having sex and dying" a plot. Really, it's "Spartacus" set 2,000 years later without the intrigue, smarts, and high drama, substituting gore and sex for, well, not substituting them but certainly eschewing even a semblance of an honest story in favor of nonsensical and grossly overdone "spring break"-style elements that barely extend beyond the length of a "Spartacus" episode in terms of raw runtime. At least Piranha 3DD doesn't overextend its welcome with an unnecessarily grinding ninety-minute length. Yet it takes a good 55 minutes to get to the massacre, and that only lasts for about 15. And even then, it's just more of the same nonsense: scantily-clad swimmers and sunbathers being eaten by piranha. A few mischievous extra-piranha deaths are thrown in for good measure to take care of the "bad" characters. The only real saving grace is Ving Rhames. His character pulls a Planet Terror and has some fun taking out a handful of the deadly fish. That's really it. No fun, too much time spent on worthless characters, and too little of everything else.
Yet that's pretty much par for the course for a movie like this. It's hard to knock it for being plotless when that's pretty much the point, but when a movie is expected to achieve pure Horror/Comedy insanity and doesn't, well, the movie just doesn't stand a chance at success. Certainly, Piranha 3DD goes where it promises, just not to any sort of extreme. The movie would rather waste its time showing dead cows farting out piranha eggs and explosive gases and show a character having sex with a hole in the swimming pool -- twice. The characters are completely forgettable (what were their names again?) and the old timers like David Hasselhoff probably just showed up to surround themselves with T&A and girls forty years their junior. On the plus side, the movie is technically well made and very polished. The piranha special effects are quite good, and the blood and guts are eerily convincing, even if there's not all that much of it in comparison to the bloodbath seen in the first movie. The movie's best shot comes at the very end when it dares to do something completely unexpected that will shock quite a few in the audience. It's a place movies hardly ever go, but it's so ridiculous that it works in the context of an absurd movie. Otherwise, this is just a bunch of repetitive shots of unimaginative characters going about their business and ending with a big splash of blood and guts. It's not all bad, but it's probably the year's most disappointing sequel, absolutely failing to live up to the grotesque charm of the first.
Piranha 3DD Blu-ray, Video Quality
Anchor Bay hasn't released separate, retail 2D and 3D editions of Piranha 3DD (or Piranha DD, as its 2D-only version is affectionally known and available through Redbox rental only), so here's a rundown of both transfers. The 2D image is a real dazzler, an elite Blu-ray presentation that rivals anything else on the format, particularly other digital pictures. There's an over-pumped warmth to the image, with bronze and red skin tones and hot colors the name of the game, but it's not so exaggerated as to destabilize the image or take it too far from a sense of reality. Light blue skies remain light blue, sparkly pool waters true to life, the water park's yellow employee T-shirts not too over-saturated, blood reds gut-churning realistic, and so on. As for fine detail, it's extraordinary. The image is not only as sharp as they come, but every single surface is meticulously defined, right down to the tiniest pore on human faces, manmade textures around the water park, or the intricate little touches on Hasselhoff's lifeguard jacket. Clarity is simply astounding, even in the darker scenes that do clash with the sunlit park sequences but that remain sharp and grounded with even black levels and honest low-light details. Murky underwater shots don't offer much in the way of raw textures, but there's an absence of banding in such shots that helps the moment (and the transfer) immensely. Overall, the 2D portion of this package rocks. It's R-rated, adults-only reference material through-and-through.
The 3D presentation isn't the finest on the market, but it's quite good. Depth is constant and natural, whether in the opening dark moments or in the bright, spacious confines of the water park. A newscast at the beginning of the movie and, not too much further into the movie, a commercial for the water park, both offer a very clear and accentuated sense of slight space between the various layers, several on the latter and only the TV station logo on the former. Generally, people and objects are naturally shapely. Shots on water's surface are so good that viewers might be getting up to fetch a towel to clean up the liquid that appears to be running out of the screen and onto the living room floor. There are some fair screen-popping visuals, such as piranha darting towards the viewer (there's a couple of shots that will literally make the audience jump!) and one instance of a bloody stump protruding from the screen. There's not as much 3D cleavage as expected and not a ton of gratuitous breast-level shots. One would think that a movie with "3DD" in the title would be one step removed from a porno with jiggling breasts consistently bouncing out of the screen, but not really. The review equipment (Panasonic plasma, Sony standalone 3D player) exhibited a few instances of excess crosstalk, but such occurrences were relatively few. The 3D image also holds up nicely in terms of color, detail, sharpness, and general stability. There's no real loss of brightness or clarity going from 2D to 3D. This isn't the end-all, be-all of 3D images, but Anchor Bay's 2D image is exemplary from beginning to end.
Note that all screenshots are taken directly from the included 2D-only disc.
Piranha 3DD Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Piranha 3DD invades Blu-ray with a strongly-executed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Probably the primary ingredient here is the thumping bass and high-energy dance tunes that company the poolside water park scenes. There's a consistent, natural spacing, potent bass, and a very evident lifelike vigor. The surround channels carry a bit of the load, allowing for a sense of completeness that places the listener in the middle of the sun and fun and, later, all the blood and crud. Those chaotic moments late in the movie are equally well done, featuring screaming souls in every speaker and darting piranha zipping all over the stage. The effects are never really overly represented or sonically phony. It's a well-balanced presentation that doesn't allow the energy of the moment to dictate an over-exaggerated sonic sensation. In fact, it might be said the track is at times playful in the earlier scenes and with a harder edge later, both reflective of the moment but not all that far removed from lifelike accuracy. Dialogue is consistently balanced and grounded in the center channel. This track makes good use of the entire stage and range. It's not one of the best of the best in terms of sheer activity, raw volume, or absolute seamlessness, but it's a strong overall performer that suits this movie very well.
Piranha 3DD Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Piranha 3DD contains a fair array of extra content, all available on the 2D-only disc. The 3D disc contains no bonus features.
Piranha 3DD Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It's hard to label a movie like Piranha 3DD a "disappointment," but that's exactly what it is. Here's a movie with next to no brains that actually manages to get less than expected out of its premise. It spends too much time with worthless characters. There's not quite as many gratuitous 3D DD breast shots as some might expect, and the violence isn't nearly as rough and graphic as that seen in the first film. This is a largely humorless, excessively juvenile, and dramatically vacant film. The last in the list doesn't really matter seeing that nobody goes to Piranha 3DD expecting a smart movie, but even the supposed "good stuff" flops as badly as a fish out of water. It's a borderline miserable movie, saved by good production values and several cool cameos. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray 3D release of Piranha 3DD features standout 2D video, a strong 3D transfer, a quality lossless soundtrack, and a good array of extras. There's just no good reason to plop down any hard-earned money on this one. Desperate audiences might consider a rental, but otherwise, just stick with the original.
Piranha 3DD: Other Editions
Piranha 3DD Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Piranha 3DD Blu-ray - July 10, 2012
In September, Anchor Bay Home Entertainment will bring Piranha 3DD to Blu-ray. This sequel to 2010's Piranha follows the species of carnivorous fish from Lake Victoria to a nearby water park, where they proceed to terrorize the park's unsuspecting visitors. Piranha ...
Piranha 3DD Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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