3D Blu-ray Review THE HTF 3D ADDICT: Piranha 3D

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Ronald Epstein
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    What can I say?  I love 3D!  From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content.  I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite.  That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT.  I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky.  However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation.  These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves.  I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum.  My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released.   As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.





    Piranha 3D


    Studio: Sony

    Product Release: January 11, 2011

    Ratio: 2.40:1

    Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English

    Running Time: 88 Minutes

    Rating: R



    ON A SCALE 0-5

    Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5

    3D Separation: 5

    3D In Yo' Face Factor: 5



    3D Exploitation at its finest!


    You know what might be the problem with 3D for

    some individuals?  Perhaps it’s the fact the format is taking

    itself way too seriously.  Yeah, it's great to put on those

    glasses and watch something as beautiful as Avatar or 

    perhaps something charming and funny like Despicable Me

    or Coraline.

    However, you have to give a hand to director Alexandre

    Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) for delivering Piranha 3D, the 

    most over-the-top and repulsive summer massacre movie

    this reviewer has ever seen -- perfectly exploiting 3D.  This

    no-holds-barred film sinks as low as any film dares to go

    yet it manages to get some interesting veteran actors in

    on the fun that include Elisabeth Shue, Ving Rahmes,

    Christopher Lloyd and even Richard Dreyfus.

    So, let me begin by giving you the fake plot of the movie.

    Basically,  as the film opens we are treated to Richard

    Dreyfus, fishing off a boat in the middle of a lake, offering

    up a parody of his Matt Hooper character from Jaws.  He

    throws a beer bottle into the water.  Moments later, there's

    a huge subterranean rip that unleashes hundreds of vicious

    prehistoric piranhas that race to the surface and for days

    following, terrorize the waters of a quaint town occupied by

    hundreds of teenagers on Spring Break.

    Let me now give you the real plot of the movie.  Basically,

    Piranha 3D is a mockery of gore films of the 70s and 80s

    including the original 70's classic.  It's a shameless

    opportunity to bring as much ridiculously excessive nudity,

    gore and shock value that can be capitalized within a 3D


    This film has got teeth!

    Speaking of 3D, one needs to go to extremes to provide

    the most impressionable viewing experience you will ever

    have.  Never before have I seen so much carnage and 

    body parts (including a severed penis) thrown at the screen

    at once -- all executed perfectly to give the viewer an excess

    of "In Yo' Face" moments.  Oh, and did I fail to mention the

    inclusion of hot, naked girls who fling off their tops and shake

    their boobs all in glorious 3D?

    Piranha 3D was not originally shot for 3D and was later

    upconverted in post production.  This may explain some

    of the ghosting problems I discuss further on in this review.

    Nonetheless, I was surprised how effective most of the 

    3D here was.  In fact, I found most of the presentation

    to be mostly top-notch. The film is colorful, razor sharp,

    and has a superb sense of depth to it. The filmmakers

    never miss an opportunity to get as "gimmicky" as possible

    with their arsenal of props that often leap off the screen at

    the viewer.  If you are someone like me who lives for

    gimmickry, this film does it more than any other.

    That's not to say everything is perfect with this transfer.

    The initial underwater scenes are mirky and unfortunately

    some of the best intended 3D effects (such as a falling

    beer bottle) are lost in the process.  However, the underwater

    sequences become greatly improved as the film moves on.  

    I am certain there are many that will marvel at the underwater

    lesbian acrobatics that take on...uhm...stunning dimensionality.  

    Unfortunately, this is a transfer plagued with ghosting.

    You can see the image doubling right at the opening

    credits.  Other times it appears along facial and body

    contours.  As expected, darker scenes suffer the most.

    I found the ghosting here to a bit more problematic than

    other titles I have recently watched.  I am also aware 

    that different displays and hardware may lessen the 

    amount of double imaging you actually see.  For that

    reason, I am not going to let it affect the overall review


    Featuring 5.1 DTS-HD audio, Piranha 3D boasts a

    highly aggressive soundtrack that completely surrounds

    the listener with atmospherics that include a never-ending

    array of effect noise, most notably that of water and various

    ominous creaks cleverly placed to heighten freight level.  

    There's a fair amount of LFE activity present which becomes

    more booming during the rap music sequences provided by none

    other than "Chocolate Thunder."   A highly effective, engrossing


    Extras on the disc include a filmmakers commentary as

    well as 10 behind-the-scenes Featurettes.



    The secret to truly enjoying Piranha 3D is to

    never take it seriously.  Obviously the filmmakers didn't

    nor did the screen veterans who jumped at the opportunity

    to do cameos.  The film is pure camp and nothing more.

    Understanding the above, the film only plays to a certain

    type of audience.  It's perfect for a dorm room party or

    perhaps a bunch of guys hangin' out in front of the TV

    away from their wives.  On the other hand, it's not the

    sort of thing you would want to show at a PTA party. 

    Yes, the film is horrifically gross, but I found myself

    laughing aloud at it more than actually being repulsed.

    Personally, I found Piranha 3D to be another stellar

    viewing experience.  In fact, despite the fact that the

    film was upconverted in post production I still feel that

    to date, it belongs on any Top 10 list of titles to add to

    your collection. 

    For those that are not easily offended, I highly

    recommend you run out and purchase this Blu-ray.

    Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc. 



    LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display

    LG BX580 3D Blu-ray Player

  2. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

    Jan 17, 2001
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    John Steffens
    I saw this in the theaters in 3D and I agree that this movie was a true experience and unlike anything I have seen in a horror movie.

    Unbelievable carnage. Some of these scenes still haunt my mind.

    I'm wondering how they are going to top themselves with the sequel that's coming soon.

    Good review Ron!
  3. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

    Apr 19, 2000
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    I don't have a weak stomach, but I felt a bit nauseous as I watched this flick - and that was just in 2D! I imagine it would've been worse in 3D!
  4. Hank

    Hank Guest

    Just finished watching it in 3D and it was a blast. Naked chicks rule in 3D!
  5. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

    Jul 25, 2000
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    Watched it last night and loved it. I'll buy it when the price drops.
  6. Adam Gregorich


    Nov 20, 1999
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    The Other Washington
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    No one rents 3D BD locally, and I don't rent enough to justify Netflix, so I had to make a trip to the local Best Buy (same price as Amazon). Hoping to watch it tonight. I also plunked down $4.99 to pick up Mega Piranha on BD while I was there. Its stars Tiffany and shows a piranha biting an aircraft carrier in half on the cover. I'd say calling it a B movie would be overly generous .
  7. Towergrove

    Towergrove Screenwriter

    Jan 7, 2011
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    Thanks Ron for another wonderful review!
  8. Phoebus

    Phoebus Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 28, 2010
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    I find I can pause picture, and it pauses as a 3D image. Some shots seem odd in this movie, such as a pan across grassland where the individual strands don't quite fit together in freeze frame. [This would make sense if there were some 48fps 2D shots post converted to 24fps 3D - not sure about the techniques employed, though.. a listen to the director's commentary may shed more light here.] Mostly the 2D to 3D conversion process seems very nicely achieved.

    As to the plot: take two parts hot semi-plastic ladies, and to this add one part rather less hot beer-swiling jocks, partaying like there's no yesterday at a pastoral lake setting, mix in some pleasant character cameos, two cute kids and a loveable hero, his mom and his potential girl friend, and then Poison the entire mixture with a whole hoard of razor toothed prehistoric piranha fish - and, Bang, you've got yourself a curiously enjoyable exploitation romp, with gore-level set about one or two notches below Full Grindhouse.

    I have to confess I enjoyed this version rather more than the Joe Dante original. From its Esther Williams inspired lesbian diving ballet (only Esther could hold her breath quite That long underwater!) to its perverse severed penis jokes, the movie has a lot of twisted ideas happening along the way. Although there's no visible credit to him, I would suggest there's a lot of the Robert Rodriguez touch to the film, often to its credit.

    So, if you're in the mood for such soft-porn gory mayhem, the film certainly delivers. The 3D conversion is achieved quite seamlessly for the most part, not that I've seen all that many converted films to date.

    Just expect lots of things to fly out at you - mostly rather gross things, tho'.. :)

    Viewed on:

    Sony PS3

    Optoma DW318 - WXGA Projector

    Optoma 3D-XL - 3D Projector Adaptor
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist

    Feb 8, 1999
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    Robert Harris

    My son loved this film theatrically in 3D. I tried to get into it, but the quality of the 3D imagery left me cold,

    waterlogged, and Piranha bitten. Just a poor quality job.

    I'm not a believer in fake 3D. Between this film, Clash of the Titans and a few others, the death nell of the 3D

    garbage out there could soon be tolling.

    Film should be based upon the quality of their screenplays first, not whether they've been downgraded to 3D.

    I've sample the Avatar disc, and the 3D effects are wonderful, but 3D strictly for the sake of 3D leaves me

    cold. Takes me back to those halcyon days of colorization.

  10. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

    Dec 13, 1998
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    Central Arkansas
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    Johnny Angell
  11. Adam Gregorich


    Nov 20, 1999
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    The Other Washington
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    I think that "poor quality job" was part of the films...dare I say...Charm? I think that If they went for the Avatar quality 3D it would have been way out of place. Piranha 3D needed to be cheesy to work. Anything more and it would have backfired into being just another B (or C?) movie that wants to think its A list material.
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist

    Feb 8, 1999
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    Robert Harris

    Not when it has my eyes attempting to cross themselves in the back of my head.

    The film has a certain charm, loved the guest appearance.

    But I don't see purposeful poor use of post produced 3D to have charm.

    Merely poorly produced 3D.

    For the record, I'm a huge fan of the old AIP / Corman films. The Raven, Masque of the Red Death.

    There was this young guy in The Raven, played Rexford, not bad.

    BTW, those are films that could look wonderful on Blu-ray.

  13. peterjanni

    peterjanni Extra

    Nov 19, 2010
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    Just thought I'd mention, that if you own a ps3 and have a psn account, the 3d version of Piranha is now available as a rental, albeit at a higher than normal price. In my area, no video outlet is renting 3d versions of films, so, I'm glad for this option as I have no interest in owning the film.

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