Yet another movie taking advantage of the 3D movie phase. When I first saw the trailers for this movie, I thought it looked pretty interesting and figured I would probably go see it. After all, shark movies tend to come out every year but a movie about piranha, it has been almost 30 years since one of those has been in theaters. So when it came out in theaters, I decided to go catch an early Satruday showing of it. When I started buying some piranha based movies a while back, this was one of the ones I picked up. So now it’s time to sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Piranha 3D.
The plot: Matt Boyd is fishing in Lake Victoria when a small quake occurs and part of the lake bottom falls into an underground cavern, causing a whirlpool to form close by. As Matt tries to get his boat’s motor started, he ends up falling into the whirlpool and is attacked and killed by a school of prehistoric piranha that were released by the quake. The next day, Spring Break starts up at Lake Victoria and Jake Forester sees his mom, Sheriff Julie Forester, already dealing with some of the drunken college kids. As Jake goes to pick up his little sister Laura, he runs into Kelly, his high school crush, who is in town with her boyfriend and his friend. The two talk for a bit and Kelly invites Jake to a party but he says he can’t go as he is watching his little brother and sister all weekend. Jake picks up Laura and meets Derrick Jones, the director for the adult site Wild, Wild Girls, and Danni, one of the actresses for the site. Finding out that Jake is a local, Derrick asks Jake to be his guide out on the lake and though Laura tries telling him that he can’t, Jake covers her mouth and agrees to it. That night, Julie and one of her deputies, Deputy Fallon, go looking for Matt Boyd and when they try to recover the boat, Julie falls into the lake and discovers Matt’s chewed up body. Julie considers closing the lake but Fallon points out that the town survives on the week and they would be unable to get all 20,000 kids out of the lake. The next day, Jake bribes Laura and Zane (his brother), to stay home so that he can go work for Derrick and they agree but as soon as he leaves, Zane decides to go to a nearby island to fish and Laura goes with him but they end up stranded on the island. Meanwhile, Jake heads to the dock and runs into Kelly, who is surprised to see him there but finds out why when Derrick starts yelling for Jake to get on the boat but invites Kelly along as well. Julie takes a group of scientists out on the lake to examine the quakes epicenter, where they discover an underwater lake that has now been opened up to the main lake due to the quake. Two of the scientists, Sam and Paula, dive down to explore the chasm and the underground lake while the third member, Novak, stays on the boat with Julie to momitor them but they are attacked by the piranha and Novak manages to grab what’s left of Paula’s body and drag it, along with one of the piranha, back on the boat. Meanwhile, Jake is enjoying his experience on the lake but feels bad about Kelly being dragged into it, especially when she ends up getting sick from the alcohol. When Derrick asks Jake to film a topless girl going parasailing, Jake notices Laura and Zane trapped on the island. Derrick is upset about Jake not filming the girl but when Jake says that his mom is the sheriff, Derrick decides to go ahead and pick up the kids. Meanwhile, Julie and Novak take the piranha to Carl Goodman, a marine biologist and local pet store owner, to find out what it is. Goodman explains that the fish hasn’t been seen in over two million years and warns that if there are thousands of them in the lake, they need to be destroyed. As Fallon and the rest of the deputies try to warn people to get out of the lake, Julie radios for help just as the piranha start attacking people. Julie, Novak, Fallon, and the others try rescuing the people in the lake, with Fallon using the propeller from a boat to kill the piranha at one point but ends up getting killed himself. Meanwhile, Jake and the others pick up Laura and Zane but the prop ends up getting tangled in some weeds. Derrick, in a rush to get back to a wet t-shirt contest, tries to force the engine to get free and manages to do so but ends up getting the boat stuck on some rocks, which punctures the glass bottom. Derrick, as well as his cameraman Andrew and actress Crystal, end up falling into the lake and while Andrew manages to get to the island unharmed, Crystal is killed by the Piranha and Derrick is mortally wounded before Danni manages to drag him back on the boat. Jake gets Laura and Zane out on the deck but Kelly is trapped in the galley as the boat starts to flood. Jake calls his mom and tells her where they are and Julie and Novak go to rescue them. When they get there, they throw Jake a rope that he ties onto the boat and Julie climbs over. After realizing the only way to save Kelly is to swim down from the bottom, Julie has Danni, Laura, and Zane climb the rope back to the other boat but the piranha manage to snag onto Danni’s hair causing her to fall into the lake and be eaten. Jake unties the rope from the boat and ties it around him, then dumps Derrick’s body into the lake to distract the piranha, allowing him to swim to Kelly. Using the radio, he tells Julie and Novak to pull him and Kelly to safety on his signal, then swims down to open the galley’s propane tanks. Jake and Kelly share a kiss then swim out of the boat, where Jake lights a flare and throws it back into the boat. The piranha surround the two teens but they are pulled to safety just as the flare ignites the propane and causes the boat to explode, killing off the piranha. As Jake and Kelly are pulled into the boat, Carl calls Julie and says that the specimen that they brought him was a juvenile and when Novak wonders where the parents are, a large piranha jumps out and drags Novak into the water.
Piranha 3D met with positive reviews from the critics, earning a certified fresh rating of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Playing exactly to expectations for a movie about killer fish run amok, Piranha 3-D dishes out gore, guffaws and gratuitous nudity with equal glee.” Richard Dreyfuss’ said that his character is a parody of Matt Hooper, the character he played in Jaws, even singing the song “Show Me The Way To Go Home” as he is fishing. The movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning $83.1 million off of a $24 million budget.
This was a very entertaining movie due to it’s sheer ridiculousness. The acting was pretty good, with Elizabeth Shue (Julie), Ving Rhames (Fallon), and Steven McQueen (Jake) doing good jobs. I also liked Jerry O’Connell’s portrayal of the coked out Derrick and Richard Dreyfuss playing Matt Boyd and singing that song was really funny. The story was pretty interesting, having the piranha be living fossils that are reintroduced to the modern world instead of the result of a military experiment. The special effects were pretty good in regards to the kills and everything but the 3D effects could have been better. Considering the setting was during spring break, some nudity and adult humor was going to be expected but the scene after Derrick and Crystal were killed was a bit much (you will have to see it for yourself). All in all, a funny movie to watch but the 3D is not necessary to enjoy it.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5