Sometimes, we go to the movies to immerse ourselves in the beauty of pure film making artistry, content to surrender ourselves to the whims of nuanced, dynamic cinematic storytellers who feel compelled to express themselves on as large a canvas as possible.
Other times, though, we just want to wallow in the glory of tacky excess, chugging chemical-laden popcorn and cackling aloud while witnessing absurdities blown up to their largest and most garish extremes.
Fortunately, for those who enjoy reveling in the latter, we’re officially entering summer movie season, when the Hollywood sees fit to release a handful of dumbed-down, inane quasi-epics for our guilty pleasure. With “The Expendables” and “The A-Team” already looking to be hilariously campy B-movie joyrides, Dimension Pictures is looking to further contribute to the cheese-factor with their impending killer-fish creature-feature “Piranha 3D.”
A remake of Joe Dante’s goofy, gory and lovable 1978 “Jaws” spoof, directed by Alexandre Aja, the helmer of the surprisingly effective 2006 “The Hills Have Eyes” redo, the new “Piranha” once again chronicles the timeless tale of what happens when hot, under-dressed youths get into the water with flesh-chomping fishies. In perhaps a strange bid for realism, though, this version has done away with the whole mad scientist genetic-engineering aspect of the mythos in favor of a more, um, plausible premise – now the scaly toothed-ones are left over relics of the prehistoric age, released from their underwater prison by an unlucky earthquake. Needless to say, their aggressive re-entry into the food-chain has dire implications for Lake Victoria’s Spring Break tourism.
Trailer Addict has posted a full-length trailer for the film, and I have to say that it looks exactly as it should. The movie seems to have its tongue wedged firmly in cheek (Christopher Lloyd’s exposition-delivery is especially glorious) and hasn’t attempted to add any unwelcome grit, pathos or moodiness to the proceedings. Aja and his team understand what the appeal of this flick is, and appear to have done their best to cram in as many bikini-clad wannabe Playmates (accompanied by, bizarrely, Eli Roth), trashy nods to Spielberg’s iconic giant shark masterpiece (note the framing of the shot involving screaming, hysterical lake-evacuees near the end of the clip, not to mention the presence of Richard Dreyfuss) and ridiculous kills as humanly possible.
Admittedly, I’m an easy mark for these types of films, being the proud owner of not only the entire “Jaws” saga and “Deep Blue Sea,” but also such enduring classics as “Raging Sharks,” “Megalodon,” “The Beast” and “Shark Attack 3: Megalodon,” so my excitement over “Piranha 3-D” may not quite mirror your own. However, “The Hills Have Eyes” showed that Aja has what it takes to make a gruesome and fun exploitation horror entry, and he has stated in the past that his intention was to use his 3-D technology to full cornball-effect. I’ll be curious to see if he’s able to capture any of the blood-splattered zaniness of last year’s “My Bloody Valentine 3D,” which truly raised the bar for infectiously silly three-dimensional perversities.
Either way, my butt will certainly be in a theatre seat on Aug. 27 to find out what horrible deeds Aja and his aquatic antagonists have in store for the audience (as well as Dina Meyer, Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O’Connell and Ving Rhames). Who knows, with enough support, we may even convince Dimension to spawn a remake of the original’s James Cameron-directed sequel. Flying man-eating fish in three-dimensions? Where do I sign to make this happen?!
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Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.