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January 15, 2011
Piranha 3D Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
26/8/201029/12/2010Village RoadshowAlexandre Aja
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Elizabeth Shue

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Piranha 3D is set during Spring Break!

Generally I don't like horror movies but on occasion I find something that seems to hit him, and Piranha 3D, even in its 2D form, is one such film. It has a few good frights, plenty of nudity, plenty of gore and some amusing points too. With a budget of only $US25 million, the worldwide box office of $US75 million has ensured profitability, but we suspect this film will boom on Blu-Ray and DVD.

After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area's new razor-toothed residents!

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Piranha 3D has plenty of gory effects.
We were also pretty surprised by some of the impressive cast in this film, includeing a great opening scene cameo which we won't spoil. In terms of the cast Elizabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, and Jerry O'Connell all put in fine performances for a movie such as this. For a movie with a budget of only $24 million this is a pretty impressive cast, especially given the amount of visual effects - both practical and CG - that had to be used in the film. Unfortunately the CG is one of the weaker aspects of the film, as it's pretty poorly implemented however the practical visual effects are quite amazing. Hell, I'd go so far as to say the makeup should be nominated for an Academy Award!

(Spoiler Alert) Unfortunately there are plenty of mistakes and goofs in this movie too. You only need to look at the very last sequence in the movie which has several mistakes not least of which is the fact that when they throw the body in the water to distract the Piranha's, why weren't they distracted when the girl (who we won't name in case you haven't seen the movie) falls into the water instead. Likewise when two people are towed from the sinking boat via the rope, why don't they get smashed onto the rocks surrounding it. Still, these goofs don't spoil the sillyness, and fun, of the movie. (End Spoilers)

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The Piranha's are pretty evil!
No, this isn't a great movie on a technical or artistic level. It sure as hell won't be appearing at the Academy Awards, but damn it's so silly that it's fun to the point of being very entertaining. In fact, damnit, if you don't mind excessive nudity or excessive gore then this is the movie for you. Piranha 3D, even in its 2D form, is a blast.

Sadly we don't have a 3DTV as yet (we are hoping to have one in a couple of months) so we're only reviewing the 2D presentation of this film as the PS3 automatically switched to that version of the film instead. Piranha is encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec at a 2.40:1 aspect ratio and while not a knock-out is a pretty nice looking film with plenty of fine detail evident. There were times, however, where the colours looked a little unnatural.

As we've previously said we're only reviewing this film in its 2D form but we'll revisit the title in 3D when we get a 3DTV (which will likely be sooner rather then later). Looking at the film we can see several instances where the 3D would add a little more to the overall experience with the Piranha's jumping out of the water towards the screen, sticks pointing towards the camera underwater and plenty more.

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Super sexy underwater swimming!
Admittedly we didn't have high expectations for the audio in this release, but was pleasantly surprised to find a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (16-bit/48Khz) that really pumps when the Spring Break party music is in full effect, but still has plenty of subtle effects too. Surround sound channels were used frequently so your speakers will get a good workout with this film and when you go underwater for the Piranha's viewpoint there is great sound the engulfs you from all sides.

Besides that primary track Piranha 3D includes a Linear PCM 2.0 track encoded at 1.5Mbps which sounds quite impressive for a stereo mix while there is also a much weaker Audio Descriptive track encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 256kbps. While I can understand there is a limited audience for this track, the 256kbps encoding sounds very dull indeed and if there is space on the disc it should have been encoded with a higher bitrate. Subtitles are provided in English and have been encoded with differen colours according to who is speaking at the time.

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Ving Rhames as Deputy Fallon.
While there isn't an extensive list of extras what is here far exceeded expectations.

Audio Commentary with Director and Producer: Writer/Director/Producer Alexandre Aja, and Producers Grégory Levasseur and Alix Taylor provide and interesting commentary which provides plenty of detail about this fairly low-budget production. It's certainly worth a listen if you enjoyed the film, and want to know more detail about the entire production.

Making of Piranha Documentary (2:09:23): Expecting a rather dodgy EPK styled documentary this was a massive surprise on the disc with a comprehensive, detailed documentary covering all areas of production that runs for just under 130 minutes. Not only does it include plenty of interviews with the cast and crew, but is well produced and a brilliant watch.

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Steven R. McQueen (center) as Jake Forester in Piranha 3D.
Deleted Scenes (7:19/HD): Six deleted scenes are presented here. A couple could have been kept in the movie as they were decent enough, however a couple of others were best dropped out.

Theatrical 3D Trailer (2:02): The Theatrical Trailer for the film which includes a couple of scenes cut from the final film. It also contains a couple of big spoilers.

If you're simply looking for a deep script, dramatic moments and brilliant acting then Piranha 3D is a pretty terrible film. If you're after some of the most entertaining cinema from the last year with plenty of gore and nudity then you should love this release. The transfer is pretty good and the extras package far exceeds what this release deserves which is great to see. All-in-all Piranha 3D is going to be a guilty pleasure, and probably will for many other movie goers too.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.