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November 1, 2012
Piranha 3DD Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
N/A26/10/2012Village RoadshowJohn Gulager
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Danielle Panabaker

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Danielle Panabaker stars in Piranha 3DD.

Imagine this. You make a film, it costs $24 million to make and it then makes over triple that with $83 million at the worldwide box office. Impressive stuff. So what do you do when it comes to a sequel. Give it a $5 million production budget? You wouldn't think so as bigger and better could lead to great things, but that's what happened with Piranha 3DD with the film studios dramatically slashing the budget, and despite the slick trailer, the promise of 3D and more fun this film isn't a patch on the original sadly. Still, there has to be some redeeming features right?

One year on from the events at Lake Victoria and that community has been destroyed by a quarantine, publicity from the event, and extermination of the piranha's and poisoning of the lake as a result. But the question remains, will the piranha's appear anywhere else? An all new water park, called the "Big Wet", is about to open but when the owner decided to pump water in from a deep underground river, and despite several warnings, he gets more then he bargains for...

While Alexandre Aja's Piranha 3D was witty, humorous, shocking, sexy and a well-produced film, this sequel lacks almost all of those attributes. John Gulager, whose previous credits include the Feast trilogy, is now in the director’s chair - but the results are less than satisfactory. Of course the writers have a lot to answer to as well with little in the way of character development, little in the way of plotlines, only a couple of shocking (and humorous moments), and a general lack of spark.

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Piranha 3DD has some gory moments.
At one point The Hoff states "Once these idiots get out of the water, it's not as if the fish are going to follow them home." and that's part of the problem with this film. Being set in a theme park - why don't the people swimming just get out of the water immediately. It also means there's only a few minutes of carnage and no possibility of setting up sequences similar to the original film on the boats, the floating stage or similar.

In fact, the only thing that drags this film up from a complete and utter train wreck are the impressive cameos from Ving Rhames (who is the most impressive in the film - and apparently didn't die at the end of the last film), Gary Busey (who has a woefully inadequate cameo), Christopher Lloyd (who reprises his role as Carl Goodman), and David Hasselhoff who, yes, plays a lifeguard and who plays up to his real-life persona perfectly and has some of the films best moments.

One thing that really amazed with this film is the runtime at 82 minutes it's surprisingly short - but when the credits started to roll at 71 minutes we did a double take. Yes, this film is shorter than most CG films. Not only that but the 11 minutes of credits are interspersed with outtakes - it's bad enough to have them as extras on a DVD or Blu-Ray release, but to use them to extend a films runtime, unless you're Jackie Chan quality, is preposterous.

Piranha 3DD is a bitterly disappointing film. No, it's not the worst we've ever seen, but it's not a patch on the brilliant original (well, Piranha 3D, not the 1970's films). A bitter disappointment compared to what should have been...

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Set in a theme park Piranha 3DD is a bad movie...
Piranha 3DD has been released on a single Blu-Ray disc, but contains both the 3D and 2D version of the films on the single disc with the player automatically selecting the viewing format depending on your system setup. Both versions are presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the 2D presentation using the AVC MPEG-4 codec with a pretty high bitrate that allows the bright colours around the water park to pop, and fine detail to remain evident.

Looking at the 3D there are certainly some moments in this film where the effect is well used and will have you in stiches. Indeed Piranha 3DD was filmed natively in 3D so it always looks impressive in that regard. We certainly suggest that if you have a 3DTV, your first viewing experience for this film be in 3D.

Piranha 3DD comes to Blu-Ray with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which generally sounds quite good with clear dialogue and audio although it is a little front heavy at times, although the surround sound channels do kick in when required. The sub-woofer is a little subdued too - even when the music kicks in. It gets the job done, but isn't a movie to showcase your sound system.

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The Hoff is a highlight in Piranha 3DD.
The only other audio track is an Audio Description track encoded in a rather paltry Dolby Digital 2.0 track a 224kbps. It's pretty disappointing that those needing the audio descriptive tracks miss out on the surround sound experience.

There is only one English Caption (subtitle) track. We sampled it at various points in the film and it was accurate to the dialogue and sounds.

The original Piranha 3D Blu-Ray included a great audio commentary and superb documentary which ran for over 2 hours. Besides some fluff pieces, the only decent extra here is the audio commentary.

Audio Commentary: This audio commentary includes comments from Director John Gulager, writer Marcus Dunstan and Producer Joel Soisson. There are some occasional moments of interest, and the guys keep it pretty lively, but it's not the greatest track you'll ever hear.

Deleted Scenes (2:26): Three deleted scenes are presented here including "Big Dave's Bong" (0:50), "Big Dave & The Jet" (0:12) and "Big Dave & The Pump" (1:24). None of these scenes are of any real worth to the film, or to the disc as extras.

The Story behind DD (7:49/HD): A promotional fluff piece with plenty of film footage and actors saying how "great" the film is and what it was like to work with certain actors before gushing about the director.

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OK, so, we won't spoil this bath scene.
The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff (2:09): A brief look at The Hoff mucking around on-set and, well not much else.

Busey's Bloopers (2:04): Gary Busey talks to the cameras and rambles on and mucks around.

Wet and Wild with David Koechner (1:36): Guess what, another fluff piece with an actor rambling on about next to nothing.

A Lesson with John McEnroe - A Dimension Short Film (3:53): This has absolutely nothing to do with man-eating fish, but is a short film featuring the tennis great. It's amusing in part, but why?

Piranha 3DD is a phenomenal letdown compared to the fantastic original and while there are a couple of scares and amusing moments that doesn't make this a great film. In fact, it's probably one to avoid or rent at best (perhaps only for the 3D).

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.