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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

82






Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 88 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Elizabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Jerry O’Connell, Ving Rhames, Jessica Szohr, Steven R. McQueen, Christopher Lloyd, Richard Dreyfuss, Kelly Brooks, Dina Meyer
Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Music by: Michael Wandmacher
Written by: Peter Goldfinger & Josh Stolberg
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 11, 2011







"There’s something in the water. Don’t scream, just swim"



Film Synopsis:


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 areas new razor-toothed residents.





My Take:


Every year the population of sleepy Lake Victoria explodes from 5,000 to 50,000 for Spring Break, a riot of sun and drunken fun. But this year, there's something more to worry about than hangovers and complaints from local old timers; a new type of terror is about to be cut loose on Lake Victoria. 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 areas new razor-toothed residents.

Obviously there is no need for an in-depth plot breakdown as this one pretty much says it all in the title. I vividly remember the stir that Jaws created and the feeling of utter fright at going anywhere near a beach (let alone going into the water!). Of course I was eleven years old at the time and pretty affected by it. By the time the first Piranha film came along in 1978 I was fourteen and not easily impressed by a school of killer fish immerging from the depths. Being so young I wasn‘t able to fully appreciate Piranha’s satirical homage to Jaws. Seeing it years later I came to see it in a different light.

Piranha 3D is a remake that is executed in an exploitation style narrative that is an ode to that original film. Director Alexandre Aja’s passion for the subject material is obvious. This film definitely has that old drive-in triple feature gore fest so bad it’s good feel to it. The plot and characters are analogous in that neither offers much depth or substance. Introductions are brief and things jump right into what expect to see when you come to see a film like this. Blood, carnage, gratuitous nudity and bad acting. Going in expecting anything else will only leave you disappointed. The things that make Piranha so “bad” are exactly the things that make it fun to watch. It provides an entertaining level of escapism that only requires that you sit back and watch. The screenplay has a mild level of dark humor that may go over the heads of some but will be appreciated by those who catch it. There is a teeny bit of romance and a little campy heroism but it never gets in the way of the fun. This film’s theme is perfectly suited for 3D and boy it takes full advantage of it. There are flying body parts, razor sharp teeth, thrown objects, shaking boobs, gyrating booties, and sprayed blood that are meant to bring viewers closer to the action. The majority of those effects are apropos in that they are carried out within the film’s excessive and garish style which sort of adds to its appeal.

Shallow or not the characters are likeable enough. The primary cast consists of several familiar faces and features cameos by screen veterans Richard Dreyfuss (who opens the film with “show me the way to go home”) and Christopher Lloyd. The roster of lovely ladies includes Elizabeth Shue (who somehow manages to look better with age) and my girl Dina Meyer, who had way to small of a role (but I’ll take what I can get) and British actress Kelly Brooks who has the type of sultry good looks that draws your attention every time she is onscreen. Jerry O’Connell provided the films comic relief while poor Ving Rhames went another step toward destroying his tough guy image by playing a hapless deputy. Piranha isn’t just your run of the mill B-movie, it is a well conceived and executed exploitation film that is obviously a project born out of passion for director Alexandre Aja who re-creates much of the campy thrills and crass excitement that made those old “bad” horror movies so much fun.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 86


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 84


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:



3D Presentation: 78


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Depth (Onscreen):

  • Dimension (Beyond the screen):

  • Realism:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Color reproduction:

Piranha 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.

The is a good 2D high definition video presentation that falls just shy of the better offerings that I have seen on day and date Blu-ray releases from Sony. I found the image to have plenty of luster and clarity so that details were easily discernible. Dimensionality and apparent resolution were rarely questionable in close ups but it varied in some of the longer range shots. The film contains mostly bright exterior and sun drenched scenery with only the occasional interior/low level underwater shots. It appeared as though there was some filtering applied that tended to cast a golden hue over the image. There were a variety of colors used which included exaggerated shades of red, blue, and yellow. Colors were vivid and well saturated which made them visually appealing and warm. Contrast and brightness were pumped up to the point where it adversely impacted the perception of detail. The bright and sunny exterior shots, of which there are many, looked washed out. Whites had little to no definable characteristics and appeared excessively hot. I noticed that the combination of high contrast, filtering and bold color textures made the video sometimes appear overly processed and unnatural. Flesh tones were adversely affected and looked either pasty white or sun tan golden and warm. Black levels had good extension which helped give the underwater and interior sequences noticeable but limited depth. In reality this video presentation wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. The outcome while not perfect made for a satisfying high definition viewing experience.

As I alluded to earlier Piranha in 3D makes definitive use of the 3D platform but with a noticeable emphasis on cheesy effects that are obvious attempts at garnering audience reaction via objects coming out of the screen etc. In general I found that with that in mind the 3D performance was fairly successful. Looking at it in terms of realistic depth, dimension and virtual cohesiveness the results are a mixed bag. There are instances where near field objects/people appear noticeably disproportionate in size to the static background which can be distracting. This can be seen in the sequence when the male and female diver are swimming toward the camera into the underwater crevice below. Another example occurs in chapter 10 (around 52:00) as the boat pulls from the island. When there is no use of the “in your face” 3D effects the video offers fair individual separation of the elements onscreen although perceivable depth varies with the camera’s perspective. I saw some signs of ghosting in the opening of chapter 4 (The palm trees in the distance) and later on the desk lamp in Christopher Lloyd’s lab. Comparing brightness and color reproduction I saw little to no difference between the 3D and 2D presentations. The rendering of detail and clarity was similar as well although I would give the slightest edge to the 3D version. The fact that this film was specifically made with 3D as part of its (overtly campy) theme probably made for a better experience than it would have with a different type of film. Like the 2D presentation, this isn’t perfect but it manages to satisfy just the same.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix does a nice job rendering the film’s soundtrack. Dialogue has excellent intonation and clarity which allows even subtle changes in vocal pitch to be appreciable. This is a well balanced audio presentation that quite often engages the entire system. Dynamic range is excellent and the soundstage has an open expression that allows its elements to extend well into the room. The front channels are seamlessly integrated with the surrounds tightly infused to create an immersive and stable soundstage. This mix creates a two dimensional sound field that comes alive during the underwater and killer fish feeding frenzy sequences. There is lots of rich atmospheric ambience, involving near field sound effects, and robust dynamics that feed the thumping techno rhythms that energize the room. The LFE channel is frequently active and reproduces the film’s music and extended lower bass frequencies with visceral impact that has excellent tactility. An overall great sounding audio presentation.

** It should be noted that the overall rating at the top of this review is an average of the audio and 3D presentations. The video rating for 2D quality is provided but not factored in. **





Bonus Features:

  • 2D version of Piranha

  • Commentary by director/producer Alexandre Aja, producer Gregory Levasseur, and producer Alix Taylor

  • (HD) Don’t scream, just swim - Behind the scenes of Piranha 3D (ten featurettes):

    1. Welcome to Piranha - 3 minutes
    2. Aja, cast and story - 16 minutes
    3. Lake Victoria - 15 minutes
    4. Spring break - 21 minutes
    5. Blood and gore - 15 minutes
    6. Special FX and stunts - 22 minutes
    7. The music - 9 minutes
    8. Piranha and visual FX - 17 minutes
    9. Why 3D? - 6 minutes
    10. Last bites - 3 minutes
  • BD-Live enabled





Final Thoughts:


Piranha 3D is a remake of the 1978 Roger Corman classic. It certainly isn’t high class cinema however it is a well conceived and executed exploitation B-Movie that is obviously a project born out of passion for director Alexandre Aja who re-creates much of the campy thrills and crass excitement that made those old “bad” horror movies so much fun. It swims onto Blu-ray featuring technically satisfying 3D video quality, excellent lossless surround sound and a well rounded assortment of bonus supplements from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Piranha isn’t a film for everyone but once you’ve seen it you might just like it more than you’re willing to admit. Give a spin and see.














Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Samsung BD-C7900 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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read about the cast, I went "huh?! what?!" Then I read your review. I may have to rent this one. Sometimes I get in the mood for these types of movies, and the cast looks great. Sounds like it is good one.

Thanks for the review, Ralph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffer65 /forum/post/19796843


read about the cast, I went "huh?! what?!" Then I read your review. I may have to rent this one. Sometimes I get in the mood for these types of movies, and the cast looks great. Sounds like it is good one.

Thanks for the review, Ralph.

Greetings,


Sure thing.



Regards,
 

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Thanks Ralph. I assume you dont count ghosting against the score since that is a display issue? I also see ghosting to some degree on most blu ray 3ds I have watched on my 40, but DLP users report time and time again that ghosting is non-existent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe /forum/post/19797053


Thanks Ralph. I assume you dont count ghosting against the score since that is a display issue? I also see ghosting to some degree on most blu ray 3ds I have watched on my 40, but DLP users report time and time again that ghosting is non-existent.

Greetings,


Todd, I rarely see it on my setup but feel that I should mention it since I can't be certain as to the extent of it being strictly display related, disc related or a combination.



Regards,
 

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Thanks for the review, Ralph. This is a definite blind buy for me (the 2D version). I can't wait.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts /forum/post/19797186


Greetings,


Todd, I rarely see it on my setup but feel that I should mention it since I can't be certain as to the extent of it being strictly display related, disc related or a combination.



Regards,

Sounds good, thanks



I just wish we could rent 3d blu rays..........I would like to see this, but dont want to buy it since it most likely would be a one and done for me
Maybe at some point soon 3d blu ray rental will be a reality.
 

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I have this one pre-ordered. Looking forward to some cheesy 3D!


Ralph,


Are you going to review Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D? I've heard some good & bad about the 3D in that one.
 

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My husband and I had a GREAT time at the midnight showing of this the day it opened. The "Viewmaster" effect screamed, "conversion," but they did a pretty good job. From this review, it sounds like the Blu-Ray does equally well. I may just have to pick this one up. If for no other reason than the naked women swimming around puts my husband "in the mood" and I always love him when the mood hits. ;-p
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by barb1978
My husband and I had a GREAT time at the midnight showing of this the day it opened. The "Viewmaster" effect screamed, "conversion," but they did a pretty good job. From this review, it sounds like the Blu-Ray does equally well. I may just have to pick this one up. If for no other reason than the naked women swimming around puts my husband "in the mood" and I always love him when the mood hits. ;-p
I almost spit out my coffee LOL.
 

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With all the "unrated" versions of movies on disc, I am surprised this limit-pushing movie did not have such a promotional approach...
 

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Many of the cheesy B-movie horror flicks like this one fair better with me than the more serious ones. The so-called serious horror movies are rarely scary or fun so based on this review I will be checking Piranha out as a rental first, with the option to buy later!
 

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I feel like you must have had to live through the drive-in 3d horror movie era to appreciate this one. It honestly fell quite flat with me, and I typically reserve a place in my heart for camp horror.
 

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I actually enjoyed this film. I really like the first one and I really enjoyed this one, saw it in 3D in the theaters and have mine coming tomorrow. I think they did a good job and I think it's much better than some of the awful horror films that have come out in the past 5 years.
 

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Nice review. This sounds like a good genre film. In my queue!
 

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I've found that many instances of ghosting and double images are due to the actual disc rather than the display. For instance Avatar is just perfect in every way, where this has noticeable ghosting in several scenes.


It's definitely the transfer.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cackus Jack /forum/post/19804808


I've found that many instances of ghosting and double images are due to the actual disc rather than the display. For instance Avatar is just perfect in every way, where this has noticeable ghosting in several scenes.


It's definitely the transfer.

If you are sure, then list the timecode listings, so those with DLP sets can confirm one way or the other.


A number of things can effect ghosting, but the display device is typically the biggest factor. AVC/MVC decoders have exact standards, and shouldn't be prone to ghosting. On the other hand, displays WILL have ghosting under the right conditions. It's not an "if". LCD/LEDs have the worst crosstalk, plasmas not as bad, followed by DLPs with almost zero ghosting.


Over in one of the AVS 3D sections, there's a selection of test images one can download so one can see how much ghosting is in their given system.
 
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