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John Gulager
Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, David Koechner, Chris Zylka, Katrina Bowden, Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd, David Hasselhoff
Writing Credits:
Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, Joel Soisson, Pete Goldfinger (characters), Josh Stolberg (characters)

No Body Is Safe.

Prepare for double the action, double the terror and double the D’s. The prehistoric school of bloodthirsty piranhas are back and this time, no one is safe from the flesh-eating fish as they sink their razor sharp teeth into the visitors of summer’s best attraction, The Big Wet Water Park.

Box Office:
$20 million.
Opening Weekend
$182.237 thousand on 86 screens.
Domestic Gross
$370.904 thousand.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 83 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 9/4/2012

• Audio Commentary with Director John Gulager, Producer Joel Soisson and Co-Writer Marcus Dunstan
• Three Deleted Scenes
• “The Story Behind DD” Featurette
• “The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff” Featurette
• “Busey’s Bloopers”
• “Wet and Wild with David Koechner” Featurette
• “A Lesson with John McEnroe” Short Film
• Previews
• DVD Copy
• 3D Blu-ray Copy


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Piranha 3DD [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 17, 2012)

When I reviewed 2010’s Piranha, I referred to it as “half boring and half nauseating.” So why did I decide to give 2012’s Piranha 3DD a look? The prospect of boobies – lots and lots of boobies.

Set a year after the first movie’s events, a faux newscast gives us a recap of the piranha-based feeding frenzy that translated into spring break horror at the now-abandoned Lake Victoria. The hungry fishies move on and relocate to Cross Lake in Arizona, where they devour a couple of hapless farmers (Gary Busey and Clu Gulager).

From there we shift to the Big Wet, an Arizona water park. New majority owner Chet (David Koechner) overrides the concerns of minority owner Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) – also his stepdaughter – to make the place more hedonistic. Apparently all the pulchritude attracts the piranhas, as they flock to the Big Wet and threaten to eat all of the young hotties they can find.

Though one might expect a sequel to go even bigger than its predecessor, that doesn’t occur for 3DD. Everything gets toned down here, especially in terms of violence. Piranha was so graphic that it actually made me sick to my stomach, but no such nausea results from the sequel. While it shows a lot of blood and chomping, we don't get the relentless level of super-explicit bodily harm.

For me, that factor makes 3DD a more watchable film, but I can’t say it turns this into a better film. Indeed, 3DD comes with many of the original’s flaws but doesn’t do anything to improve on the model. Though it’s not as campy and extreme, it’s just as boring.

Actually, it might even be less interesting than the original because it lacks even the rudimentary exposition found in Piranha. Yes, we get a little more detail/information than what I provide in my basic plot synopsis, but not a lot. I can’t give you much more about the characters or situations because there’s nothing to tell; “fish kill at water park” pretty much provides all that you need.

That’s just not enough to carry a feature film, even one as abbreviated as 3DD. And believe me – this is a really short movie. Though it comes with an 83-minute running time, the credits occupy the last 12 minutes, so it actually ends around 71 minutes.

Though I’m glad 3DD isn’t as disgusting as the original, I suspect that’ll be a negative for the earlier flick’s fans. A certain audience enjoyed the graphic gore of Piranha, so I expect they’ll greet the sequel’s much less bloody action with disappointment.

We also get a whole lot less nudity this time. Piranha’s one saving grace came from its surfeit of skin, whereas this one lacks nearly as much pulchritude. Yeah, we still find a few good shots, but these are a lot less frequent.

All of this leaves me perplexed as to who 3DD will make happy. It comes with the narrative/character flaws of the original but lacks that film’s relative positives. Gore fans won’t like it, but it’s still too bloody to make others happy – and it’s just too darned boring to be entertaining. I’m glad that I didn’t feel like I needed to hurl when this one ended, but that’s the only positive I can attach to this dull, inane adventure.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Piranha 3DD appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a generally solid presentation.

Overall sharpness was fine. Underwater shots could be a little soft, but those weren’t a significant issue – and they were almost unavoidable given the setting. Most of the time, the image was concise and accurate. Outside of some fake TV footage at the start – with added “scan lines” – I saw no signs of jaggies or shimmering, and print flaws remained absent.

Like the first film, the hues tended toward either a bit of a bluish or amber tint. These didn’t look great, but that was due to the stylistic/photographic choices, not because of the transfer. The colors were fine for what they attempted. Blacks seemed dense and dark, and shadows showed good delineation. Nothing here dazzled, but this was a more than competent Blu-ray presentation.

I also felt pretty pleased with the generally active DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of 3DD. As expected, the many action scenes offered the highest level of information. The fish swarmed around the room in a convincing manner, and these scenes added punch to the package. The mix showed a good sense of natural environment and created a solid auditory setting.

Sound quality was also positive. Speech seemed distinctive and accurate, without edginess or other concerns. Music was vivid and full, while effects demonstrated nice dimensionality and power. As with the visuals, this ended up as a strong presentation.

When we shift to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director John Gulager, producer Joel Soisson and co-writer Marcus Dunstan. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story areas, photography and effects, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, effects, and a few other topics.

Though it starts a bit slowly, the commentary picks up steam before long and turns into a pretty peppy chat. The guys keep things moving at a good rate and deliver facts with humor. This becomes a satisfying chat.

Three Deleted Scenes fill a total of two minutes, 34 seconds. All three focus on the comedic “Big Dave” character and mostly give us extensions of existing scenes. None of them add much, so they’re forgettable.

A few short featurettes follow. We find The Story Behind DD (7:49), The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff (2:09), Busey’s Bloopers (2:04) and Wet and Wild with David Koechner (1:37). Across these, we hear from Gulager, and actors Danielle Panabaker, David Hasselhoff, Gary Busey, and David Koechner. “Story” gives us some basics about plot, characters, and cast, while the other three offer comedic chats with the actors. None of these add up to much, as they’re all silly and forgettable.

Finally, we get a short film entitled A Lesson with John McEnroe. It goes for three minutes, 53 seconds and shows a match between McEnroe and a spoiled brat named Dexter Johnson (Michael Ratner). Why does this comedy short show up here? Because Ratner – who also wrote/directed “Lesson” – was the creator of the disc’s “making of” piece. “Lesson” offers minor entertainment at best.

The disc opens with ads for Scream 4, The Zombie Diaries 2: World of the Dead, and Piranha 3DD: The Game. No trailer for 3DD appears here.

In addition, we get two extra discs. One provides a standard retail DVD copy of 3DD, while the other offers a Blu-ray 3D version of the film.

If you liked 2010’s Piranha, will you enjoy 2012’s Piranha 3DD? Probably not, as it tones down the original’s gore and nudity. If you disliked Piranha, will the sequel appeal to you? Also probably not, as this one seems too slow and boring to attract an audience. The Blu-ray comes with very good picture and audio as well as a mix of supplements highlighted by a fun commentary. The movie doesn’t work but this is a good release.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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