Tasteless Blood-lust Garners Rave Reviews
Yahoo! news describes it as “Bloody Awesome,” HitFix.com lauds it for being “exactly what 3D should be,” and The Hollywood Reporter dubs it “a pitch-perfect guilty pleasure.” What is this classic in the making? No… It may not be the next Citizen Kane, but Piranha 3D has the critics raving nonetheless.
The premise of Piranha 3D is simple: In the words of Director Alexandre Aja himself, interviewed by Todd Gilchrist, Piranha 3D was meant to “take the sex and the gore over the top, and cross all of the lines that it could cross.” And the critical response to this tasteless, campy thriller: overwhelmingly positive, with even the finicky RottenTomatoes.com giving it an 80 percent fresh rating.
“Despicable Me” Wins in the Box Office, but lags behind in Critical Acclaim
Which, amazingly, puts Piranha 3D‘s critical response ahead of the heartwarming 3-D hit Despicable Me, which came out on July 9 and has already gleaned $230 million at the box office, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. Although Piranha 3D has a long way to go to catch up with Despicable Me, having reaped only $10 million so far this weekend, the shockingly positive critical response raises questions about the newly burgeoning 3-D genre.
Two Choices for the 3D Genre
There are two possibilities for the future of 3-D. On one hand, the 3-D theater could continue doing what films like Despicable Me have done, and serve to add a little flair to mainstream animation films that could have easily made it on the 2-D screen. On the other hand, 3-D movies could take full advantage of their visual capacities and base themselves entirely around the thrills afforded by the 3-D screen, as opposed to more traditional characteristics, like storyline and acting.
The reality is that, for most movies, 3-D isn’t necessary. Objects flying at the audience feel tacked on in films that are ultimately driven by plot and dialog. Take Despicable Me‘s only genuine 3-D scene, in which the viewer is taken for a roller coaster ride in first person. Was it fun? Yes. Did it contribute to the movie? Not at all — I wanted to get out of the amusement park and get on with Despicable Me‘s delightful story.
“Piranha 3D:” the Future of 3-D Viewing
This is a problem that Piranha 3D will certainly not face; unlike Despicable Me, Piranha 3D doesn’t have an identity problem. It knows that 3-D theaters are meant to thrill, not to warm the heart or brighten the mind. And, with Piranha 3D‘s single-minded devotion to campy indulgence, it has managed to do exactly what 3-D movies should have done all along: pushed the limits of the genre.
So Piranha 3D may well be the future of 3-D movies, but don’t fret: Kid-friendly classic will always have their place; they just won’t be in the 3-D theater. While screen after theater screen will be occupied by such mundane, 2-D pursuits like plot, dialog, and character development, there will be one over-sized theater throwing maddened piranhas and multi-dimensional boobies at its audience, which really isn’t such a bad thing.
1. Christy Lemire, Review: ‘Piranha 3D’ is Bloody Awesome, Yahoo! news
2. Drew McWeeny, Review: ‘Piranha 3D’ redefines what 3D should be, HitFix.com
3. Michael Rechtshaffen, ‘Piranha 3D’– Film Review, The Hollywood Reporter
4. Todd Gilchrist, Interview: ‘Piranha 3D’ director Alexandre Aja, Cinematical
5. Despicable Me, Box Office Mojo
6. Piranha 3D, Box Office Mojo