Piranha Blu-ray 3D Review
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4 (2D); MVC (Full HD 3D)
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Rating: R
- Region: A
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Sony
- Blu-ray Release Date: January 11, 2011
- List Price: $29.97
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
At first glance, Piranha seems like a modern update of Jaws, but upon closer inspection any similarities to Jaws are purely superficial, despite a cameo by Richard Dreyfuss. What Piranha is, is pure exploitation. This film exists purely for the gratuitous nudity and gore. In fact, director Alexandre Aja states flat out in the behind-the-scenes supplements on this disc that he merely wanted to see some boobs jumping off the screen in 3D.
On that point, Piranha certainly hits its target, and Aja is successful at creating a film for his target audience – pubescent teen boys. There are plenty of 3D boobs to go around and even a sexually-charged sequence of two women swimming naked underwater, that is actually quite nicely filmed and works very well in 3D.
The story, thin as it may be, revolves around an underground tremor that frees a slew prehistoric piranha in an underwater cave that, of course, wreak havoc on the nubile young revelers taking spring break at the lake. The climactic scene is filled with plenty of hematological spray; it’s like an orgy of fake blood and amputated body parts.
Somehow, the filmmakers managed to put together a cast of pretty good actors for this oddly exploitative film. Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas) is the sheriff and Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction) her deputy fighting off the rash of piranha, and Steven R. McQueen (TV’s The Vampire Diaries) is the sheriff’s son., caught on a boat on the lake with a film crew for Wild Wild Girls (think: Girls Gone Wild)
Piranha is one of the better 2D-to-3D conversions I have seen to date. Its 2D encoding, in AVC/MPEG-4, framed at 2.35:1, displays a vivid, candy-colored palette, particularly in the beach scenes, that looks like a bag of skittles gone wild. Of course, reds pop nicely. Overall detail is sharp and there is thin coat of grain that imparts a slight film-like appearance.
The 3D effect is rather good for a conversion. There is a good level of front to back depth of field and a surprising amount of pop-out for a conversion, particularly in the scene where the two naked women swim underwater. This is definitely no Clash of the Titans, which was just an awful rush job of a conversion.
Piranha has an aggressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless mix in which the surround channels are actively engaged throughout most of the film with atmospheric and discrete sound effects. Dialogue is clean, although it sometimes gets a bit buried in the fray of sound effects. There is a wide dynamic range and extended low frequencies that will give the ol’ sub a healthy workout.
You’ll want to watch the solidly produced behind-the-scenes featurette to get a good amount of information on the film and its production, especially if you are averse to listening to audio commentaries.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Commentary with Producer/Director Alexandre Aja, Producer Grégory Levasseur & Production Alex Taylor
- Don’t Scream, Just Swim: Behind-the-Scenes of Piranha 3D (1.78:1; 1080i/60):
- Welcome to Piranha
- Aja, Cast & Story
- Lake Victoria
- Spring Break
- Blood & Gore
- Special FX & Stunts
- The Music
- Piranha & Visual FX
- Why 3D?
- Last Bites
- BD Live
The Definitive Word
It’s odd, it’s campy, and it’s full of gore and naked women in 3D. There’s not much ,more to say about Piranha, other than it does exactly what its filmmakers intended. It provides a good 3D experience, but the film is certainly not for everyone.
Additional Screen Captures:
Tags: 3D, AVC/MPEG-4, Blu-ray 3D, Dimension Films, DTS-HD Master Audio, Elisabeth Shue, Full HD 3D, Horror, Jerry O'Connell, Kelly Brook, MVC, Piranha, Richard Dreyfuss, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Ving Rhames