Things I Learned from Movie X:
Piranha 3D

By Edwin Davies

March 17, 2011

Those fish hate Gossip Girl!

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The culture of recycling old ideas has become so pervasive in Hollywood that it takes something really special to stand out, for a film to not only match the quality of its source but actually better it. Some remakes try to distinguish themselves from the original by focusing on different aspects of the story, whilst others are content just to replicate the key story beats with a more modern sensibility. Piranha 3D does something different. Rather than try to recreate the original, it takes the sleazy, exploitative sensibility of the earlier film - a blatant Jaws rip-off directed by Joe Dante and written by Walter Salles, two men whose respective filmographies are well worth investigating - and amps it up to a ludicrous extreme. Alexandre Aja takes the idea of a small town being terrorised by a species of vicious, flesh-eating Piranhas just as a horde of young, sexy folk have descended on the town for Spring Break and uses it to stage sequences of gore and violence that are very much in the spirit of the original, but take things further than even B-movie legend Roger Corman could have imagined. School might be out, but lessons can still be learned from Piranhas 3D, lessons like...

Finally, a film that understands the artistic possibilities offered by 3D breasts

Since the current 3D revival started, Hollywood has been telling us that 3D is not a gimmick any more, but a genuine form of artistic expression that allows film-makers to immerse their audience in the story more than ever before. Frankly, that's a load of horseshit. 3D is a cheap trick designed to inflate the cost of already over-priced tickets. Unlike so many 3D films, Piranha is upfront and honest about how it uses 3D as nothing more than an opportunity for silly jokes, ludicrous gore and gratuitous, multi-dimensional nudity. Admittedly, James Cameron also realized this when he decided to re-release Avatar complete with the giant blue cat-people 3D sex scene that the world had been clamoring for, but Piranha 3D really goes all out. I haven't done the math, but I'd say that at least half of the running time is spent looking at nubile young bodies, both barely clad and unclad.


It's kind of a shame that the film wasn't a bigger hit, because I could imagine that for a whole generation of teenage boys it would have been a cultural touchstone, a film that, with its plentiful supply of breasts, ushered them into manhood the same way that Fast Times At Ridgemont High did for people in the '80s. And, for a handful of very special teenage boys, the moment when a severed penis floated out over the audience in all its shredded glory would have been the moment when they started on their own personal journey towards being the Ed Geins and Jeffrey Dahmers of the future.

Always follow Pavement's advice on personal grooming

A few weeks ago, I got a haircut. This has never been a big deal in the past because I've always had pretty short hair, but this came at the end of a six-month experiment with having longish hair, one that ended when I realized that, no, it was not going to reach a point at which it would look good, and I was just going to look more and more like one of The Monkees. No, not even one of The Monkees. Some guy who auditioned to be in The Monkees but was rejected because they couldn't have two British guys in the group.

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