Piranha [2010] (9/4/12)

Piranha 3-DMovie Two Hundred Six

Piranha has, what else, piranhas attacking a lake during spring break.

A fisherman (played by Richard Dreyfuss in a glaring Jaws homage) on Lake Victoria is disturbed by an earthquake that unleashes whirlpool and a prehistoric relative of the piranha who promptly tear him to shreds. Spring break on the lake is ramping up as the piranha continue to eat everyone they can. Throw in a parody of Girls Gone Wild and as much T&A as possible, oh and some scientists…I mean, who else is going to stop these piranhas?! So it’s up to the sheriff (Elizabeth Shue) and seismology expert (Adam Scott) to save the day. *note: the plot synopsis on Wikipedia is WAY too long for a movie like this*

I’m not above movies like Piranha (aka Piranha 3D, apparently), but I also kind of hate that movies like this exist and people pay money to see them. Poor Richard Dreyfuss, who looks terrible by the way, does he need a paycheck that badly? It’s not that I hated the film, I was expecting stupid and Piranha certainly delivers stupid but it also delivers nudity, violence, and even a few laughs. It’s a dumb movie that knows it’s a dumb movie and has a bit of fun but it’s also pointless. I’ll also say that I was shocked that no extras were killed during the massacre in the finale. I was really expecting a spring breaker to fall and kill themselves or get run over by a boat or something.

Reasons to see Piranha:

  1. You like seeing nudity and don’t realize the Internet exists
  2. You like horrible CGI fish
  3. You like CGI penises (IN 3D!!!)  being eaten by fish
  4. You like cameos from Richard Dreyfuss and Christopher Lloyd
  5. You want to see every actor in a film totally phoning it in
  6. You like spring break on falsified lakes
  7. You’ve always wondered just how annoying Jerry O’Connell can be
  8. You like saying “piranha”

Yeah, that’s about all I can come up with.

I give it 2 mangled leg effects (warning, kind of graphic) out of 5.

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Jaws (5/14/12) and (8/23/12)

JawsMovie One Hundred Eighteen and Movie One Hundred Ninety Six

Out of those of you that have seen Jaws, how many are still ill at ease for swimming in the ocean?

It’s the beginning of July on popular beach town of Amity Island in New England and there is monster lurking in the water. The town is whipped into a frenzy as people become victims of shark attacks and the mayor demands that the beaches stay open. When the shark attacks continue and they realize the problem will only get worse, police chief Brody (Roy Scheider) calls in a shark expert, Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), charter a boat and its captain, Quinn (Robert Shaw).

To me, Jaws is the perfect monster movie. It’s believable but terrifying. Some may contest the view and argue that it doesn’t even qualify as a horror movie, but consider the shark itself. It doesn’t care who it kills, it’s not killing for any purpose (you could say that it’s feeding, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case) other than territoriality, it’s nearly invincible, it’s enormous, it’s unrelenting, and most of all, it’s a real animal that we can all know of. Considering Jaws is based loosely on a string of shark attacks that happened in an inland creek in Matawan, New Jersey, I think Jaws hits even harder.

Some of you may notice that in addition to watching movies I also enjoy reading and the novel Jaws by Peter Benchley is one I heartily recommend. There are actually quite a few differences, mostly in the character developments, but the soul of the novel gushes from the screen in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation. Considering the age of the film and the technical difficulties presented in the animatronic shark (dubbed “Bruce” by the crew), Jaws is truly a marvel, even today.

When I was younger, two movies left their impressions on me so deep that I am still very weary of the ocean, even though I love it. The first was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – the giant squid literally scared the crap out of me as a kid. The second was Jaws and to this day it remains one of my favorites.

I give it 5 comparing scars out of 5.

[Update]

I had the pleasure of watching the newly restored version of Jaws on the big screen and it was, in one word, stunning. The restoration done is subtle but brilliant. The colors are bright and vibrant and the sound was thunderous. Jaws has never looked or sounded better and the restored version is available on blu-ray too. Over the years, I have seen Jaws numerous times and seeing it as it was meant to be seen was a truly new experience for me. Knowing what was going to happen and when, had no effect on me. Every scare was fresh and I even jumped several times. The tension of the film was like I had never experienced and it made this rewatch of Jaws something I will never forget.

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