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Sunday, 23 January 2011

Piranha 3D - The Final Verdict!


As promised, Paul and I sat down earlier this week to watch his DVD of Piranha 3D, which is exactly the sort of "sleazy, crass and exploitative" movie that respected film critic Mark Kermode says the gimmickry of 3D was originally created for.

This Jaws-inspired B-movie tale of prehistoric killer fish rampaging through a lakeside community of party people is so schlocky that, in another life, it would have been the perfect movie for a drive-in.

But almost immediately it became obvious that while the 3D effects worked very well with stationary subject matter like scenery (and, to be honest, I can just look out the window to see 3D scenery anyway) it tended to get a bit blurry when dealing with mobile objects... like people.

However, the biggest shock was the massive colour loss the red/blue-lensed glasses caused - at times we might as well have well been watching a black and white movie!

And forget about blood! For a supposedly gruesome and gory horror flick, with vicious two-million-year-old piranhas chewing through the nubile limbs of Spring Breakers and porn models, there wasn't a drop to be seen... because the glasses made it all look black, and when blended with the blue of the lake water it became virtually invisible.

There were maybe a handful of set pieces where the 3D actually worked - almost always with objects swinging or floating towards the camera - but that didn't make the subject matter that much more shocking.

As if it needs repeating because it should be common sense, the key factor to take away from this - even with a schlockfest like Piranha - is that 3D trickery adds nothing to the story whatsoever.

This certainly wasn't the "iimmersive" experience that 3D is supposed to give you; if anything, it created a barrier between the film and its audience and only served to shatter our ability to suspend disbelief by drawing attention to the artifice of creation.

Oddly, in a strange way, this has actually piqued my interest to experience a 3D movie at the cinema - to see if issues like the loss of colour and clarity are any better on a large screen and with a different style of glasses.

The problem is, of course, I've now got to find a film that I would be willing to pay the extra 3D fee for yet isn't a film that I really desperately want to see (in case it's just a blurry mess of dark colours).

As it stands though, until the technology improves dramatically, I can't see 3D being a boom sector of the home entertainment market.

However, I'm looking forward to watching Piranha again soon (Paul left the DVD for me to watch again), but in 2D - to see everything I missed the first time round.

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