31 December 2010

“This is FUBAR!”

I should give this little review/rant the caveat that I wasn’t really paying attention to the details in this movie (as if I ever pay attention to the details for anything), because mom and I were preoccupied with making fun of everything. We also watched this last in our schlockfest, so I think I had reached some critical crap saturation point and was unable to absorb any more.

Mega Piranha stars Tiffany (not Debbie Gibson, although truthfully I don’t know the difference. Are we sure they’re different people? Do you ever see them together?) as a geneticist who dresses like these movies expect wildlife biologists to dress. This movie also has a wildlife biologist who is also, apparently, a drained NAVY SEAL diver because no one thinks twice about arming him (?!) and sending him off with the other NAVY SEALs at the end of the movie. There’s also another scientist, who seems to be the boss of the others, and he bites it à la Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea (now, there’s a good movie about genetically altered fish!). They are all UNESCO scientists creating meatier fish that are capable of feeding more people. They screw up and create a mega piranha that increases in size exponentially and limitlessly and has lots of extra organs (if only there was a lucrative market for piranha hearts).

Coming to the rescue is some dude played by an actor/stuntman who looks like the really angry love child of Fred Ward and Channing Tatum.
Channing Tatum
Fred Ward

Angry love child

He is forced to interact with the ridiculously portrayed Venezuelan army, led by the trigger happy General who is up to no good in the jungle and is so worried that the scientists will rat him out that he chases them throughout the entire movie. His character was useless and didn’t create any interesting conflict. It forced the angry love child to rescue the scientists from the military compound, and then there’s cars and helicopter chases but I don’t watch these movies for the action sequences. Angry love child eventually falls in love with Debbie Gibson Tiffany. When I think back on the movie, I keep picturing Kathy Bates instead of Tiffany. How inawesome would it be if Kathy Bastes had been in that movie? Or, any of these bad movies? She wouldn’t waste time taking water samples, she’d just reach in the river and pull the piranha out with her bare hands, then she’d tie them to a bed and break their feet. Kick ass Kathy!

This movie was recommended to me by Justin with the selling point that it would “redefine your scientific interpretation of size-ratio projections.” But, don’t we all use size-ratio projections to tell us where species are going to migrate to/invade? Is that even a thing? Ratio of size to what? Do they mean some sort of surface area to volume ratio? And WTF does that have to do with the piranha migrating north? And how does them being massive allow them to tolerate salt water? This species (Somegenus tiffanii) isn’t evolving, it’s just growing really quickly. I’m not sure what they’re growing on, presumably they’re eating everything in their path, but we don’t really see that. And Tiffany just kept taking water samples. What good is a little vial of water when giant piranha are launching themselves at your city? They didn’t even have any equipment with which to analyse the samples. The “science” is pretty bogus.

At some point, the piranha begin attacking the Venezuelan river port. That, and the later scenes where they attack a Florida city, were pretty great. At first, I thought it was a conscious attack, that the fish were launching themselves out of the water to ruin the human infrastructure. But, it was more like kamikaze missions – the fish that leaped onto land and headfirst into buildings kind of just stayed there, their little tails flapping wildly back and forth in the air, in an oddly cute way. Upon observing this tactic, my mom said “they’re not so smart.” Just then a piranha leaped from the river and was impaled on a lamp post. Not smart indeed.

Okay, this is getting long. Time to speed it up. The piranha escape into the ocean, eating a battle ship and submarine on their way to the eastern coast of North America. Keep in mind they’re continuing to grow. The predicted destination of the fish is Washington, DC. I have no idea where they got that from. And what’s the big concern? By the time they reach the Potomac they’ll be too big to even fit in it. The President, however, must be protected, and the proposed solution is to nuke the fish. Which they do. Which serves to stun the fishes and probably – if the movie had a bigger budget – mutate them. The fish carry on towards Florida and begin to attack it with their ingenious plan of suffocating to death on beachfront condos (with additional cute tail wagging). Time for Plan B. Angry love child assembles a team of NAVY divers and wildlife biologists to enter the water with the school of giant fish. Their goal is not to kill the unkillable[-except-by-themselves-]fish. Their mission is to maim the fish and make them bleed to create a feeding frenzy whereby the piranha will eat each other and the world will be saved. I'm down with that plan - who doesn't like a good feeding frenzy? Where they loose me is in the conclusion of the plan. One fish gets injured (I think a helicopter explodes in his mouth or something) and the rest attack him. But that's all we see: a loop of the footage of this one fish getting ripped apart. We don't see a feeding frenzy, we don't see an ocean of blood, we see one fish die and suddenly Angry love child is kissing Debbie Gibson and it's all over. It just felt like lazy movie making to me. A few more shots to establish that the fish had actually all killed each other would have made me happy. I can understand wanting to leave room for a sequel, but you can still show a school of dead piranha and retcon it in the sequel that one survived.

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