When I received the Blu-ray for Piranha 3DD, easily one of the worst films of the year so far (my review here), I sort of laughed, imagining I would never even remove the plastic wrap. Then I flipped it over to see an audio commentary with director John Gulager, producer and co-writer Joel Soisson and co-writer Marcus Dunstan. I’ve done articles detailing tidbits learned from audio commentaries before such as David Fincher’s for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (find that here) and Kevin did one for David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method (find that here). Of course, those were looking at films we tend to take a little more seriously, but I thought this might be fun so what the hell.
Listed at 83 minutes the film actually runs around only 70, but Gulager, Soisson and Dunstan are sure to use all 83. Separating the trio out isn’t exactly easy, though Gulager is the clearest of the bunch with something of a nasally tone to his voice but the other two weren’t as easily distinguishable so I apologize if I accidentally credit the wrong person with the wrong quote. I believe I have them straight, but I felt it was important to make the statement.
From almost the opening moments it’s quite clear all three of them know this is a terrible movie, but none are willing to admit it. They laugh and make small jabs at the stupidity, but never really come out and own it… at least not entirely. Very rarely do they take anything all that seriously and it’s painfully obvious they didn’t make any real effort at making a great movie.
With that said, let’s boil down a few specifics.
In the opening sequence, which was shot in a big pool in a shut down boys home, Gary Busey and Gulager’s father, Clu Gulager, play a pair of red necks that happen upon a dead cow floating in the water. After reaching the cow it begins to fart out piranha eggs. Busey’s character takes a Zippo lighter to inspect the situation, the cow farts again and ultimately explodes.
As this scene is opening, Dunstan relays a story involving his first encounter with Busey who isn’t seen again after this opening sequence:
After this story John said, “[Gary] said how much he loved the dialogue before we shot it and then he said none of it.”
One of the more amateur elements of the film are the continued use of underwater shots to segue from one scene to the next, often showing nothing but a plant underwater or a cavernous area. It’s an easy criticism to make as it only appears to pad the already short running time and it’s stupidity isn’t lost on Soisson who brings it up more than once saying, “Meanwhile, underwater, a tree is wet” and “And there is an underwater shot of a plant.”
Oddly enough, Soisson is also the only person to try to discuss the film in any kind of artful manner, frequently talking about how great the colors are and at one point saying, “The visual flow of the movie is very nice.” Nice? You mean except for the multitude of ambiguous underwater shots right?
That’s a real tattoo. ‘Nuff said?