Piranha 3D

Bikini babes in 3D? Forget Avatar, this is what stereoscopic Blu-ray was made for!

Piranha 3D is the ultimate in cinematic guilty pleasures and marks a renaissance of sorts for director Alexandre Aja after the abysmal Mirrors. The plot is so thin that it’s barely worth mentioning. All that really matters is that it’s Spring Break at Lake Victoria, Kelly Brook and adult movie star Riley Steele are 'Wild Wild Girls!', the waters are full of barely-clothed teenagers and an underwater earthquake has unleashed a shoal of prehistoric piranha. What follows is a perfectly playful mix of sex and violence, unleashing both by the barrel-load but always remembering to smile at the same time.

Picture: This two-disc Blu-ray release serves up no less than three different viewing options. Disc One serves up an MVC 2.40:1 1080p 3D encode (that can also be watched as a flat AVC 2.40:1 1080p 2D version), while Disc Two takes a trip back in time with an AVC 2.40:1 1080p anaglyph 3D version.

Watched in 2D, the hi-def encode looks very pleasing – there’s plenty of detail on display, while brightness and colour saturation are pushed to levels that really emphasise the Spring Break heat. And, while blacks sometimes look a little crushed, even darker scenes hold up well for the most part with plenty of shadow detail visible.

As for the Full HD 3D experience, it’s a little more problematic. Unlike other converted 3D films, Piranha 3D was at least shot with stereoscopy in mind (the filmmakers claim that issues with reflections from the water and the desire to shoot in ‘Scope made using 3D cameras impossible). With this in mind, the 3D holds up very well for the most part. There’s a solid sense of depth to many shots and the film makes plenty of play of poking things out of the screen at you. However, on a few occasions the convergence is pushed too far (such as the opening credits) resulting in some off-putting ghosting that drops the quality down a notch. But it’s still much better than the blurry, headache-inducing anaglyph version.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: This Blu-ray sports the kind of aggressive and immersive DTS-HD MA 5.1 track you’d expect from a film like this. Surrounds are employed extensively throughout and your subwoofer gets a thorough workout courtesy of the underwater scenes. It can get a bit chaotic at times (especially during the big Spring Break massacre), but even here the dialogue holds its own remarkably well with excellent clarity.
Audio rating:  4/5

Extras: The sole extra on Disc One is a light-hearted commentary by director Alexandre Aja and producers Gregory Levasseur and Alix Taylor that mixes plenty of production details with lots of amusing anecdotes. Disc Two makes up for its crappy anaglyph presentation of the film with a superb ten-part Making of… documentary (130mins/1080i), six deleted scenes and narrated storyboards for two un-filmed sequences.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: Some of the 3D is a little fishy, but overall Piranha 3D is a Blu-ray worth snapping up.

Entertainment in Video, Region B BD, £25 approx, On sale now