James Cameron has been very vocal in the past about how 3D should and shouldn’t be used in film, so it should come as no surprise that he has little positive to say about Piranha 3D, a film which follows none of his advice.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Cameron was asked if the release of Piranha 3D brought about “any sense of nostalgia” for him. His response?
Zero. You’ve got to remember: I worked on Piranha 2 for a few days and got fired off of it; I don’t put it on my official filmography. So there’s no sort of fond connection for me whatsoever.
Not content to leave things there, Cameron decided to turn his disdain toward Piranha 3D:
In fact, I would go even farther and say that… I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but that is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3-D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3-D. When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3-D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip. And that’s not what’s happening now with 3-D. It is a renaissance—right now the biggest and the best films are being made in 3-D. Martin Scorsese is making a film in 3-D. Disney’s biggest film of the year—Tron: Legacy—is coming out in 3-D. So it’s a whole new ballgame.
Cameron doesn’t appear to be commenting on the quality of the film (which it sounds like he hasn’t yet seen), but is rather dismissing the very idea of it. And though I get where he’s coming from—3D should be used to service the narrative, not to service its own gimmicky nature—I would argue that there are some films for which cheap 3D is perfectly suited, and a knowingly silly horror flick like Piranha 3D definitely applies.
For a genre of film that already revels in excess (gore, nudity, etc.), adding another gimmicky component isn’t likely to detract from the story, since the story is rarely the selling point anyway. These are movies designed to appeal to a visceral lusting for blood and boobs that many of us share, and anybody paying to see them should be fully aware that the purpose of the 3D is strictly to enhance that.
As long as its reserved specifically for that off-color brand of horror mayhem, is gimmicky 3D really so bad?
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