It may not surprise people to know that I love a good monster movie… in fact, even a bad monster movie I’ll happily watch and enjoy after a beer. Piranha 2 however, much like its predecessor has stayed with me for about 25 years or so. However, whereas Joe Dante’s original is actually a well made Jaws rip-off which stands up remarkably well even now, I’m afraid James Cameron’s directorial debut which is Piranha 2 is little more than a crass cash in.
It had been a long time since I last watched my copy of Piranha 2, so as I settled down to watch blueyoda’s P2 fanedit, I was genuinely quite excited to see if the little changes would make a difference to the movie at all. The fact that my girlfriend was watching this for the first time with nothing to judge it against at all, it would be interesting to see what her reaction would be afterwards as well.
Now, normally I would watch a movie such as this with a couple of beers. However, as I had been feeling pretty unwell I decided against alcohol, so it kinda left me thinking that I’d just spend most of the movie picking it apart. However, whilst P2′s shortcomings are there for all to see, the film is nowhere near as bad as I remember it being. I’d forgotten for one, that the main performances here are actually pretty good – TV stalwart Tricia O’Neil, the always reliable Lance Henriksen and the eye candy for the girls, Steve Marachuk; all three of them put in good performances considering what they have to play with from a lacklustre script.
The changes which blueyoda makes here do improve the movie a little. Some of the stupid comedy is thankfully now missing and some scenes have been rearranged to try and make it as close to Cameron’s extremely rare so-called director’s cut as possible. There’s no doubt it makes for a better movie, but that’s not to say that suddenly P2 is a truly worthy sequel. Personally I would have gone a bit further and totally excised the two girls on the boat who get attacked by the flying killers (yes, I do mean Penthouse models Carole Davis and Connie Lynn Hadden), as they are by far the worst actresses of the film – but then, that’s not what they’re there for and as I say, I probably should have been drinking when watching this!
Indeed, to me, the recent remake of Piranha is more of a homage to P2 than it is to Dante’s original. Dante’s film has never felt anywhere near as exploitative or cheap as a movie like P2 (although some may argue it does), and as Alexandre Aja’s Piranha is an attempt to return to the trashy exploitative days of 80′s “B” movies, I’d say it makes a more natural fit with P2.
But, I’m getting off the beaten track here. Back to the edit itself…
A big plus are the unexpected amount of special features on show here. The “Making of Cameron” is a very interesting piece on Cameron’s early career, whilst the “Biographies” are not just written text on performers, but also include many clips from the various movies and TV episodes which they have appeared in. Then there’s the “Alternate Music Ending” which neatly ties in the finale of the film with James Horner’s fantastic Bishop’s Countdown from Aliens. It works really well, and there’s some seamless audio editing going on by blueyoda. On top of all this you also get a short piece pointing out the similarities between P2 and Aliens, and finally you also get Cameron’s 12 minute first short film “Xenogenis”. Excellent stuff!
Technically, this is a perfectly sound edit. Picture quality is about as good as it can be for a film from this age with a low budget, and all the edits, be they visual or audio, work seamlessly. Talking of audio however, do watch out for some unintentionally funny and clumsy sound effects looping throughout the film – this is the fault of the original production team and not blueyoda I might add!
So, recent years of watching countless Aslyum and Syfy “Z” grade monster flicks may have made me more forgiving of P2 than I may otherwise have been, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this edit. A well deserved 9/10 for me. Nice work blueyoda ;)
Oh, and before I forget… my girlfriend really enjoyed it too – particularly the main “flying” attack on the beach resort towards the end… although she was somewhat upset that Steve Marachuk didn’t make it all the way to end. Awww, bless her.