Since the release of "Jaws" in 1975, there have never been safer waters in Hollywood, whether it is at a beach, a private waterside resort or a lake beside a vacation home. Marine horror movies have always captured our worst fears (and wet fantasies) that going skinny-dipping in abandoned pools is a good idea, but nothing is going to stop our love of watching people getting shredded into clouds of blood by the most ferocious fish.
However when bites turn to chomps, we are always curious which killer would be named the big fish in the pool of blood. So, dive into the deadly waters of the movie world to see which of the two fishy predators would come up on top in a five round fight.
Round 1: The Mean Machine
Although sharks were seen as movieland's (or sea) first marine mean machine, thanks to Steven Spielberg's "Jaws", not all sharks that appeared on the big-screen had always been blood-seeking torpedoes.
Lenny the vegetarian shark (voiced by Jack Black) from "Shark Tales" is one perfect example that not all sharks were made to be man-eaters. Also, mantra of Bruce the Great White Shark that "Fish are friends, not food" from "Finding Nemo", reinforces that sharks in movies hadn't always wanted to be in the role that they were given.
On the other hand, Piranhas in movies had always been the carnivore right out from the gate. The only problem for them was getting out of the gate, of course. Piranhas from the original "Piranha" (1978), "Piranha 2" (1981), and the most recent "Piranha 3D" (2010) all started being trapped in some kind of secret enclosure, until something breaks loose along with hell. Once the school is out, piranhas had never thought about taking any vows of abstinence from meat, because they just love to chew out any flesh in their way.
Winner: Piranhas, because the best way to bite someone's face off is not having second thoughts.
Round 2: Box Office Devourer
While fishermen weigh their fishes in pounds, movie execs weigh their fishes in the amount of the 'ka-ching' they bring home from the theatres.
Piranhas may be experiencing a new wave of going deep into moviegoers' pockets with "Piranha 3D" grossing over US $83 million in 2010, but they have a lot of catching up to do in terms of how shark movies had been swimming in cash for a long time.
Although the piranhas made breakfast out of its most recent competitor, "Shark Night 3D" that only grossed US $40 million worldwide by the end of its run, it's not even close to beating the grandfather of marine killers, "Jaws", which grossed over US $470 million by the time it was done, and that was back in 1975!
The "Jaws" franchise continued to rake in the big profits, like "Jaws 2" (US $208 million) but finally jumped the shark with the dismal performance of "Jaws 4" (US $71 million). Other top-selling shark movies were Renny Harlin's "Deep Blue Sea" (US $165 million) and the true-story adaptation "Open Water" (US $54 million).
Winner: Sharks, because the money that came out of piranhas is just shark bait.
Round 3: Critically Acclaimed Bloodiness
Almost equally as important as box office victories, but just as unattainable is for sharks and piranhas to get recognition for a kill well done. One notable thing in the history of shark and piranhas movies is that they had made the names of two beloved directors; Steven Spielberg and James Cameron.
While anyone can link Spielberg with "Jaws", some might not know that before Cameron became the name that he is today, he was behind the helm of 1981's "Piranha 2: The Spawning", which was his real debut film.
"Jaws" took home several technical awards at the 1976 Oscars for "Best Editing", "Best Sound" and "Best Soundtrack" for the most recognizable tunes by Spielberg's longtime composer John Williams.
While "Jaws" went out to be well received by critics and still hailed as one of the director's classics, Cameron's "Piranha 2: The Spawning" became extinct from the collective memory and even from Cameron himself, who considered "Terminator" to be his first feature film.
But then again, everyone always forgets about the piranhas until they come to your pond, anyway.
Winner: Sharks, because sharks surfaced to the high waters from critical wins while piranhas sunk to the bottom of the ocean waiting.
Round 4: Evolutionary epitome
Evolution plays a big part in shark and piranha movies. For some it means growing big enough to swallow the whole boat of hapless victims, but the worst kind are the ones that have evolved since pre-historic times to be a monstrous and almost un-kill-able freak of nature.
Sharks really haven't evolved much over the years in the movies. Their efficiency in slaughter hasn't inspired moviemakers to let them grow extra legs and eat their victims on land (although "Seefood" cheated a bit). The worse kind we've seen for sharks is the one in "Megalodon" (2002), a pre-historic whale-sized ancestor of sharks that was trapped in a 'mirror' ocean buried underneath the ocean until an oil rig drill broke its seal.
Meanwhile Piranhas had embraced natural selection and became not only a menacing threat in the water but to the skies. Yes, you read that right. Piranhas that could fly! The piranhas in "Piranha 2: The Spawning" were genetically developed with other species of fishes with wings and getting out of the water became the least of everyone's worries.
Winner: Piranhas, because survival of the fittest means you have to adapt.
Final Round: 3D Demon
We love our shark and piranha movies, but we love them even more in 3D! If there was one way to enhance the experience of seeing people getting chewed into half, is to see them getting chewed into half, as if you were there (just make you sure you're not the one being chewed, though).
The use of 3D technology in shooting shark and piranha movies isn't new. In fact, it might be even older than you think. Long before 3D became the buzzword of the 21st century that spawned "Piranha 3D" and "Shark Night 3D", there was already a "Jaws 3-D" from 1983.
This second sequel to the original "Jaws" that was not directed by Spielberg, was actually one of the earliest predecessors of 3D movies, which required audiences to put on disposable polarized 3D glasses. However, just as 3D did not rise to become mainstream back then, the movie also flopped.
We've already mentioned who won in the battle between "Piranha 3D" and "Shark Night 3D", and just like how we mentioned that piranhas are always evolving, the fishes are upping the ante with "Piranha 3DD".
The second D is referring to TriDelta (we know some of you were hoping it was cup-size), a 3D shooting system from Paradise FX, which means that the sequel would be fully shot in 3D, rather than being post-converted to 3D like the first one was.
The sharks really need to figure out that 3D doesn't just stand for Delicious Delicate Diver.
Winner: Piranhas, because going into the third dimension made them more devious
Overall winner: Piranhas
Although it's a close fight, we've intentionally left many uncharted waters to determine who is the king of the sea in this never-ending fishy debacle. So tell us who you'd think would win? Shark or piranhas?