It was recently my birthday here at the home of Barking Mad About Films and Pepper (with the help of Mrs. BMAF) brought me the recently released BluRay of the 3 Jaws sequels.
I had them on DVD but the highlight of this new edition other than the clearer picture was the inclusion of the 3D version of Jaws 3, which sadly I missed at the cinema in 1983.
As I grew up and became more fascinated with sharks, my love of the Jaws franchise grew, and as such, I had always wanted to see 3 in 3D, anyone who has seen the film will know there are clear moments in the film that are meant for 3D.
Despite having seen films like Shark Night and Bait bringing sharks in 3D, Jaws 3D has the addition of bringing up the nostalgia.
The film was a childhood favourite due to my liking of Dennis Quaid, who starred in many of my favourite films around the time such as Dreamscape; Enemy Mine; Innerspace and The Big Easy.
However, in all honesty, this is my least favourite of the franchise, quite frankly Jaws the Revenge works as just being so funny, roaring sharks etc.
So did 3D make a difference, in part, yes, but it is unclear why the film is so poor, Quaid himself when asks about it, responds I was in that?
The screenplay came from Carl Gottlieb (who had worked as writer on the first 2) with additional support from Richard Matheson, writer of Duel and books that have inspired films such as Stir of Echoes and I Am Legend.
Matheson states he wrote a very good script but Universal forced him to incorporate the Brody sons and had originally wanted it to feature the same electrocuted shark of Jaws 2, as well as write a role for Mickey Rooney, which he did only to find he wasn’t available.
The film centres on the opening of a new undersea tunnel complex at Seaworld, due to a problem with the gates at the park, A great white shark and her pup get trapped within the complex.
Working at Seaworld as an engineer making sure the park runs well is Mike Brody (Quaid) the son of Roy Scheider’s character from Jaws and Jaws 2. We learn that he is in a relationship with Kathryn ‘Kay’ Morgan (Bess Armstrong) who is one of the animal trainers at Seaworld.
We know that a shark is in the park, thanks to the opening sequence of a fish being eaten in half and also we have seen a shark attack on an engineer trying to fix the gates.
Seaworld is officially opening its Undersea tunnels to the general public, and they have VIP guests in Philip Fitzroyce, (Simon MacCorkindale) a famous hunter, with his assistant Jack (P.H. Moriarty) who are called into action by their friend and the park owner Calvin Bouchard (Louis Gossett jr) when news of a shark being found in the park means they can kill it to raise publicity for the park’s newest attraction.
Kay argues that if they can capture the young shark, they can nurse it to health and have the only great white in captivity, which would bring daily updates on the news (this was before social media) which would mean the publicity would last longer than just the shark kill.
Calvin, of course, sees the cash register ringing and agrees, and the shark is captured and brought back to health.
Bringing back memories of the rash decisions of Murray Hamilton’s mayor in the first 2 films, Calvin moves the shark to a public pool, hoping to get the money ringing straight away, but the move results in the poor pup dying.
However, is the least of Calvin’s issues, as the worker attacked by the pup’s mum has now been found. With the worker having been found in the park, the bite radius does not match the pup found in the park which means the bigger shark is in the park.
There are not many positives to take from this film, the shark is probably the fakest of the 4, clearly due to budget, which is a shame as the director Joe Alves was the production designer on the original 2 films but the cast do well with what they have got, Quaid and Armstrong especially.
Some fun family comedy moments are provided with the arrival of Sean Brody (John Putch) and the relationship he forms with water skier team member Kelly Ann (Lea Thompson)
Mention also need to go to Alan Parker who did the movie’s score as this was his film debut, having only worked on British TV shows like Minder. The score, of course, does include the iconic John Williams Jaws theme.
The film does well to bring memories of the first 2 films back, not just in the 2 Brody sons but also having Calvin making rash decisions as the Mayor did and even having a hunter, though as good as Simon is as Fitzroyce, he is no Robert Shaw’s Quint.
A sequence of 2 fishermen trying to steal fish, was a fun sequence bringing back memories of the original fishing attempt using the Sunday Roast, on the pier from the original, even if this doesn’t work out so well for them.
The 3-D certainly adds to the film, going for the gimmick moments of things coming out of the screen towards you, rather than just for depth which is more the normal now. The opening credits and the fish being bitten in half certainly stand out moments.
The film would be the highest ever grossing 3-D film until Spy Kids 3 came out 20 years later.
But for all the 3-D, the ending is still as daft as ever, the pausing of the shark to then break through the glass , the fact that the shark is 10 foot longer than the previous 2 makes it look ridiculous.
Some of the special effects are awful, but you can’t help but think Joe Alves must have been under a lot of pressure as first time director.
3-D made this film a lot more fun, as when watching without it, seeing long pauses on the obvious moments made for the format can be annoying.
I have seen a lot worse shark films and this is a short, fun eighties flick, but luckily the original is so good, this can not damage its legacy. However, if we were to suggest you watch this one, 3-D will improve your experience.
Ignoring the original and sequel, which is your favourite film?: Jaws 3 or Jaws: the Revenge. Remember Revenge asks you to imagine the events of Jaws 3 never happened so you are effectively removing one from the franchise
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