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John's Horror Banana-nanza Episode Three: The "Jaws" Series
In this episode I'm going to do my best to defend Jaws 2 and Jaws: The Revenge. However, I'm not so sure I can defend Jaws 3-D.
Here's the worst, to the obvious best.
4. Jaws 3-D
3. Jaws: The Revenge
2. Jaws 2
Now the series actually focuses more on the Brody family than the shark, but as you'll see in the first review, there's no necessity to this.
My friend told me a funny joke about Jaws. She said that if you watched Jaws backwards, it became a movie about a shark that threw so many people up that they had to build a beach. If that's the case, than if you watched Jaws 3 backwards, it becomes a movie about a shark that swims forwards, growls like the devil and shrinks in size. The movie opens with a fish head being bitten off and floating ominously around the water for a while. You know, red blood on blue background? Anyway, Sea World is opening an underground tunnel that you can see all the sea life in, and Mike Brody is one of the head honchos, played by Dennis Quaid, along with Calvin Bouchard,played by Lou Gossett Jr. , the first, that's right, first black person in any of the Jaws movies so far. So of course the shark gets in the park and starts eating people, including some guy named Shelby Overman. Why do I know that? Look up that name on YouTube and you'll see why. The music in this movie is awful too. So the characters look for the missing crewman and discover that a shark is inside the park. They capture it, and at this moment you realize that Dennis Quaid really hates being in this movie. He starts smoking heavily, which he didn't do early on in the movie, but now that he knows what the hell is going on around him, he smokes while putting on someone's oxygen tank! Obviously, the movie begins to take a serious downhill turn. Oh yeah, and for no reason other than continuity, (and poor continuity) Sean, Mike's brother, shows up with Marty McFly's mom. What the hell is going ON here? I'll tell you what's going on. The shark isn't even the real shark! It's a baby shark, and once they capture it and it dies, the giant mother finds out and is pissed about it. So pissed that it defies logic and swims backwards, swallows a guy with a grenade, and chews up random black characters for no reason. Oh yeah, and it crashes through a fake glass window. That's where the 3-D effects kick in the best...and I'm being as sarcastic as I can be. This movie is an unwrapped lollipop that's been licked and stuck back in your pocket. It's shitty, and it almost ruins everything for the Jaws series. However, most people shrug off the series and only like the first episode. I will try my best to make people reading this think differently, but as far as this movie goes, if you like total poorly edited cheese, this movie rules. If you don't, this movie is so awful, I can't put it into words properly.
Jaws: The Revenge
Most people absolutely rip this movie to shreads because of the crazy notion that a shark hunts people specifically because of their lineage. Now, if you read the book, a voodoo shamen curses the Brody's, and that's why the shark hunts them. But this isn't the book. We start out with Sean Brody getting attacked on Christmas by a shark in Amity. Ellen Brody is distraught, but goes with Mike and his family to the Bahamas. The shark follows the plane from Rhode Island to the Bahamas, I think, and is waiting for them there. Here's a couple thoughts I had about this. Number one, what if it's not the same shark? Number two, how would a shark that was in Amity, Rhode Island in the middle of winter be able to survive in the Bahamas? I think there's a slight temperature difference! I just accept that the shark that attacked Sean is waiting for the Brody's to come home and make Jaws 5. Anyway, the family hangs out with this guy Mike works with named Jake, and also, Micheal Caine shows up as this pilot named Hoagie, who's Ellen's new love interest since Chief Brody is now dead. (She thinks the shark killed him too, even though he had a heart attack.) So a bunch of boring stuff happens, but it actually does an excellent job developing the characters through these scenes. Later, Mike and Jake are out collecting conkshells for their research when the shark passes by Jake and goes up for Mike on the boat. They decide to tag it and follow it, and this works for a minute, but it becomes appearant that Jake's equipment is garbage, because sometimes the shark is there and there's no sound, other times the shark isn't there and there is a sound...it's weird. There's also a few scenes that are out of place due to poor editing and overseas changes made to the film. For instance, Jake and Mike are on the front porch in one scene and Jake mentions that they can't figure out where the shark has gone and can't track it. Problem is, they haven't seen the shark yet at this point in the movie! So Mike gets attacked by the shark and gets away, then skips his wife's art ceremony to conquer his fears and go back in the water. While he's busy doing that, the shark goes after his daughter Thea, who's riding a banana boat. It instead gets some other chick and eats her in front of a bunch of hysterical islanders. So Ellen steals Jake's boat and goes after the shark. Mike, Jake and Hoagie fly a plane out to Ellen and crash it into the water, then after boarding the boat, decide that the best course of action is to stick a radio transmitter into the shark's mouth, and transmit waves using a remote to drive it insane and possibly kill it. Jake falls into the shark's mouth however, and depending on which version you watch, dies, or lives, whatever. And then, all the work they did on this movie, all the logic, the character develpment, the whole kaboodle, gets completely thrashed in the worst ending to a major motion picture of all time. Mike begins to use the remote to shock the shark, who begins to growl and roar like a lion. Ellen begins having flashbacks to the end of the original Jaws, even though she was nowhere near during those scenes. The shark keeps leaping out of the water and standing on it's tail, and then they ram it with the boat. Now, depending on which ending you see, the shark either gets harpooned while standing what has to be 100 feet in the air on it's tail, or the end of the boat hits the shark...and...it...explodes. What the hell? It never explains why, they just accept it. And this, my friends, is why some people find the movie useless to defend. I've tried, and honestly, it's a great idea with terrible special effects and apparently, no real knowledge of sharks used. But I still like it.
First of all, I like the soundtrack in Jaws 2 better than the world famous stuff used in the original. It's got more atmosphere, more suspense, and just fits a movie about the ocean better. It's by John Williams, so I mean, I'm not dissing his work at all. The intro to this movie is outstanding. Two scuba divers find the underwater wreckage of the Orca from the previous movie. The ominous music plays, and they are attacked by a fast moving shark that effectively stays off the camera. Chief Brody and his wife meet this new annoying guy that's trying to hit on Ellen, and there's other new characters too. Mike becomes a bigger character because he's now a teenager, as well as Sean, who is now old enough to have dialogue. Some girl goes water-skiing, and is eaten by the shark. Then her aunt/mom/lesbian lover/whatever comes back looking for her and is attacked by the shark, so she tries to set it on fire and instead blows herself up, giving the shark a nasty scar in the process (and a bad-ass look!). So Brody starts worrying there's a shark out there. At one point he finds the nasty burned body of the girl. Then later, he finds a beached whale with a huge bite taken out of it. So he starts getting a little paranoid and installs a shark tower on the beach. Mayor Vaughn doesn't believe Brody when he warns him there may be another shark, so he tries to get Brody out of the tower. Before he can however, Brody sees a school of bluefish and starts shooting at them in front of all the beach-goers. Later, some film developed from the scuba divers from the beginning of the movie shows what appears to be a shark's eye and mouth, but is far too blurred to convince the mayor and his staff. Brody is fired from the force, and gets drunk. NICE! So the kids all sneak out with Sean and Mike and go catamaran sailing, and the shark eats a guy who falls out of the boat after scaring the bejezus out of a diver. Brody and Ellen find the girl from the boat attack and she starts screaming "SHARK! SHARK!" So Brody takes the police boat and goes looking for vengeance. I'm not gonna give anymore of the movie away. The ending is awesome, Chief Brody is played brilliantly once again by Roy Schrieder, and to say this movie isn't good just because the first episode is brilliant is ridiculous. This movie, at its core, is not a movie about a killer shark, but about a man determined to not relive his past, and also to prove he's not insane. Don't listen to anyone who tells you this movie is no good. Granted, not many movies can even TOUCH the original Jaws, but this one is a very good sequel.
There's so much I love about this movie. One thing I don't think anyone recognizes enough is the humor between three completely different personalities in the second half. Yes, the shark is scary the first time you see it, two and half hours into the movie, and yes, this is a horror movie, make no mistake. There's plenty of blood. But the best part about this movie is the characters. Chief Brody is one of my favorite movie heroes ever. Quint is a dirty sonofabitch who's still a lovable old salt. Hooper is a closet alcoholic with a shark addiction. And by the way, anyone who tells you "the book is better" is full of shit. The book includes story-lines that are so incredibly useless, if they were in this movie, 3 hours would be awesome, and 2 hours would be shit. Those story-lines include Ellen and Hooper having an affair, the mob making sure the Mayor doesn't let the beaches close, and other nonsense. Also, Hooper dies, the shark drowns in the end, and it's just stupid. I'm not giving anything away about this movie at all. If you've seen it, you know it's amazing. If you haven't, get to it already! It's been out for 34 years, for crying out loud! What are you doing?
The Reader's Favorite
What's your favorite Jaws movie?
Jaws: The Anniversary Edition
Jaws: The Revenge