So once again we have survived.

Jaws 3-D

tn_jaws3BrucethesharkiconOkay, good. If you’re gonna be an asshole and make a sequel to JAWS, I figure this is more how you should do it. You’re never gonna match the achievement of the first one, so you should zig where that one zags.

First you acknowledge that the directors you hired won’t have the skills to fill Spielberg’s filmatic shoes. You put director Joe Alves into the shoes and fill the extra toe-space with credit-flying, severed-limb-and-head-floating, dolphin-and-orca-jumping, water-splashing-in-the-camera, slow-motion-water-ski-jumping, harpoon-firing-just-like-FRIDAY-THE-13TH-3D-but-what’re-you-gonna-do-you’re-fighting-a-shark, fake-dragons-and-snakes-popping-out, shark-exploding-and-spraying-goo-all-over-the-audience 3-D. I mean, not on video, but that’s what it was originally, and I would’ve enjoyed that.

mp_jaws3Second, you come up with more of a gimmick than “shark shows up at Amity Island for the third time.” This one (with a script co-written by Richard Matheson of I AM LEGEND: THE BOOK fame [note: he wasn’t happy with the movie, though]) is about now-adult-and-played-by-Dennis-Quaid Michael Brody on opening day of a new Sea World park he built. (Quaid is another 4 year age jump from JAWS 2, for a grand total of 9 years older than original actor Chris Rebello would’ve been if he was still playing Michael.) Funded by the eccentric millionaire Calvin Bouchard (Louis Gossett Jr.) it’s a fancy “Underwater Kingdom” with a whole exhibit, restaurant and control room complex submerged in and looking out into a man-made lagoon. Pretty cool idea, but I’ll be god damned if a young up-and-comer shark named Jaws 3 doesn’t gate crash into that lagoon for some snacks.

Brody’s girlfriend Katherine (Bess Armstrong) is the dolphin trainer. His little brother Sean (John Putch – 7 year age jump from part 1 actor) comes to visit on a break from college, where he majors in staying the fuck away from water. He’s been afraid of water since shark attack #2, but is lured in by top-of-the-pyramid water-skiier Lea Thompson.

The director of part 3-D was Joe Alves, production designer and storyboard artist for part 1, second unit director for parts 1 and 2. This was his only directorial work that got off the ground, although I have learned from interviews that are online that he almost directed a whole bunch of things including CONAN THE BARBARIAN. He was also production designer for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and FIRE DOWN BELOW.

Apparently the 3-D was his idea. Scouting Sea World type parks for locations he happened to see a 3-D underwater wildlife documentary. He had been kind of embarrassed about the idea of doing a Part 3 and thought it would be cool to call it “Part 3-D” instead. I don’t know if he knew FRIDAY THE 13TH had already done this, or was working on one anyway.

I don’t know why Sea World let them film there, and even call it Sea World. Maybe they forgot what happened in JAWS 1-2. Or maybe they figured it couldn’t possibly happen a third time, so everything would be peaceful in this one. But it makes for a pretty impressive production, showing all kinds of flying dolphins, orcas and water skiiers that must’ve looked great in the 3-D. Of course the undersea complex is not part of the real park, so that and alot of the underwater shark shots have really fake looking composite deals.

Hats off for the long shots of floating body parts, though. I’m pretty sure those things should have clouds of blood around them, but maybe not. I’m no doctor.

There’s not as much suspense and tension as there could be with the shark attacks. And they flirt with having the dolphins help the humans, but I think it could’ve been funnier and cooler if they went further with it. I think we all would enjoy a couple of dolphins heroically attacking a giant shark, or luring it into a trap or something. I’m not saying they have to have guns attached to their heads, although I wouldn’t be against that. I’m just saying since they set them up they oughta use them.

There’s a scene where they have to make the decision to close the gate even though the dolphins are out there, and say that “they’re on their own.” But then they don’t try to get much tension out of those little guys being in peril. Shit, I would’ve switched to their point-of-view for ten minutes. And there would be a part where one of them first sees the shark and it would zoom in on the dolphin’s face the same way it did Roy Scheider’s in the first JAWS. Or I would have a part where the two dolphins are chirping at each other and if you pay attention you can tell they’re showing their scars to each other, and then the music gets real tense and it slowly closes in on one of them and he’s doing a real low, slow type of dolphin noise and it wouldn’t be subtitled or anything but you would get the sense he was telling his dolphin equivalent of the Indianapolis story.

They didn’t do that. But there are two little twists that help make it more dramatic, and that I’m about to give away:

1. The Sea World peopl decide to capture the shark and put it on display, the first great white in captivity. So there’s some JURASSIC PARK/WESTWORLD type potential there.

B. They figure out the one they have is only a baby, and like Louis Gossett Jr. himself there is presumably a Jaws 3 Sr. out there. Or at least a mama. And that’s the one that was eating their employees so that one’s also in the lagoon somewhere. Oh shit.

The problem with the movie is that it has the setting and the characters and the plot developments of a good monster movie, it has all the machinery there, but then it doesn’t really deliver as well as it could. If there were a couple real good and suspenseful shark attack set pieces in the last third this would be a legitimately good movie, in my opinion. Not JAWS good, but cheesy sequel good at least.

But that’s coming from the point of view of looking at these movies many years later, having lived in a world where there were a bunch of JAWS sequels. I’m not saying it was a good idea to do them and that it’s okay to not aim for the sky like Spielberg did. But having accepted that that’s what happened, that they made it into a series of lowbrow exploitation movies, I thought this was an enjoyable almost. I would go see this if they were showing it somewhere in 3-D. In addition to being no doctor I’m no engineer either so I’m just guessing here but I bet it would be possible to remaster movies like this, FRIDAY THE 13TH 3-D, HOUSE OF WAX, and the 3-D version of DIAL M FOR MURDER for digital projection and show them in modern multiplexes. Some enterprising fan that works at a studio with rights to a few of those ought to get the ball rolling and then show them for special limited engagements like they do with After Dark Horror Fest and shit like that. Put together a little 3-D festival but accessible to anyone in a major city.

And as long as I’m throwing out million dollar ideas, how ’bout some enterprising software billionaire movie buff building a drive-in theater for the future? Retro design but modern technology. Figure out a way to make better sound systems that can plug into modern car stereos, with state of the art digital projection but also equipped with an old 35 mm for revivals and vintage trailers and shit. Come on rich people, you should do this. It would be fun. Sink your money into that, please. I don’t even have a car but I’ll endorse it, especially if you show JAWS 3-D.

It seems like movie fans right now either have to hate 3-D as a cynical ploy to raise ticket prices or they have to think it’s the future of all movies. Personally I love 3-D and don’t necessarily want it to be the future. I mean James Cameron did do a pretty good job of using it to pull you into his artifical world, and I’m sure there will be some really smart uses of it if the trend continues for a while. But personally I love it as a gimmick. I like it for slasher movies and monster movies and movies that have little guys who fly out of the screen and float around in front of your face making eye contact with you like the thing in CAPTAIN EO. I think it should call attention to itself. I want to see harpoons flying. I want to see limbs floating. This is a legitimate use of the medium, especially when saved for special occasions, like part threes.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, May 14th, 2010 at 5:26 pm and is filed under Monster, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

50 Responses to “Jaws 3-D”

  1. That last paragraph should be on the poster for PIRANHA 3D.

    “A non-stop thrill ride!” – Entertainment Tonight

    “It seems like movie fans right now either have to hate 3-D as a cynical ploy to raise ticket prices or they have to think it’s the future of all movies. Personally I love 3-D and don’t necessarily want it to be the future. I mean James Cameron did do a pretty good job of using it to pull you into his artifical world, and I’m sure there will be some really smart uses of it if the trend continues for a while. But personally I love it as a gimmick. I like it for slasher movies and monster movies and movies that have little guys who fly out of the screen and float around in front of your face making eye contact with you like the thing in CAPTAIN EO. I think it should call attention to itself. I want to see harpoons flying. I want to see limbs floating. This is a legitimate use of the medium, especially when saved for special occasions, like part threes.” – Vern

  2. I have a soft spot in my heart for Jaws 3-D because it was the first 3-D movie I saw in the theater. I was 5 years old and seeing a floating arm slowly moving toward me was one of the defining moments of my young movie going career. It forever shaped my movie watching habits. (Which is, the cheesier the better.) In fact, I still have my 3-D glasses from that one. And “I’ll be back” be damned; Lou Gossett Jr.’s “You mean we talkin’ ’bout some damn shark’s MUTHA!” is still my favorite line of any movie ever.

  3. Boy I can’t wait for your Jaws the Revenge review, that movie is one of the biggest pieces of shit ever made.

  4. Vern – please. review. CAPTAIN EO. That is all.

    No wait, it isn’t.

    I’m surprised you didn’t bring up how Universal almost turned JAWS 3 into…a parody of the JAWS series. WHAT A TWIST! John Hughes scripted a draft for JAWS 3, PEOPLE 0 but it didn’t happen. How many franchises go from being serious (or on its own stream of self-legitimacy) to pissing on its own leg?

  5. Just throwing this out there: If we live in a world where a stand-alone remake of Dawn of the Dead can be as fun and effective as Zack Snyder’s, then we live in a world where Jaws 3 can also be a fun, effective stand-alone remake. Get Matthew McConaughey to star. If his role in Machete goes well, maybe Seagal as Bouchard. The only danger would be that the studio may get confused and try to remake the first Jaws in 3-D, which would be a mistake.

    Of course, if Piranha 3-D pans out, this is all rendered moot.

  6. I remember this movie mainly because it was talked about obsessively on the school ground when I was a kid – I think the scene of the worm coming out of the corpse’s mouth was the main talking point if memory serves… Funny enough, it took me a loooong time to actually see it – I think I saw Jaws The Revenge before it, which has lapses in logic and common knowledge that will make you progressively dumber the longer you watch it Vern – be warned – even Michael Cain and the Last Starfighter combined can’t save it.

    When I finally went back to watch Jaws 3(previously D), I found it kind of quaint in an 80’s nostalgic kind of way. Definite cheese factor but enjoyable if merely for the gore effects.

  7. I’m so relieved to see you kinda enjoyed this, Vern. As a fan of the first 3 “Jaws” movies (while “The Revenge” is awful but at least in a funny way) I pretty much never encounter anyone who doesn’t hate the hell out of “Jaws 3-D”. Yeah it’s poorly made in a way, it uses some of the most dated 3-D in movie history, and it’s schlocky (by nature), but it does try to entertain and is not a complete hack work. A killer shark movie at a Sea World is a terrific idea, as was the notion of those underwater restaurants and walk-through portals as a means of heightening the danger. Anyone who likes shark movies must appreciate this one a tiny bit at least for its intentions. Thanks Vern and A+ review as always

    Oh, and it may have been discussed in other places already, but as a lifelong “Jaws”-series aficionado and all-around horror lover, I’m really looking forward to “Pirahna 3-D” as a well-produced fun ride (and not just because the great Christopher Lloyd co-stars), and am hoping you like it too. Your last paragraph championing 3-D horror gives the movie a definite edge

  8. Remember the Jaws 3D video game? That was a fucking trip. Although, googling this shit now it seems like I might’ve just imagined this shit.

  9. “If we live in a world where a stand-alone remake of Dawn of the Dead can be as fun and effective as Zack Snyder’s”

    A.R. – Oh sure. If we did that is, and thank God we don’t. :)

  10. Don’t worry Lukas, I just found out the last fifteen years of my life were a hallucination, you get used to the idea pretty quickly.

  11. Michael – I’ve been excited for PIRANHA 3-D since I heard about it long before they started shooting it. I still really dig Aja’s HILLS HAVE EYES remake, thought MIRRORS was kind of good and really enjoyed HIGH TENSION up until the unfortunate twist. This seems right up his alley and the 3-D right up mine. The only hesitation I have is that it’s converted 3-D instead of shot that way. But he made that choice based on tests he did and planned it for 3-D all along so it won’t be another CLASH OF THE TITANS converted-at-the-last-minute situation (assuming that’s as bad of 3-D as everyone says, since I haven’t seen it). He seems to know what he’s doing, I just don’t understand how they convinced him that process looks better.

    But yeah, should be fun, and apparently has Richard Dreyfuss playing a suspiciously Hooper-like character.

  12. Jareth Cutestory

    May 14th, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    RRA: Off the top of my head, the Chucky movies are the only ones I can think of that started serious and became intentional comedies in later installments (I think they used the phrase “Chucky gets lucky” on the poster for the sequel where he boinks a plastic Jennifer Tilly).

    But someone might want to confirm that the first Chucky film was intended to be serious; to me it was always goofy.

  13. JAWS 3D is the best JAWS sequel ever made. It’s not a really good movie, but it is watchable.
    But part 4 is a crazy ride, I’ll bet VERN will love it!(it’s about a vigilante/psycho shark, so it’s right up VERNs alley)

  14. Not to poop on Vern but there are two mistakes in the review. First you meant to type two dolphins but wrote shark. Then later you did a number and point two was stated as point B.

    Has anybody seen the trailer to Pirahna 3D? It looks like a giant piece of shit. The pirahna look really bad. They also have two gags where the Piranha wait around for their queue from the director to attack. I think some of the performances will be campy but it doesnt look scary. Plus they dont have the balls off the original or the first remake to put actual kids in danger. Who really is worried for dbag Spring Breakers getting eaten. At least Eli Roth will die a really gruesome death.

  15. Awesome review as always! By they way you said shark instead of dolphin in the section where you talk about the dolphins being stranded outside the gate and the one telling the Indianapolis story. I’m addicted to these reviews now, I must have read 30 today.

  16. I’d like to see Dolph Lundgren v bruce the shark.
    damn fish wouldn’t stand a chance.
    you’d have the shark looking around and then you’d see a shot of some swedish hair with the john williams score, till he started killing the other sharks and then you’d get the zoom in on bruce’s face.

  17. I had no idea that there was a 3D sequel to “Jaws”. Tell me it’s the one that attacks Marty McFly in “Back to the Future”? Because if it is, I’m totally sold.

  18. Damn Vern, I can’t believe you didn’t mention the bit where the diver gets chomped by JAWS 3D and it has his POV shot from inside the shark’s mouth as he’s getting munched. I don’t remember if it was (or would) be good 3D, but it was entertaining as fook.

  19. Hats off on the little ‘Bruce’ logo, by the way.

  20. I wish they had made JAWS 3, PEOPLE 0, it probably would have been hilarious, maybe I’ll try to find a Stephen King’s The Dark Tower style magical doorway that leads to an alternate dimension where they made that instead

    also I can’t help but want to see PIRANHA 3D to see what boobies in 3D would be like, I’m a bad person I know

  21. The strange thing is that the original JAWS was pretty heavily influenced by Jack Arnold’s THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. But, back in the 50s, there was a sequel, RETURN OF THE CREATURE (featuring an early Clint Eastwood appearence)where they capture the Creature and stick it in a big aquarium in Florida. And it was in 3D. So I gotta wonder if Richard Matheson (who of course had worked with Jack Arnold) or somebody was like, “Hey, the first Jaws was Creature From The Cape Cod Lagoon, now let’s just rip off the sequel! In 3D!”

  22. Only just noticed the Bruce graphic. Genius!

    These reviews are getting better and better. At this rate Vern’s take on Jaws 5 will be up for a Nobel prize.

  23. I was stoked about PIRANHA 3D, but the trailer did nothing for me. Fish look fake and not scary (why’d the make ’em huge? I like the idea of tiny piranhas swarming, big ones lose that without being massive and hulking like sharks) and the whole thing looks kind of self-consciously jokey. Honestly, it looks like a Sci-Fi original movie. Hopefully Aja has a better handle on the tone of the film than the trailer editor did…

  24. Vern, that was less a review and more of an editorial.

  25. Damn you for editorializing, Vern!

    I think modern drive-ins broadcast on an FM frequency so you can hear the movie through your stereo, don’t they? Or did I just dream I read that?

  26. Have you considered reviewing CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON? MOBY DICK was the obvious template for the book, but Spielberg was most clearly inspired by Jack Arnold’s 1954 classic.

    Unfortunately it was released in March so it doesn’t fit in with your summer movie theme.

  27. I’d call the first CHILD’S PLAY a horror movie with a strong satiric streak (pretentious, moi?), with jabs at the 80s toy industry and the horror genre; calling it a “serious” movie would be a stretch, but it’s not a comedy in the same way BRIDE and SEED OF CHUCKY are.

    The JAWS 3 PEOPLE 0 script is out there online, and to be honest what I read of it was pretty disappointing. Bear in mind it is from the same stable that brought us NATIONAL LAMPOON GOES TO THE MOVIES and CLASS REUNION, though I love that someone will surely come along now and say that the later rocks (and I can’t deny it did give me a fair few laughs)

  28. BTW there are some clips on You-Tube of JAWS 3-D in your actuall 3-D put up by a 3-D enthusiast, and they actually work surprisingly well.

  29. The Drive-In I go to broadcasts with an FM signal. They’re only open in the summer. Sometimes they do double features, but only at the end of August for some reason, when all the good movies are gone. With only two screens, they don’t make many risky choices, but I haven’t seen Iron Man 2 yet, so I think I’ll check it out there.

  30. Jareth Cutestory

    May 15th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks for the clarification, Pacman. I had a hunch that Chucky wasn’t entirely serious, but there’s no way I’m sitting through that movie again to find out.

    My pal Lee Marvin Girl sent me an email telling me that the film PROBLEM CHILD and its sequel are actually way scarier than anything Chucky did.

  31. Dial M for Me.

    May 15th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Been loving these reviews, Vern, and have also loved the Bruce icon. Now I hate being the demanding fan, but please, for the love of everything Bruce, will you please end the Jaws reviews with the completely un-related-to-Jaws DEEP BLUE SEA? I love that movie more than what I’m willing to confess publicly and I would love to read your take on it. You have that slasher-intro-but-with-sharks prologue, Tom Jane being a badass, Sam Jackson and that classic scene, and Renny Harlin going nuts with set pieces and face ass CGI sharks. Plus, the sharks get killed the same way they die in the Jaws series (explosion, electrocution, etc. I´m not sure how accurate that is, I read it on IMDB). Anyway, keep up the good work.

  32. Dial M for Me.

    May 15th, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Of course I meant FAKE ASS SHARKS, not face ass. Who’s an ass now, huh?

  33. “Deep Blue Sea” is IMO a hugely enjoyable little movie – Renny Harlin at his most ridiculous. In terms of quality, though, it can’t hold a candle to “Lake Placid”. I would recommend seeing both, but I own “Placid” on DVD. I don’t own “Deep Blue Sea”. Draw your own conclusions.

  34. Talkin’ bout remakin’?

    GORGO (1961). That is all.

  35. yo Vern, where the hell is the review of Jaws 4? I’ve been waiting for a few days

  36. Paul, I disagree. I think Deep Blue Sea is the way better movie than Lake Placid.

  37. Lawrence – Would anyone have a reason to give a shit about DEEP BLUE SEA if not for that one legendary particular shark attack scene?

  38. Of course Vern is stalling on JAWS IV. It’s an infamous film, and expectations are high for an especially hilarious and, um, biting review. The pressure is on.

    I saw that fucking thing in the theater, by the way. It was that or SUPERMAN IV, a real no-win situation.

    To this day, I wake up late at night, wondering if I made the right decision.

  39. frankbooth – But your avatar disagrees, there is no such thing as a no-win situation!!!

    So….you could have stayed home? Maybe even have a VHS marathon of SUPERMAN and JAWS.

  40. hahaha, you’re telling me both Jaws 4 and Superman 4 came out on the same day?

    talk about a cosmic coincidence

  41. RRA, would anybody even care about Lake Placid if they didn’t have Betty White swearing? Both are questionable movies but Deep Blue Sea has enough other stuff going on for it that it ranks higher on the scale than Lake Placid.

  42. I like Lake Placid but I don’t think there’s any doubt that Deep Blue Sea is the superior movie. It’s right up there with Commando and Jason X in the category of utterly retarded movies that I will watch anytime, anywhere.

  43. Count me on Team Placid. Deep Blue Sea’s simply never been able to get me excited – I’ve watched it like 4 times now and still don’t get the love. There is that one death, but it’s given away by the “and…..” billing on the opening credits (I’ve always told my friends if you really thought he was going to be the main character and not shark bait, you should watch more movies). Plus I keep hearing from people how awesome it is that the white lady/sort-of love interest dies while LL lives, which yeah, is a twist on the usual dynamics of shit like Leviathan, but seriously – has LL ever NOT lived in a horror movie before? Does the rapper actually ever get killed?

    As for Lake Placid, I actually forgot Betty White was in it until someone reminded me the other day – I mainly love it because there’s alot of almost-Shane Black-ian dialogue, mainly from Oliver Platt, and that it’s actually really upbeat and feel-good for a horror movie, which isn’t what I want all of the time, but some of the time it’s nice.

  44. “Does the rapper actually ever get killed?”

    SEED OF CHUCKY. Redman gets his intestines pulled out into a wet, steaming pile.

  45. Any fan of 3-D used to its fullest potential who hasn’t seen Warhol’s Frankenstein in 3-D should just drop what they’re doing and get the fuck on it.

  46. there was a minor 3-D festival at an independent cinema near my place. we caught Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Friday 3. but they also played Jaws 3, House of Wax, Dial M for Murder, and a few more. wish i could’ve caught them all.

  47. lake placid wins for the simple fact that betty white says to a guy that if she had a dick she’d tell him to suck it.

  48. “hahaha, you’re telling me both Jaws 4 and Superman 4 came out on the same day?”

    Maybe one came out a week earlier, but they were definitely both playing that weekend. I went and looked it up, because I wanted to be sure my memory wasn’t faulty.

    The reason I remember so well is that a friend of mine wanted to go to a movie, but he only wanted to see a big blockbuster-type of thing. He wasn’t an indie guy. I had a feeling both movies were lousy just based on the trailers, but I finally decided that with JAWS, I’d at least get to see someone getting chomped. Plus, it was apparent that the SUPERMAN effects were especially shoddy. As I recall, Golan and Globus bought the rights to the franchise, but the patented rear-projection process used in the previous films wasn’t part of the deal — or something like that.

    Little did I know that the eatin’ scenes in J4 were some of the lamest ever staged, arty micro-cut montages of teeth and elbows and knees, like something out of a Polish avant-garde animated film from the Sixties — or a shaky-cam action film from the ’00s. Not to mention the shark that resembled a “concrete log with teeth”. (Does anyone remember which reviewer coined that one? I’ve never forgotten it.)

    Here’s Sean’s death. Seems like he’s trying to give Chris Farley a run for his money. I like the way he goes “Whoa!” at first.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm3yZTqAsw4&feature=related

  49. RRA — Matt Stone, greatest movie villain of all time, disagrees with me? I don’t understand.

  50. Nostalgic Critic reviews JAWS 3, and Vern I’m surprised you didn’t make note of some of the more……….lacking…..special effects.

    Man I forgot all about handpuppet Jaws.

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