WHAT THE FILM!? – THE JAWS FRANCHISE (PART 2 OF 2)

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What The Film!? is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the general fuckery Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.

If you know a film with major plot holes or those that make you scratch your eyes out, tell us! Email utgjames@gmail.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the theater…

Last week I covered the ultimate classic Jaws and its mistake of a sequel Jaws 2. While Jaws will forever be a major part of history (for its game changing release strategy and its devastating effect on the public image of sharks), its sequels are usually (and justly) forgotten about. While Jaws 2 tried its best, its best wasn’t good enough. It’s impossible to replicate what Jaws had done. On the other hand, Jaws 2 was one of the highest grossing sequels until the mid 1990’s, so a sequel was inevitable. Universal wisely decided to go in a different direction.

The only franchise entry to use Roman numerals in its title

Jaws III (released as Jaws 3D, because gimmicks will never die) was originally going to be  a comedy movie, spoofing the prior two movies in the franchise, and was to be made by National Lampoon Magazine (known at the time for National Lampoon’s Animal House and not the messes they’ve made in the past 10 years). The working title was Jaws 3, People 0 and would have been John Hughes’ first movie. The movie had some traction and was on the fast track to being made before Spielberg put his foot down, believing the project would weaken the original movie (side note: the awful movies they made anyway didn’t make Jaws any less of a classic).

The funny thing here is that the sequels they made are great comedies. While Jaws is one of my favorite movies ever made, I have seen Jaws III more than any of the other in the franchise. When they scrapped the comedy installment, they decided to make a movie where a Great White shark kills off people inside a SeaWorld that is inexplicably has both of the Brody children (from the prior two movies)  working there (who are also for absolutely no reason twenty years older than they were in the last movie five years ago).

Maybe they had that disease from Jack.

The opening sequence in Jaws is one of the most famous scene in movie history (well, every scene in Jaws is iconic) and the opening skier sequence in Jaws 2 is the best part of the movie. With these in mind, how does Jaws III hold up? Well, the movie opens with a violent and horrifically bloody attack on… a fish. The severed fish head dramatically drifts towards the screen during the credits in a literally thirty second long shot. Half of a minute is spent on seeing this poorly green screened severed fish head drift towards the screen.

This is followed up by having the Great White Shark sneak into a SeaWorld, where the movie finds a lot of bad reasons why a shark in an aquarium/theme park can continue to kill off a lot of people without being noticed. To call these kills a stretch is being very generous to its suspension of disbelief because I’ve seen Power Rangers make more believable plot elements.

CAN YOU FEEL HOW 3-D THIS SHIT IS. CAN YOU.

Jaws III swims along (oh man, that’s good. I should write somewhere) with special effects that that are somehow significantly worse than its predecessors along a poorly constructed plot that doesn’t make any sense. The third act starts with the shark breaking a large glass window in what is one of the worst special effects I have ever seen in my entire life. It is hilarious every single time I watch it. I mean, with a movie this hilarious, how much worse can the franchise get?

Just in case you wanted to know where the tagline “This time, it’s personal” came from. You wanted to know.

The movie, and I’m being 100% honest about this, is about Ellen Brody (the lead’s wife from the first movie) moving in with one of her sons after the other son is killed by a shark. The shark then follows her to the Bahamas to her new home and repeatedly tries to kill her and her family. She starts dreaming about the shark and also starts having a psychic connection with the shark (something that is literally never explained). There’s a deleted scene where they explain that the Brody family has a voodoo curse on it that causes sharks to attack them. Eventually, Ellen impales the shark on the bow of a boat as it jumps out of the water to roar at her. During this sequence, she has a flashback to Chief Brody killing the shark in the first movie, an event she did not witness.  The shark then explodes for no reason because apparently Sharks in this franchise are like objects in Goldeneye 64 and will just explode when enough force is used.

He just dropped his wallet.

Jaws 4: The Revenge’s story makes as much sense as a “Book on Tape” CD played on shuffle. Characters disappear and reappear at random, continuity doesn’t exist, there is no real structure, and the dialogue would make more sense if you just played a DMX interview over the movie. The special effects are “special” in the bad way, which is because the special effect team was hired just weeks before the movie started shooting. Props and effects were assembled on set the day of shooting due to the severe lack of time. There is a scene where Michael Caine’s character climbs out of the ocean and is immediately dry. That scene perfectly describes the amount of care and time they put into this movie. No one cared. No one had fun. No one enjoyed any part of this movie. The only smile in this movie belongs to the shark.

HEYYYYY YOU GUYYYSSSS

The movie is so bad that it’s the go-to for bad movie comparisons. If a franchise gets so far off the beaten path that it becomes a parody of itself. When questioned about this movie, Michael Caine said “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”. As charming and humorous as that is, in another interview he also referred to married women as “property”, so he’s not all great.

“I’ve never been out with a married woman, never. I respect others’ properties.”
Alfred, noooooo :(((

This concludes the Jaws Franchise. At least until Jaws 5: Cruel Jaws is released on DVD in America. Fingers crossed. If you know how to get my hands on that movie, let me know on Tumblr or Twitter! (or you could just follow, that’d be cool too)

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  • okay, first off, GREAT article…being that JAWS is one of my top 5 favs of all time, (since i saw it at the drive in when i was 4yrs old and fell in love with sharks), and have seen it and the making of doc on the anniversary edition so many times i have them both memorized up and down, i agree with all points made 100%. thank you for sharing your opinion on and epic film…and it’s subsequent failure sequels, and for the record i still feel 2 is tolerable, specifically when you compare it to the unnecessary and hilarious sequels.

    and second…i recommend purchasing an all region dvd player, then you can purchase Cruel Jaws and enjoy! (i have one and will now be purchasing the vid, thanks for the tip!)