Jaws 3-D (1983)
Director: Joe Alves
Louis Gossett Jr./Calvin
A 35-foot long Great White and its young offspring bypass the Sea World ticket booth and sneak into the park to chow down on some dumb employees. It’s up to Dennis Quaid (playing Chief Brody’s son Mike) and his babe (Armstrong) to clean up the pool.
For some reason, the early eighties had a minor 3D revival: Amityville 3D, Friday The 13th 3D, Parasite 3D and this dry crouton…Jaws 3D. Needless to say that unless you’re tripping on 'shrooms, you won't get the 3D effect popping at ya while watching this goldfish on tape. What you might get though is a hammering case of the snores. Straight up, it took me 4 sittings to watch JAWS 3D completely…I’d always wind up hitting some Zs 20 minutes in, dreaming of Tracy Lords fixing me breakfast. Well, I finally managed to watch the whole thing and I have to say that this second sequel to Spielberg’s massive hit "Jaws" is guilty of the worst movie sin of all: being an absolute BORE!
Now I can see how the idea of slapping our finned eating machine in a Sea World environment might sound gnarly at first. It’s a different setting than the previous two entries and to my knowledge, it's never been done before. Unfortunately, a nifty idea doesn’t always make for a thrilling film. Since Sea World is a self-contained park and few folks swim there, the movie failed miserably in tapping into my fear of the unknown that lurks beneath the water. And to me, that’s what made the previous two "Jaws" flicks edgy. To compensate for its short of scares/action, the flick decides to concentrate on the inconsequential garbage instead. It explores two relationships extensively (like I cared), slaps way too many characters our way, shows us countless shots of dolphins flipping around in slow-mo and even comes off as a shameless Sea-World advertisement at times. Funny how the second thing that came out of my mouth once the credits rolled was: "I want to go to Sea World!" What was the first thing, you may ask? That’s easy…"FUCK THIS MOVIE!"
I don’t need 27 paragraphs to describe what Jaws 3D is all about. It’s about bla-bla-bla from characters who we can’t care about because all they do is bla-bla-bla. The film also feels the need to inject some kind of excitement our way by slapping two robbers on a rubber boat, breaking into Sea-World to steal "I don’t know what" from the bottom of the pond. Guess what happens to them? Chomp Chomp. Are you enthralled yet? I can’t take the excitement either! The film takes yet another path after that with more trivial bla-bla-bla, as we get to some water skiers do groovy techniques, Shamu the wonder Orca, dolphins acting cute and then…well, the last 20 minutes kick in. To be fair, the last block of the flick is somewhat amusing with mama shark crashing the party. I kind of dug seeing the shark threatening the peeps in the underwater tunnels (reminded me of "Godzilla" for some reason). It was kool in a tacky way. But the highlight for me was when big mama attacked a water skier show and a water bumper car ride. For those 5 minutes, I was actually fully awake and felt a pinch (I said pinch) of suspense. If only the film would’ve sported more moments like these…
But alas, the flick kicked into “bah” gear again, jumping to a bland underwater final confrontation. Was the director taking weed naps on set? Put some freaking energy into it, yo! Tag all that with awful special effects (what was that “Matchbox” submarine all about), Bruce the shark looking worse than ever (Arrow advice: don’t ever put a fake shark next to real dolphins, it makes the shark look even phonier), stinky blue screen visuals and a very abrupt ending (I guess I’ll never know if the lovebirds stay together) and you get a flick that just can’t stop drowning. All that to say: This franchise has passed its expiry date and this sushi stinks!
We get a chewed off arm, a mangled up corpse, a nasty shark bite, some blood in the water and an exploding shark. Decent.
Dennis Quaid (Mike) does what he can with the part. Too bad I didn’t care about his character. Bess Armstrong (Kate) also does fine but again, I did not care about whom she played. Simon MacCorkindale (Phillip) lets his thick accent do most of the acting. Louis Gossett Jr. (Calvin) proves once more that he’ll do anything for a couple of bucks. When’s that Iron Eagle 5 coming out, Louis? John Putch (Sean) manages to be charming in his thinly written role. Good job! Lea Thompson (Kelly Ann) has great legs and a beautiful smile. Her acting is aight too!
T & A
Dudettes and dudes in swimsuits. The highlight is Lea Thompson teasing us by keeping her top on! What a waste.
Did Joe Alves pop some sleeping pills before going behind the camera? No wonder he’s never directed again. The flick is quite plain to look at, the tension never reaches a satisfying level and the pace is SLOWWW! Somebody should’ve given Alves some yeyo to kick him into gear.
At first, the score sounded like a "Friday The 13th" knockoff, it then remained absent for a while until the classic John Williams score kicked in. Even Williams’ awesome score couldn’t save this one though.
You know, with a good script polish and a more competent director, JAWS 3D could’ve been ok. But as is, the film is too dull to sit through to warrant a viewing. Sure, that 5-minute of action was kool and John Williams’ flawless score always rocks, but I needed way more goodies! Basically, this sequel is a no-win situation. If you get intoxicated before watching it to laugh at its cheesiness, you’ll fall asleep eventually. If you tackle it sober wanting to enjoy it as a real movie, you’ll probably count dead sheep there too. The only people I can see getting a goof out of this are Sea World personnel and Orca extraordinaire Shamu. Others should swim in the opposite direction. Off to "Jaws: The Revenge" I go…fuck me man…I be screwed!
Joe Alves was production designer on the first two JAWS films. This film was his directorial debut and the last one he ever helmed.
"Jaws 3" was originally going to be a spoof of the first "Jaws" called "Jaws: 3 People: 0". I guess they let that BRILLIANT idea go. Thank god!
This was Lea Thompson’s first feature film acting gig.