Jaws 3-D. The original Jaws is a classic, Jaws 2 is pretty dumb but still entertaining, but this second sequel and third flick in the series is....Just....Plain....Awful.
Working at SeaWorld in Florida, Mike Brody (Dennis Quaid) is one of many employees readying for the opening of a new exhibit. It features underwater tunnels and a restaurant that allow park visitors to see what the ocean is like from an underwater perspective. The opening though has a minor hitch....a great white shark has been trapped in the enclosed water park, and it has already claimed a few victims. What to do? Working with his girlfriend and animal trainer Dr. Kay Morgan (Bess Armstrong), Mike and several other park workers manage to capture the shark, the first captured great white shark ever. Problem solved, right? Not so fast. The captured shark is the baby.....and it's mom is angry and also trapped in the park. Where exactly is this immense 35-foot shark hiding? Can they find it and kill it before it claims any more victims?
Oh, good Lord, this movie was awful. My viewing recently was the first time I'd ever really watched this sequel, and it will most definitely be the last. This dreck doesn't even have that quality of 'It's so truly bad that it's good and entertaining.' What's unfortunate is that the basic premise -- a killer shark trapped in a highly populated area -- has the potential to be at least mildly entertaining. That's all it is though, just potential. There are any number of deal-breakers here from the lousy acting to the poorly written script to the horrifically bad special effects, and I use that term ever so lightly. All instances that in itself would be bad, but wouldn't you know it? '3-D' offers all of the above for our viewing pleasure!
I'll kick things off with the 3-D element here. By 1983, studios had at least some semblance of technology available, but apparently director Joe Alves pissed someone off and didn't get any of that technology. The actual use of 3-D technology is laughable here. We get countless shots of dolphins, fish and assorted sea life swimming right at the camera. Watch out! They're going to swim right at us out of the television! That's just one thing though. At one point, the 35-foot shark swims directly at the camera, but it is so ridiculously fake-looking that I ended up laughing. The shark doesn't move, doesn't swim. It just appears to be floating at us menacingly. Then, when the shark -- SPOILERS STOP READING SPOILERS -- meets his maker, its blood and jaw come spiraling at us. I'm not a fan of 3-D anything (even when some money is spent on it), but when it's this bad.....wow, just wow.
Okay, moving on. Let's tackle the script here. Yes, you guessed it. It is awful. The shark is almost secondary to the story and takes a backseat to basically everything. The first 30 minutes are spent with Mike (son of Roy Scheider's Chief Brody) and Kay as they meet up with Mike's younger brother, Sean (John Putch), and try to get him to have some sex with slutty water skier Kelly Ann (Lea Thompson). There's never any rhythm to any of the story, just random attacks that we never really see clearly and then a bunch of explaining. The reveal that the shark they've caught is hysterical. Apparently the 35-foot shark is hiding in a ventilation pipe. Yep, it's just sitting there waiting to strike. Also look for Louis Gossett Jr. as the park manager, Simon MacCorkindale as hunter FitzRoyce with P.H. Moriarty as Tate, his hunting assistant.
There was an art to how the original Jaws presented the lurking shark and its impending attacks. John Williams' score here is thrown by the wayside, just the main 'Shark theme' making the transition here. It's stupid. We never really see any of the shark attacks, and all the tension goes out the window. What we see of the attacks are quick and hard to follow. It also ends on a highly inappropriate freeze frame. People have just died tragically and horrifically via shark attack, but Quaid's Mike jumps out of the water with a pump of his fist. A super-imposed dolphin jumps out of the water and twirls in the air. Yeah for survival! It goes beyond dumb and entertaining here. It's just dumb to the point I felt stupider having watched it.
Jaws 3-D (1983): */****