15 September 2005 | TOMASBBloodhound
Mediocre, but Oscar worthy compared to part IV.
Saw this one in all its 3D glory in the theater back in 1983, and it really scared the heck out of me. (I was ten) This film furthers the saga of the Brody family as sons Sean and Mike are now fully grown and moved away from Amity Island. Sean does something in Colorado if I recall, and Mike is (heh, heh, heh,) an underwater welder who just finished construction of an undersea kingdom at Sea World in Florida. Just when the park is about to have a grand opening, some uninvited guests show up. They being a 35-foot great white shark and her offspring. Needless to say, some people get eaten.
This film was originally going to be made as spoof of the previous two films. I'm not sure if any type of a finished script to that effect exists, but it would be worth a look. Jaws 3D ends up being another serious monster movie with a disaster movie subplot. Not only does the shark eat a bunch of people, it also traps several others in the underwater part of the park. The race is on to save the people and kill the mother shark. Her baby dies midway through after it is captured and hastily put on display in the park. The conclusion is fairly exciting, and full of bloody carnage.
The cast is one of the stronger points of the film. Dennis Quaid is the fearless Mike Brody. Bess Armstrong plays the park's head biologist and Quaid's love interest. (The real sparks were apparently flying between Quaid and Lea Thompson off camera, though!) Thompson plays a water skier at the park, and John Putch plays Sean Brody who falls for her. Simon MacCorkindale and P.H. Moriarity play a couple of Englishmen who show up and help battle the sharks. By far the best performance is turned in by Louis Gossett Jr., fresh off his Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman. He plays the owner/manager/president (I'm really not sure which) of the park. He has a terrific moment as he addresses the park guests in the underwater tunnels over the p.a. system. He turns on the fake executive public relations charm and asks them all to calmly exit the park just as the giant shark is bearing down on them.
The individuals who play Dan and Liz left a lot to be desired. Since no other film credits are listed for them, one would have to conclude that they actually worked at Sea World and were given these roles since this is what they do on a daily basis. Maybe they still work there. Anyone know? The sharks look pretty good in most of the scenes. Except at the very end when the shark is lodged into the control room and its tail is sticking out. That looked incredibly fake. In addition, sharks must always stay moving in the water or they'll die. They can't just lay low in huge underwater structures waiting to pounce on their victims. They usually strike from directly underneath their victims in most attack scenarios. The big shark in this film also has the ability to growl and roar, but not as loudly as the one in part IV! The 3D effect looked very good in the theater, but films like this lose quite a bit of their luster on the TV screen. You're only left with a bunch of gag shots that were supposed to scare viewers in the theater, but now look ludicrous and forced.
This film made some pretty decent $ in its theatrical run, and is still shown regularly on television. If nothing else is on, and you find yourself in front of a TV for an extended period, give this film a try. But be forewarned: Part IV is perhaps the worst film ever made. Don't waste your time on that one! 5 of 10 stars.