Directed by: Joe Alves
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Written by Nick McCann
Oh how great of a shift this is. “Jaws” is “film history”, while “Jaws 2” felt like an okay yet inferior continuation. Across both movies there exists roughly the same atmosphere, mood, and energy that make up the now classic summer movie formula. Fast forward five years and Universal thinks this franchise has been sat on long enough. Not only that but horror was going 3-D around the same time. What better way to make money than to bring the terror out of the screen? Well… perhaps make a good movie first.
To begin with, there’s a sharp downgrade in the plot. Not only is it the most boring character drama thus far, but the basic premise is also quite disappointing. Setting a giant shark loose in SeaWorld for blood-soaked mayhem could’ve been guilty fun had they committed to doing so. Sadly, nothing of great interest happens. The pacing is in the toilet, trading tallies on the body count for an extended look of severed limbs floating underwater.
The cast doesn’t make it any more bearable. The characters and script they have to work with are bad. Dennis Quaid and Lou Gosset Jr. (freshly Oscar-awarded by the way) are doing the best they can. Everyone else has as much dimension as an empty dinner plate. It’s the kind of movie where there’s banter going around a lot and you can feel yourself sinking down in your seat from the embarrassment. There isn’t any fun, unique or engaging personality to latch onto.
Where the movie becomes infamous is the special effects. 3-D back then wasn’t that remarkable, but this may just be the bottom of the barrel. The animatronic shark is stiff and incapable of doing much beyond opening its mouth too often. Miniatures also look blatantly obvious and every frame of green screen work is rough beyond all hell. Even the cinematography has a ton of blurry compositions. The results are quite amusing, with some awful shots getting a lot of prolonged screen time. This is all regardless if you got the most recent home release that puts back in the 3-D effect or not. Either way, this is an ugly-looking movie that is sure to get a laugh out of you.
Despite all I’ve said, this isn’t the worst movie out there. All these horrid elements together admittedly make the film more laughable than insufferable. “Jaws 3-D” has a ton of problems but pushed forth anyways with their shoddy gimmick. Despite all the boring characters, weak effects, and ludicrous plot, it can be something of a good time if your head is in the right space. And occasionally there’s something neat to admire (a fine score by Alan Parker, live sea animals being cute, etc). That said, the worst has yet to come for the “Jaws” series.
“Jaws 3-D” Trailer