When a massive great white shark gets trapped in SeaWorld, it is up to the sons of Martin Brody to stop the shark from creating chaos.
Director: Joe Alves
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Simon MacCorkindale, Louis Gossett Jr., John Putch, Lea Thompson
MPAA Rating: PG for intense moments and language
Fun Fact: The only film that Joe Alves has directed.
While Jaws 2 did not make the impact that the first film had, it still brought in quite a bit of money at the box office. This led to Universal Studios to commission another sequel to the now franchise. While another sequel was not necessary, the studio decided to go a new direction to make it stand out. In the 1980’s 3-D in film was trying to make a comeback as various franchises tried to bring the gimmick back to various results. With the third film, the studio did not hire any performers from the previous films while star Roy Scheider did everything he could not to be asked to appear.
Jaws 3 is a disaster in many ways that I am interested in how this got made. From the opening shot we get awkward camera angles and special effects that are underwhelming. There is quite a bit of these camera angles and close ups as the film was originally shot in the 3-D format. This would work if there was a more widely distributed 3-D version. When the film is aired on television or on streaming, we get the regular version. The worst part of the effects is the shark itself. It looks extremely fake and there is no tension with it. The shark when attacking people is slow and anyone could swim away from it. There is a hilarious scene when the characters are in an underwater area with glass looking out in the water. The shark slowly floats towards it to break the glass. The characters are frozen with freight and do not bother to get away. The ridiculousness of this is at an all time high. It does not help that the performances of these characters do not make it convincing.
Speaking of performances everyone is awful and these characters are horrible. Dennis Quaid delivers one of the worst performances of his career. Half of the time I thought I was seeing Ashton Kutcher’s Michael Kelso from That 70’s Show on the screen. That is an insult to the Kelso character. Quaid’s character acts like a jock that you can not understand half of the time and his only interests are making out with his girlfriend who is played by Bess Armstrong. Gets old after a bit. Then again it was said that every scene that Quaid was on he was on cocaine. Bess Armstrong’s character might have the most characterization in the film. While Armstrong is not bad in the performance, the character is forgettable. John Putch and Lea Thompson have a weird chemistry. Their characters relationship moves pretty fast and they fall in love after playing some weird bar game. That is a head scratching moment until something happens and both are never seen again. That does not make sense either because Putch and Quaid are the supposed sons of Martin Brody so should they be in the movie fighting the shark? While Quaid is the lead Putch is involved little and once again that makes no sense in logic. Louis Gossett Jr. plays the owner of SeaWorld and he is just there. His performance is not bad, but he lacks character as he is just rich and that’s it.
There are a few things that I give the film some credit towards. For one the story idea is there with it being away from Amity. The plot involves the shark being trapped in SeaWorld. That gives the film a different perspective then the previous two. The problem is that the studio made the film that they wanted instead of what they thought people might enjoy. John Williams sadly does not return, but his famous theme music is used. Alan Parker takes over composing duties in this film. Some of the music that Parker composed is effective in certain areas and he tries his hardest to elevate tension with his music.
Overall, Jaws 3 is an unnecessary sequel that did not need to be made. I give the film credit for having an interesting and different idea, but it has many problems. The leading problems are that the effects are awful and if I had watched this in 3-D, I might have a different opinion on it. The camera angles are awkward, and the shark is not menacing. The shark comes off as slow and tired. The characters are also awful, and Dennis Quaid delivers one of the worst performances that I have seen on film in a while. Every performer has been great in other films, but their characters are so awfully written that you will not care about them and they are forgettable. That is one of the biggest crimes in film and that is awful characters that you can not get behind. Alan Parker tries to salvage what he can with his music, but it is no John Williams. Now you can see why Roy Scheider turned down being in this film. You could say that it is safe to go back in the water. I mean it can not get any worse can it?