When an enormous great white shark becomes trapped at a
SeaWorld theme park, the workers must figure out a way to destroy it.
Jaws 3 (1983)
Directed by Joe Alves
Written by Richard Matheson and Carl Gottlieb
Starring Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Simon MacCorkindale, Louis Gossett Jr., John Putch, Lea Thompson, P.H. Moriarty
Sequel to 1978's Jaws 2
Based on characters created by Peter Benchley
I knew exactly what to expect when I decided to watch Jaws 3. What I didn't expect was that it would have several moments of genuine terror and border on "so bad, it's good" territory. The early use of 3-D is astonishingly bad, as evidenced by the picture above. Believe it or not, that picture is a still from the climax, where the shark races towards the camera and breaks a whole bunch of 3-D glass in one of the worst special effects I've ever seen. But it still has that old familiar Jaws feel to it, despite a lack of good characters or any actual story.
The idea the film tries to pursue isn't half bad. Another giant great white shark continues its family's seemingly endless war against the Brody family by attacking the SeaWorld park the Mike Brody (Chief Brody's oldest son and Dennis Quaid) helped build. When the shark becomes trapped in the park, it's up to Brody and his girlfriend to somehow destroy it before it kills anybody else. Jaws 3 has a frightening shark design that it rarely uses, instead opting for the horrible 3-D rendering. However, there is one scene that stood out not just in the movie, but in the franchise. The character of Philip FitzRoyce, a poor Quint knockoff, is literally swallowed whole by the shark and chomped down on several times. The scene is filmed from his perspective, so we get to see the inside of the shark as his teeth close again and again. It was way more horrifying than anything I expected from this lackluster threequel, and I like to give credit where it's due.
One impressive scene is not enough to save the entire movie, which I found to essentially be one long commercial for SeaWorld with occasional focus on a shark. This film doesn't even come close to being in the same league as the first one, or even the second one. It's a painful slog through a cash-grab sequel that doesn't even have the decency to end the franchise. There's still one more left, and I hear it's a whopper.