Thursday, October 3, 2013

JAWS 3 (1983)

There are moments when we cannot believe that what is happening is really true.  Pinch yourself and you may find out that it is.

SYNOPSIS: Mike Brody is so traumatized by his multiple shark attack experiences that he takes a job at Sea World, where he dates a comely biologist named Kay.  Two old friends show up: his brother Sean, who is now a landlocked Colorado cowboy, and a killer great white.  The latter is a big problem because Sea World has just debuted an underwater marine experience attraction thing, which the shark's mother attacks.  This was originally JAWS 3-D, but AFAIK all of the viewing options Stateside (DVD, streaming) are flat 2-D.

WHAT WORKED:
Let's talk about good/adequate acting for a second.  This movie is pretty terrible on all fronts, but it's unfair that people who really tried should not be recognized.  So, MVP to you, Bess Armstrong who played the lady biologist.  In a film in which acting ranges from cardboard-flat to cyborg-droning, she executes the very flawed script to the point that you could believe her character is a real human.


I enjoyed the suggestions that Sea World is really a pretty crappy place.  Louis Gossett Jr. as the manager who never doesn't have a glass of whiskey, hyperbitchy employee orientations, and a spiffy new attraction that includes a shitty marine-themed haunted house.


The Sea World of JAWS 3 is the kind of place that would callously throw together a great white exhibit and decorate it with the world's most terrible signage.


"Sh sh shark" being one of this film's only proofs of wit.  

WHAT DIDN'T WORK:
I saw JAWS 3-D in 3-D and it still wasn't great, even though I was very young and ignorant enough to think ICE PIRATES was some kind of masterwork.  But the conversion process into 2-D renders it even more annoying and disappointing.  We get terrible effects, clearly designed for the 3-D gimmick, that are now just sub-Asylum bad.


Even the credits are obnoxiously thrust out at you in a lurid and shameful way.


The makers obviously intended the gimmick to carry the weak and whimpering material.  But, in the case of this transfer, 3-D is a serious handicap, since lots of scenes have the same blurry look that happens before you put on the glasses, usually at the edges of the frame or in the background.


Not sure if this was a rush-job conversion or if whatever 3-D they used just isn't adaptable, but DIDN'T WORK/SUCKED for sure.

Jutting arms aside, parts of this film are unbelievably hideous in a visual/cinematic sense.  Some scenes appear to be minimally lit, so we get to squint and try to parse out which black blobs are people and which are waves.

Before you give the film some charity and say, "It's tough to light exteriors", look:


All this would be forgivable if JAWS 3 were more fun.  And it should be, the concept is completely ridiculous.  A shark attacks Sea World!  There could've been an epic shark/orca battle.  Instead, we get dolphin skirmishes and product-placement scenes of a mulatto leading white people down the boulevard.


This movie squanders its potential.  There's a scene in which people ride dolphins to escape a shark attack!  And, hearing that, you'd think it would be nonstop lols, but JAWS 3 somehow manages to stick tightly to its path of aggressive boredom no matter who is dying or what is exploding.


The shark has looked bad before, but never like this.  It's actually decent when shot from behind and the effects team seem to have spent lots of time ensuring the shark ass was authentic.  But then it's shot from the front and you realize that it's simply a butterface.

During one attack, a woman appears to be getting savaged by a shark-shaped pillow.  It's unbelievable that they wouldn't put a little more time into the fake shark if they were planning to show it this much!  Plus the climax scenes are so bad, they're the stuff of legend.


Really?


Really?

Painful to watch and made even more painful when you realize that one of the worst shark movies  ever has JAWS in its title.

RATING: 2

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