The Movie Waffler Retro Review - The Jaws Sequels | The Movie Waffler

Retro Review - The Jaws Sequels

Everyone loves Spielberg's 1975 classic, it's sequels not so much. Are they unfairly derided or justly so? Assuming by now it's safe to go back in the water we venture out to investigate.

Jaws 2 (1978)
Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc
Starring: Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Keith Gordon

How could "Jaws 2" live up to it's predecessor? Well it doesn't but the first hour is worth a watch for fans of the original as we spend time hanging out with Roy Scheider. Carl Gottlieb returns on writing duties and the early scenes have some great dialogue. Gary and Hamilton return and have their roles fleshed out more. It might seem a strange criticism but this would have been a far better film without the shark.
The movie's second half features Mike Brody, who seems to have aged six years in just three, and his annoying teen friends stuck out at sea while the shark circles. We don't care a hoot for these kids and Szwarc has no clue how to generate tension. It's implied the shark featured here is somehow related to the first one and is back for revenge. The highlight features a helicopter dined on by the creature but once this movie hits the sea it drowns.

Jaws 3-D (1983)
Directed by: Joe Alves
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Simon MacCorkindale, Lea Thompson, Louis Gossett Jnr, John Putch

Gottlieb returns, this time writing with no less than the legendary author Richard Matheson as his script partner. Must be good, right? Wrong, this is awful from the start.
The action moves away from Amity Island to a giant water theme park in Florida. Guess who has a job there? Mike Brody, now played by a thirty year old Dennis Quaid. What bizarre condition does he suffer from that causes such rapid aging?
A young Great White is captured and put on display in the park but, in a plot twist lifted from "Gorgo", it's gigantic mother turns up looking for baby. You would think this would be a formula for cinematic carnage but it's incredibly dull and barely anyone gets eaten. If only Roger Corman had taken over the franchise.
The early eighties saw a (fortunately for movie-goers) failed attempt to revive 3D and this is full of the gimmicks we still see in today's crop of three, or should I say one, dimensional flicks. Harpoons, severed arms, fish heads and even a set of jaws are thrown at the camera. When I saw this as a kid, audiences were throwing just as many items back in disgust.

Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Directed by: Joseph Sargent
Starring: Michael Caine, Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles

Caine was once asked if he had ever seen "Jaws: The Revenge" and famously replied "No, but I've seen the house it built." This truly is awful, opening with the killing of Sean Brody by yet another shark who seems somehow related to the original. Older brother Mike, now portrayed by Guest, seems to have aged backwards since the third movie and is working in the carribean with a crew of local stereotypes. Van Peebles terrible accent may have inspired Jar Jar Binks. The shark is clever enough to track down Mike but sadly not clever enough to finish him off, leaving it open for a sequel which thankfully never happened.