During the last 3D craze at cinemas a host of horror franchises released sequels specifically to cater to what they saw as a new market. Jaws 3, or Jaws 3D to give it its original title promised that ‘the 3rd dimension, was terror. Unable to convince any of the original casts of the first two films, Jaws 3 recast Brody’s children with the main lead taken by a young Dennis Quaid in one of his first acting roles. The screenplay was written by Jaws co-writer Carl Gottlieb and I Am Legend author Richard Matheson and it took over $87m from a budget of $18m.
Michael Brody (Dennis Quaid), the eldest son of Chief Brody from Amity Island has taken a job at SeaWorld dealing with marine biology and helping with the parks latest attraction, a huge underwater series of tunnels that will allow visitors to observe sea-life. A series of shark attacks begin to happen and a 10ft great white shark is caught and the powers-that-be decide to keep it in captivity. Unfortunately the shark begins to take a turn for the worse, which is when its 35ft mother comes to avenge its child.
As you can tell from the synopsis, all sense of simplicity and coherence from the original film has been traded for preposterous sensationalism in Jaws 3. It’s amazing that SeaWorld allowed its name to be associated to a film where visitors are mauled and killed, but then there are some moments for some good advertising shots, such as Shamu the killer whale and the dolphin show. The fact that the horribly two-dimensional characters rarely seem to behave in a sensible manner is glossed over with endless shots of the giant rubber shark in close-up. Steven Spielberg realised in 1975 that the less of the shark you show, the more tension there is. Jaws 3 goes the other way, showing as much shark as possible, probably to satisfy the latest 3D craze.
More akin to the slasher-horror Jaws 2 than the tension-filled horror-thriller Jaws, Jaws 3 refuses to spend any time giving the characters any meaningful story arcs and instead gets by with minimum fuss and absolutely zero quality. It’s actually an incredibly dull viewing experience and just goes to show how far the franchise had fallen by this point. Worse still, the was one further film to come, the atrocious Jaws: The Revenge. Yet there’s a reason Jaws 3 was written out of the Jaws canon, with Michael being recast again in the next film. Still Jaws 3 should be a reminder to those that currently love 3D that the quality of film-making is almost always reduced to fit within the confines of modern technology, which 30 years later will look and feel terrible to all senses.