Here’s the deal. Jaws: The Revenge is a very bad movie. I enjoy knowing which movies people like and don’t like and why. I firmly believe that intelligent people can appreciate very different movies. But I have yet to meet anyone who thinks Jaws: The Revenge is good.
In my humble opinion, it is the worst movie sequel ever made.
Of course, everyone has their own ideas. I recently heard Topher Grace opine that Space Jam is perhaps the worst movie ever. Silliness. Space Jam is not particularly bad. Then again, it’s hard to fully trust someone when, if you exchange the initial letters of their first and last name, they appear to be a sketcher of oversized rodents. Am I right or am I right?
Please, use the comment section to express opinions contrary to either those of myself or Topher, but I’ll stick with my contention. Yes, Star Wars (The Revenge of Jar Jar) is in the running, Batman and Robin (and Schwarzenegger) is a contender and a close runner up may be Oceans Twelve (i.e. Walking Around Europe Talking), but they fall just short of snagging the honor.
Why is this fourth fish tale so egregious? Because the original was such the opposite. Jaws is one of my top ten favorite movies of all time. Because this is not a blog about things I am in favor of, I shall not spell out the argument for this cinematic gem here, suffice to say there is nothing in the history of filmmaking that compares with the disparity between the original and the final entry.
You want evidence? That I can do.
Here’s the basic plot – Ellen Brody, for fear that sharks are singling out her and her family members as entrees, retreats to the Bahamas (nice move, you’ve got shark troubles so you move to an island), where Great Whites do not live. Or do they? For, you see, such is the raw hatred for the Brody family among sea life that one such shark does in fact follow her all the way from New England. The “story” tellers never bother to explain why this particular shark is out to get her. There seems to be some vague connection to the shark her husband killed years before – maybe they were roommates in college…that’s as viable as anything this movie offers in terms of logic. Who knows why the shark is out to get her and her family? Who knows how the shark knows where she went? Who knows why Michael Caine agreed to appear in this film? The good news is, by the time you’re ten minutes into the movie, you just won’t care.
Maybe you’d argue that it has some type of camp value. I say good movies are allowed only one campy sequel. Say hello to Jaws 3D. Also quite silly, but not nearly as intellectually insulting. And here’s the crazy thing, the fourth Jaws chose to completely ignore Jaws 3D. Yes, they both featured the character of Michael Brody, but everything Michael did in 3 is unaccounted for in 4. (Can you imagine if, in Toy Story 3, Woody was a Tickle Me Elmo and Buzz was a pet rock?) And it would not have been difficult to keep the story line coherent, but the filmmakers were clearly too busy wooing Mario Van Peebles to take a gander at the movies they were basing theirs on.
And Jaws: The Revenge has one of the most ridiculously unbelievable endings you’ll ever see. The shark (which is roughly the size of Metallica’s tour bus) is leaping into the air like a ballet dancer and roaring. Let’s take a moment here. The shark is roaring. Completely inexplicable. One of the most bizarre choices you’ll ever see. A shark. That roars. Really. Anyway. The vociferous beast is impaled by a boat’s bow which causes it to…you guessed it, explode. I do believe it’s typical for a stabbing wound to cause explosion – that’s why fencers wear those face guards, they don’t want to get messy.
I know what you’re thinking – isn’t this movie review a few decades late? Yes, of course you’re right. But when it comes to 89 minutes of poorly written, poorly acted, poorly filmed, mind-numbing crap that dares to claim itself a descendant of Spielberg’s masterpiece…well, that’s worth revisiting.
So, how am I going to do it? How will I, a man who can barely doggy paddle, defeat Jaws: The Revenge. I don’t need to. It defeated itself. There are no websites for fans of the film. But there are dozens of people deriding it. And rightly so. I know I’m not nearly the first to point out the movie’s flaws, but I think it bears repeating every couple of years. Lest our kids not learn the lesson and accidentally add it to their Netflix list. We have suffered so that future generations may not.
Because this is a movie that didn’t just jump the shark…it blew it up.