Afternoon people. It’s me, your favorite shark/octopus hybrid plushie, Sharktoplushie. Yes, considering yesterday’s movie, you all should have figured that I would be sticking around for a while. Now where were we..ahhh, yes. So after the massive success of Jaws, Universal wanted to do a sequel almost immediately. However, they had two problems to overcome. The first one is that while the original movie was based off of Peter Benchley’s book, they would have to come up with their own source material for the movie. The second was that Steven Spielberg refused to work on a sequel, in part to his dislike of sequels in general and the problems he faced making the first movie. Still, Universal pushed on and three years later, Jaws 2 hit the screens.
The plot: Two divers are exploring and photographing the sunken wreck of the Orca when they are suddenly attacked and killed. Meanwhile, on Amity Island, Police Chief Martin Brody is meeting his wife and kids at the opening ceremony of the new hotel that was built by land developer Len Peterson, unaware of the shark swimming nearby. The next day, Brody is talking to his deputy, Len Hendricks, on the dock when a passing boat informs them of an abandoned boat in the channel so Brody sends Hendricks to investigate. When Hendricks returns to the station, he has a dive camera that Tom Andrews, the local dive instructor, had brought up from underneath the abandoned boat. Out in the ocean, the shark misses out on attacking a para-sailor but soon begins to chase after a water skier, eventually knocking the skier into the water where the shark kills her. The boat driver, seeing her friend is missing, circles back to where her ski is floating. The shark attacks the boat and the frightened woman dumps gasoline on the shark and sets it on fire with a flare gun, burning the shark but inadvertently catching herself on fire before the boat explodes. The explosion is heard by two teenagers and an old woman, who calls the police. Brody has Hendrick’s drag the ocean to try and find the bodies, but the only thing he finds is a power cable. The next day, Mike Brody and his friends are hanging out at a nearby light house when they discover the body of a killer whale with huge bite marks on it, causing Brody to believe another shark has returned. As Brody walks down the beach, he notices a piece of wreckage from the speedboat in the surf and when he goes to retrieve it, discovers the charred body of the boat’s driver. The next day, Mayor Vaughn and Len Peterson are showing prospective clients the town beach when they notice Brody standing watch in a shark tower. The two men try to get the clients away from the beach before they become concerned but Brody, noticing a shadow under the water, causes a panic when he orders everyone out of the water and begins shooting at the water, only for it to be a school of bluefish. That night, Brody gets the film from the diver’s camera and goes to the town hall meeting to try and convince them that there is a shark in the area, but they dispute his claim and fire him because of the incident on the beach. The next morning, Mike sneaks out to go sailing with his friends and is forced to take his little brother Sean so that Sean doesn’t tell their parents. As the kids prepare to sail, Marge, one of Mike’s friends, offers to let Sean sail on her boat, allowing Mike to take Jackie, the girl he has been trying to date. As they sail out of the harbor, they pass by Tom Andrews’ dive class and joke with Tom about bringing them back some lobster. Tom leads his class down into the ocean, but as he is exploring some underwater weeds, the shark lunges out at him. Frightened, Tom rushes to the surface but due to his surfacing to fast, develops an embolism and the boat rushes him back to shore as the shark heads off after the teenager’s sailboat. Tina Wilcox and Eddie Marchand fall behind the rest of their friends and decide to fool around when the shark suddenly attacks their boat, knocking Eddie into the water and as Eddie swims back to the boat, the shark attacks and kills him. Back on the island, Brody is giving his wife Ellen a ride to work when they notice an ambulance heading toward the docks. Following it, the get there just as Tom Andrews is being loaded into an ambulance. When they hear that Mike had gone with his friends to the lighthouse, Brody and Ellen get on the police boat, forcing Hendricks to go with them as they have no authority. They eventually come upon Eddie’s boat and discover Tina hiding in the bow and when they start to bring her out, she begins screaming about a shark. Signaling a passing boat to help, Brody leaves Hendricks and Ellen with Tona and heads off after the kids. Meanwhile, Mike and his friends have decided to go past the lighthouse and are goofing off when the shark suddenly attacks the boats. Several boats are either damaged by the shark or by running into each other and Mike winds up getting knocked out and is drifting in the ocean. The shark returns and heads straight for Mike, but two of his friends, whose boat is not damaged, manage to pull him out of the water and go for help. The remaining kids use some ropes to tie the damaged boats together into a makeshift raft. Brody arrives at the lighthouse, but when he doesn’t see the kids around, calls the harbor patrol to get a chopper to help search. The chopper discovers the kids and prepares to tow them to Cable Junction, a nearby power relay station, but as he prepares to take off, the shark lunges out of the water and grabs onto one of the choppers pontoons, causing the chopper to crash and further damage the makeshift raft. The shark then breaks the raft apart, knocking some people into the water, including Sean. Marge goes in after Sean and manages to get him onto the hull of her boat, but the shark kills Marge before she can climb to safety. Meanwhile, Brody spots the boat with Mike and his friends and after Mike tells him that Sean is out on the boats, he instructs the kids to head to the lighthouse while he goes after Sean and the others. Brody finds the raft stuck just off of Cable Junction, but as he tries to get closer to the kids, the shark comes out of the water, catching Brody off guard and causing him to crash on the island. Brody tries to use the tow winch to pull the kids to the island but the hooks become stuck on a power cable. Just then, the shark breaks through one of the boats, sending most of the kids into the ocean, where they swim to the island, leaving Sean and Jackie alone on the raft. Brody uses an inflatable raft to head out towards them but, noticing the power cable, begins pounding on the cable with an oar in order to attract the shark, then holds the cable down so that the shark bites the cable when it tries to attack him, electrocuting the shark. With the shark dead, Brody is able to rescue Sean and Jackie and take them to the island with the others, where they all await rescue.
Jaws 2 was met with mixed reviews from the critics, currently holding a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While many critics felt that it was “an inferior sequel to a classic”, they also agreed that it had some entertaining sequences, enough shocks, and decent story to make it an entertaining 2 hours. The movie was one of the most expensive films to be produced by Universal at that time and inspired more merchandising than the first film. The audiences seems to enjoy the movie as it would make over $208 million worldwide, which was not even half of what the original made, but still the highest grossing sequel at that time.
You know me. If the movie has a shark involved in it, I am going to see it. Nothing will ever really compare to the original, but this movie wasn’t that bad. Roy Scheider was great in reprising his role of Martin Brody, and Lorraine Gary and Murray Hamilton were also good reprising their roles of Ellen Brody and Mayor Vaughn respectively. The story was decent but the one thing I didn’t like about this movie was that this started a trend which would continue in future sequels, that of the shark specifically targeting the Brody family. The scenes with the shark were pretty good but you could definitely tell the difference in directors. Where Spielberg chose to keep the shark unseen for most of the movie in order to build up suspense, Jeannot Szwarc showcased the shark more, using shock and awe over suspense for the most part. Whether it is to complete the series or just to watch on it’s own, this is a good movie to watch.
Rating: 4 out of 5