So normally Sharktoplushie would be handling this review since he deals with all things shark related but this movie has a lot of sentimental value to me so allow a brief bit of seriousness. Now when this movie came out, I was a 6 year old kid living in Nashville, TN. before my mom and step-dad moved to Birmingham, AL. Now even though I was a little kid, I had already seen the first two Jaws films on TV and I really wanted to see this new one. Well, one day my Granny (my grandmother on my mom’s side, a.k.a. the cookie grandma to my Texas friends) checked me out of daycare early and the two of us went to see this movie. This was awesome for me because a) it was my first time seeing a Jaws movie in the theaters, and b) it was in 3-D, which was freaking cool. So while today’s movie may not be the best movie ever, it will always have a spot in my heart just for that memory. Ok, enough mushiness. On to today’s movie, Jaws 3-D.
The plot: At SeaWorld in Florida, entrepreneur Calvin Bouchard is overseeing the preparations for opening day, with the focus being the new underwater tunnels, which offer a close up view of the different animals in the park. As the ski team practices their run, a shark follows them into the park’s lagoon, knocking the security gate off it’s track in the process. Head engineer Mike Brody examines the gate with his crew and orders them to just secure the gate and fix it later as he doesn’t want them on overtime. Mike then heads off to see his girlfriend, Dr. Kathryn “Kay” Morgan, the senior marine biologist. He finds her riding on Shamu (the killer whale) and as the two talk, she orders her assistant to let Cindy and Sandy (two dolphins) out in the lagoon for some exercise. Her assistant comes back saying that the dolphins don’t want to leave their pen so she says to lock them up before she leaves with Mike. As they head out of the park, they see Calvin talking with his friend, oceanographer and filmmaker Phillip FitzRoyce in front of some reporters but ignore them when they see Mike’s brother Sean, who just arrived for a visit. That night, one of Mike’s workers, Overman, goes into the lagoon to fix the gate but he is attacked and killed, as are two poachers that sneak into the park to try and steal some of the coral. The next day Mike finds out that Overman is still missing so he and Kate go into the lagoon to see if something happened to him. As they search the underwater Spanish galleon, Cindy and Sandy appear and try to keep the two away from the ship. Mike and Kay continue to look inside when suddenly a small great white shark begins to attack the ship. Mike and Kay, with the help of the dolphins, manage to swim to safety in the dolphin’s pen just before the shark rams the fence. Mike and Kay inform Calvin about what happened and he initially plans on having FitzRoyce film the killing of the shark, but after Kay tells him that no other park has been able to keep a great white alive in captivity, he realizes that he can make more money if they are able to capture the shark alive. That night, Kay, accompanied by FitzRoyce and his partner, Jack, to film the proceedings, heads into the lagoon to try and capture the shark. When the shark suddenly attacks Kay from behind, grabbing her scuba tank, FitzRoyce begins pounding on it’s head in order to get it to release Kay. Mike manages to shoot a spear, attached to a flotation tank, into the shark, slowing the shark enough for Kay to jab it with a tranquilizer. The shark is transferred to a holding tank where Mike, Kay, and her team are able to revive the shark. On opening day, Calvin is pleased with the ticket sales and decides to go ahead and move the great white to an exhibition tank against Kay’s orders. Kay finds out and heads to the tank just as the shark stops swimming and rolls onto it’s back. Kay and her assistant, Danny, jump into the tank to attempt to save the shark but it is unresponsive and ends up dying. Meanwhile, visitors in the underwater tunnels begin screaming when Overman’s corpse suddenly floats by the window. Mike and Kay examine the corpse to determine if the shark they captured killed him but when Kay sees the bite radius, she realizes that he was killed by a much bigger shark. Mike and Kay find Calvin, who is having drinks with FitzRoyce, and inform him that the shark that killed Overman was not the one they captured, but the shark’s mother, which she estimates to be about 35 feet long. Calvin doesn’t believe her at first until the shark suddenly appears outside of the underwater lounge. Kay heads off to make sure the animals are ok while Mike, Fitroyce, and Jack go to get people out of the lagoon. The shark chases after several water skiers and injures several people, including Kelly, and employee that Sean was seeing. As people are trying to leave the underwater tunnels, the shark rams one of the tunnels, causing the tunnels to seal off to prevent them from flooding, trapping some of the people inside. Theorizing that the shark must have been stuck in one of the filtration pipes, FitzRoyce and Jack try to lure the shark back into the pipe, allowing Mike and Kay to weld a patch onto the tunnel to free the trapped people. FitzRoyce manages to lure the shark into the pipe, but when his safety rope breaks, he finds himself trapped with the shark and attempts to use a grenade to kill it but the massive shark swallows him whole before he can pull the pin. Mike and Kay manage to get the patch in place just as the shark escapes form the pipe and heads towards them. Cindy and Sandy attack the shark, allowing Mike and Kay to swim to the underwater control room. Inside, Calvin is able to repressurize the tunnel, allowing the people to escape. Suddenly, the shark rams through the control room window, flooding the control room. Calvin is able to rescue one of the technicians but a the shark kills the second one before going after Mike and Kay. Seeing FitzRoyce’s body, with the grenade still in his hand, inside the shark’s mouth, Mike uses a bent piece of tubing to pull the pin on the grenade, causing the shark to explode. Mike and Kay swim to the surface of the lagoon, where they witness Cindy and Sandy leaping in celebration.
Jaws 3-D was pretty negatively reviewed by the critics, earning only an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics called the movie tepid and criticized the use of 3-D as a gimmick to attract the audiences to the theaters. The fact that the 3-D scenes did not translate well onto television also attributed to the critics dislike for the film. The audiences didn’t seem to buy into the marketing for the movie as it would only make over $87 million worldwide, which was about $100 million less than it’s predecessor and almost $400 million less than the original. The movie was nominated for 5 Razzies (Worst Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Screenplay, and Newcomer) but did not win any of them.
6 year old me loved this movie but as an adult, I can admit that this movie is not that good. For being the male lead, Dennis Quaid just seemed rather bland in his scenes. Louis Gossett Jr and Simon MacCorkindale were much better in their roles of Calvin Bouchard and Phillip FitzRoyce respectively. The plot was ok except for the whole “mother shark avenging her baby bit” since sharks don’t really mother their young. The scenes with the smaller shark were pretty good but when the larger shark showed up, it actually seemed somewhat anti-climactic. The 3-D scenes are weird because it looks like they were filmed slower. That actually made some of the scenes as a whole look really stupid, such as when the shark is heading towards the control room and everyone is reacting in slow motion before it finally pierces the glass. There is a good memory attached to this movie, but that doesn’t help make it any better.
Rating: 2 out of 5