Here’s the next entry in my journey of watching the Jaws sequels after a lifetime of not watching the Jaws sequels. To emphasize the point, I was asked by my friends on the United Federation of Podcasts to appear on a show called Fanchise Fatigue. They were covering the Jaws series, of which I’d only seen the first film. Like most human beings who enjoy movies, I love Jaws. That’s far from a unique opinion.
So I watched Jaws 2 to embark on this mission (I didn’t want to be “lost” in the later sequels after all), and that inevitably led to watching Jaws 3–D. Of course, the silliest part is that skipping Jaws 2 wouldn’t have affected my enjoyment (?) of Jaws 3-D at all.
What’s below is my review from Letterboxd, enhanced slightly, for your reading pleasure on this platform. But if you want more complete thoughts, as well as a rip-roaringly fun discussion of this nightmare monster (of a) film, then please check out my friends’ show Fanchise Fatigue. It’s worth your ears and your time!
Seriously. If you’ve watched Jaws 3-D, I think you’ll get a heckuva kick out of it.
My Review of Jaws 3-D
This magnificent travesty of filmmaking is a marvel. I don’t have the words for how bad it is. I don’t think the word has been invented for that yet.
Jaws 3-D fully embraces the shock schlock horror of the slasher movies of the era. Everything about the structure of this movie seems to crib from the Friday the 13th playbook; that’s not a compliment.
It’s obviously a script written for its own horror purposes, rapidly rebranded as Jaws for the franchise recognition. I guess I shouldn’t fault Universal, for thinking they could still squeeze some blood from this stone after Jaws 2. But I do. Someone in the head office should have had the sense (courage?) to raise their hand and say, “We really shouldn’t.”
Jaws 3-D also fully embraces the 3-D renaissance of the 1980s. I’ve lived through two 3-D renaissances now. I wish I’d been able to avoid both.
Watching it for the first time now, it was a special treat to see exactly how terrible 3-D effects of the era transfer to the small screen. Sure, the technology has come a long way. But…wow. I could write a whole thesis on this movie alone, on how it exposes what a cheap gimmick 3-D is overall.
So why does it get half a star? Judge me all you want, but Lea Thompson. She’s in it! And she’s in a bikini! [Additional note for the blog: Like so many men who were growing up in the mid-1980s, there’s a “first crush” sentiment associated with Lea Thompson. At this point it’s as much that I’m infatuated with the memories she triggers of that time in my life as anything else. I promise this isn’t some overtly creepy angle begging for an angry internet mob thirsty for the virtual blood of someone making a cheeky reference in good fun.]
She also later appeared in Howard the Duck, so I’m not sure who her agent was. I’m not sure her agent was paying attention. I want to find out if it was the same agent to get her into Back to the Future, or if that was the work of a newer, smarter agent.
Her presence nearly distracts you from the fact that this movie obviously had someone late in the process order its time cut. There are entire plot lines that evaporate at whim and I consider it evidence that they realized what a turd burger they had on their hands, and so cut as much as possible to focus on the jump scares.
That person deserves a medal. Now, if only they’d prevented the movie from being released at all.
Now it’s on to Jaws: The Revenge.