I’ve Seen Jaws: The Revenge. It Was Personal, and Discussed on the “Fanchise Fatigue” Podcast!

For once, I haven’t written a lengthy review on Letterboxd before writing one here. I meant to write this before now, but hey life gets in the way and it’s not like either of us are making money with this blog.

All I’ve written thus far is:

There’s an argument to be made that this is better than Jaws 3. And I’m going to write it and post it.

They both suck, though.

So this is my fulfillment of the promise to make the argument that Jaws: The Revenge is better than Jaws 3-D, which is usually referred to as Jaws 3. (For the record, whether you say Jaws 3-D or Jaws 3, it’s still terrible.) In fact, Jaws 3-D has my common half-star rating that acknowledges that at least they made and released a movie, but Jaws 3-D truly deserves what Michael Corleone was willing to pay Senator Geary: nothing.

I don't feel like writing an alt tag
OK, here’s my pitch. In Jaws 5, the sharks evolve and start flying planes to get to their target destinations to terrorize us.

So Why Do I Rate Jaws: The Revenge Higher Than Jaws 3-D?

Without being too flip, “because it’s a better movie.” To offer some shading to that, it’s a more coherent script that makes an attempt to get back to the basics and make it an actual human story.

Before you get too far ahead of me and think I’m claiming it’s a great or even good movie, I’m not. It’s still a bad movie. It’s just that on the scale of bad movies, it’s not as bad as Jaws 3-D.

In fact, it’s a charmingly bad movie. One of the things that’s endearing about it is that it’s a clear example of a series “rebootquel,” which is a nonsense term that I’ve read somewhere or other, but means: a sequel that ignores all the other sequels since the first movie/the most recent you want to remain valid in story continuity. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is arguably the earliest “rebootquel” I could name, but such a term of art didn’t exist back then. Highlander III: The Sorcerer/The Magician/The Final Dimension/The Final Conflict (no really, all those subtitles are valid) is also a “rebootquel,” but at this point I’ve just fallen in love with writing “rebootquel” as many times as possible in a single sentence.

Back to the point, Jaws: The Revenge allows the viewer to ignore Jaws 3-D completely, or even ignore Jaws 2 if they so desire. I’d argue that since all of the sequels to Jaws are best to ignore, it’s almost like it’s encouraging you to wipe the slate clean after enduring this one.

That’s not the only reason I like it more than Jaws 3-D, though. As clunky as it is, there’s an earnest desire to focus on Ellen Brody as a woman living with tragedy and trying to make the best of her life after losing her husband off-screen, and one of her sons in the beginning. In fact, if you remove the shark attack at the beginning that kills one of the sons, it’s an interesting concept. Years after the traumatic events portrayed in the first Jaws, we come back to a woman who wants to start anew.

By contrast, Jaws 3-D is a steep dive (get it?) into an abysmal place with a poor premise, bad performances, and terrible execution. Jaws: The Revenge has a decent premise and the performances are actually fine for the material. The only exception being Mario Van Peebles’ Jamaican (?) accent, but you can’t be too picky.

She moves to the Bahamas, finds a man of her own age (Michael freaking Caine?!) that is legitimately interested in her, and starts anew. Naturally,  a shark finds her cursed family and that’s really the absolute worst part of it all. But I can’t help but think that one of the things that makes it such a bad call is because of the baggage of the previous sequels.

It’s also intriguing because despite the very-clunky beginning, it functions sort of like Superman 4: The Quest for Peace. It’s not a bad premise, but the execution is befuddling. I’d argue the premise for Jaws: The Revenge is actually better than the one for Superman 4, but that’s a story for a different day.

Since this is one of those sequels that rebooted a series, like 2018’s Halloween, it seems that maybe the marketing is where it really went wrong. They could have pushed the angle not of the shark, but of a woman coming to terms with aging and loss against the backdrop of feeling trapped by past trauma.

But did the thought enter executives’ heads to market things in such a way in the first place? Would it really have helped Jaws: The Revenge be a more gently-reviewed movie?

Likely it wouldn’t have been much more gently reviewed, because again I agree that it’s not a good movie, but I’m willing to bet that the reviews wouldn’t have been quite as harsh.

Jaws 4 Jaws the Revenge is Better than Jaws 3 Jaws 3-D but it's still not as good as Jaws but Jaws 4 Jaws the Revenge is a movie that has Jaws in the title.
Contrary to rules about the advancement of technology and technique, the shark in the fourth movie looks far worse than ever before.

So of Course I Talked About It on a Podcast!

Naturally, if I finally decided to watch all the Jaws sequels after a happy and fulfilling life without having watched them, I was motivated to do so. That motivation was to appear with my friends B-Shea and Zach on their show “Fanchise Fatigue” on the United Federation of Podcasts. It’s a really fun show, and it’s always good to talk with them.

Have a listen to three friends having a lot of fun discussing a bad Jaws movie that all three insist isn’t as bad the bad Jaws movie that preceded it!

As an added bonus, discover what I think would be the perfect pairing for a Double Feature of the Damned when paired along with Jaws: The Revenge!

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I Finally Saw Jaws 3-D and Here’s the Review

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.

Jaws 3-D which is Jaws 3 called Jaws 3-D which is the third Jaws movie being Jaws 3-D which is Jaws 3 I just linked to this picture and though it's here it's not really here.
High levels of realism were not demanded of this film. And the un-retouched 3-D effects on home video are *chef kiss*.

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.

I Saw Jaws 2 After a Lifetime of Not Seeing Jaws 2…Here’s My Review

This will lead somewhere special shortly. You’ll understand when we get there.

Suffice it to say that it wasn’t just some wild whim that overtook me to watch Jaws 2 finally. There was a purpose to it. I chose this, though, and all that came with it.

I’ll spare you the usual preamble as this is really just an overture to a larger performance piece wherein I finally saw all of the sequels to Steven Spielberg’s genre-defining, summer-movie-changing masterpiece.

Do I need to bother telling you that this review was originally entered on my Letterboxd account? I feel like we know each other well enough now that you should realize that. You should also realize that sometimes I expand and correct things from there, but you’ll just have to read them both to discover if that’s true this time!

Jaws 2 Image that's hosted on another server about Jaws 2 with images from Jaws 2 that I've linked to and this Jaws 2 image isn't really here. Jaws 2.
Peek-a-Boooooooooo. Emphasis on Boooooooooooo.

What I Thought of Jaws 2, the First Sequel to Jaws

I accepted an invitation from a friend to finally, after a lifetime of avoiding it, to watch Jaws 2. I had a faint memory of having seen the ending on TV when I was a kid, but I’d never consciously watched it.

I have now, and I’m prepared to give you my thoughts. I have no idea if these reviews are read by anyone, or if this will be another forgotten journal lost in the morass of digital noise.

It’s not good.

Jaws 2 completely misunderstands what made Jaws so special, and instead attempts to construct a horror movie with a thin plot, cheap characters, and questionable premise. It’s not about the characters this time, it’s about the scares and blood.

[Insert: My friend mentioned below, B-Shea, offers a spirited defense of this film as an unrecognized cornerstone to the Slasher genre. Usually Halloween is recognized as the trailblazer in this regard, but it’s an interesting point. It certainly is more of a straightforward horror flick, as I acknowledge above. However, that doesn’t make it good.]

And boy, oh boy, it is not enough. There are a few sparking moments when Roy Scheider tries to carry the whole thing. But you can only ask so much of an actor when you surround him with bad material.

As a final note, it’s delightful they didn’t learn from Spielberg’s decision not to show much of the shark because it looked fake and shattered the illusion. Because…it looks fake and shatters the illusion.

Steer clear of this. And pray for me, as I promised to watch not just this, but Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge. My friend is lucky I keep my word.

(I know you’re reading this, B-Shea. Or you will. Let my continuing to watch this series be a testament to how much I care and enjoy your friendship.)

[Insert: That’s the original ending to the review, and I’m leaving it in here because B-Shea deserves the shout out. As does Zach, because he’s my friend, too, as well as an avid Superman/Smallville fan, and I got to talk to him about Jaws 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge, too.)

My Review of the ORIGINAL Pet Sematary

Not too long ago, I watched the original Pet Sematary. Released in 1989, it’s something of a cult classic. I know it’s always held a special place in my heart.

One of the reasons I revisited it was because I knew the reboot was being released, which I hope to see the day that this post appears on the blog. Another reason is I had the pleasure to appear on the delightful “Fanchise Fatigue” podcast with Brandon-Shea Mutala and Zach Moore.

You can hear us discussing things a little more in-depth on that site. Knowing that I was going to be talking in-depth about it, I held back a little on the written word this time. I think you’ll get a sense of why I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the movie.

Fred Gwynne as Jud Crandall in Pet Sematary which is a movie based on the Stephen King book Pet Sematary and starring Fred Gwynne in Pet Sematary as Jud Crandall from Pet Sematary.
Sometimes…NOT GOING UPSTAIRS IS BETTER, JUD.

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll get to hear me recount the story of when I saw it in the movie theater (too young, mind you), and then completely wussed out in front of this girl I went with. I was trying to be all tough-looking and mature, and…well, when Fred Gwynne’s achilles heel gets slashed…I proved I was not as ready for the movie as I thought.

I’m completely willing to conceded that, at this point, at least part of the allure is from nostalgia. This is a film that helped mold me into more of a horror fan than I was already becoming, though I’d already become thoroughly scarred by John Carpenter’s Halloween, and its sequels. This definitely kicked open the door, though, and remains a formative film in my tastes.

My Review of the ORIGINAL Pet Sematary

This is a memorable haunted horror tale thanks to some great direction and pacing that compensate for a script which could have used some polish. Lambert gets to the core emotional moments with a great touch, and despite some obvious production limitations – including some unquestionably due to budget and technological capabilities of the era – creates a worthy horror film with some great suspense.

Fred Gwynn’s pitch perfect and the true high point of the film. He holds the cast together, which is a true testament to an under appreciated actor on the whole. You believe in him, and so believe in the rest of the cast.

As odd as it might be to say “fun” for a movie like this, it’s basically a campfire story come to life. I enjoyed it despite revisiting some moments that left deep emotional scars on a younger “kesseljunkie” when he saw this in the theater.

And that Ramones song is a classic.

Star Ratings Don’t Matter

Star ratings really don’t matter, but as I logged over on Letterboxd, I gave this a well-deserved 3.5 stars out of 5. What it might lack in punch at points, it makes up for in atmosphere.

And seriously…that Ramones song. A CLASSIC.

The Ramones in the video for Pet Sematary, a song from Pet Sematary, which The Ramones did for Mary Lambert the director of Pet Sematary and inbound marketing which means repeating Pet Sematary as many times as you can when writing about Pet Sematary and also links but with names like backlinks and interlinking because you sound cooler saying that.
Is there anything more Punk than playing a song about a cursed cemetery in a set that looks like a cemetery? I mean, it’s really Metal, too, but it’s also Punk. I think. The Ramones!