Joe Alves’ “JAWS 3-D” is what you might call a “gimmick film,” a film that struggles to be anything more than a good idea. With a pivotal technical mark on film, reviving the distant interest of 3D filmmaking, “JAWS 3-D” was capable of being something more than a clever idea for a monster shark movie while using an underused style of filmmaking, but it never turned out to be anything more than a dumpster fire of a film.
The film never takes off, merely stumbling about its overblown runtime, and right from the start, the 3D aspects feel unnecessary and insanely outdated. The black lines outlining the images, the horrendous frozen images that remain expressionless, the shimmering coloring of the unintended 3D frames, and the construction of a 35 foot monster of a shark that is never anything more than a puppet. The shark in Spielberg’s classic was something of a character builder or a producer of tension. The sequel, which provided a bit more of a reliance on the shark, never spotlighted the flaws in its construction.
Unlike those films, “JAWS 3-D” highlights the cheap manufacturing of a shark that is ridiculously depicted with horrific uses of so-called tension. It’s all a shrouded depiction of what once was a great franchise, as one of the first examples of a studio that lost focus of one of the most pivotal achievements in filmmaking history, building themselves to seem like a group of greedy, leechers, picking off the bones and the fragments of the film that invented the blockbuster genre of modern cinema.
The story attempts to have a sense of a familiarity with that of it's protagonist being the son of Chief Brody, Mike Brody (Dennis Quaid), who now works at Seaworld, along with his longtime girlfriend, Dr. Kathryn Morgan (Bess Armstrong), who is the lead trainer and biologist of Seaworld. What a great idea to have a deadly shark get loose in something like a waterpark, placing dolphins, killer whales, and, of course, people in danger? I would agree, it's a genuinely thrilling pitch to give Universal Studios, I definitely couldn’t turn it down, but I wish they did.
It’s a film that shouldn’t have never reached the silver screen, as the plot even brings in the younger brother in Sean Brody (John Putch), the cowboy brother, who has been scared of the water since a child, well that was until an attractive girl talked him to facing his “phobia.” How a phobia was able to be broken so easily, I am not sure. It's one of the many ignorant features to be found in this so-called “screenplay,” despite lacking any sense of belief, or suspense that manifests any remnants of a thrilling time.
Watching this movie at home today, I was able to laugh out loud at the cringiest of moments, making me feel empathy for the poor souls who were sold this bill of goods in 1983, leaving the theater with a sense of regret and betrayal from a studio that seemingly cooked up a disaster of a film.
Amongst this array of stupidity you may also discover horrendous audio dubbing, despite the character mouths remaining still, and there is a handful of filmatic travesties to add on top of the misused gimmick, like that of the unintentionally amusing moments that are created because of the sheer lack of focus given to both the characters and the legitimacy of a terrifying great white.
It all becomes so ridiculous, and luckily it can develop a guilty-pleasure kind of vibe that can become seamlessly entertaining to watch. The audio dubbing, the gimmicky absurdity, the atrocious acting (including Dennis Quaid’s hilarious fake gagging), and the sheer insanity of a story that relies on the dumbest of coincidences to make any sense.
It’s a sham of a movie, one that relies on someone else’s greatness. Luckily I don’t have to write a lengthy review entailing the ins and outs of a film that at its best is a good drinking game. I can just cut it short, and sum this atrocity of a movie up as nothing more than a cinematic failure. Don't mistake this movie as a misfire, that usually implies it had something worth watching at one point.