Being that the original Jaws film is one of my all-time favorite films, it’s tough to write a review for Jaws 3. I’m not much of a fan of horror sequels as a whole and especially not when it applies to my favorite film. Certainly not the shark’s best appearance, Jaws 3 holds a small, special place in my heart, and frankly, I’m still not sure why. Largely, however, the film is subpar. Released in 1983, eight years after the original, it has little to do with its legacy, and what is similar pales in comparison.
The film follows Mike Brody (played by Dennis Quaid), the son of former chief Brody, as he attempts to stop a gigantic shark from killing hundreds of patrons at a water park. I think what I liked most about this film was the use of the water park. For some reason, it felt right. And interesting. Never mind the obvious question as to the likelihood that a shark would be trapped in a water park, the plot seemed fun and promising in the beginning. I admired the writers for trying to shake things up and refresh the story. In reality though, they should have left well alone. Sharks don’t belong in water parks. And there’s nothing scary about a shark in a water park, it’s just silly. Bottom line - the graphics are terrible and the film as a whole attempted more than it could handle. The shark is less frightening and intimidating and more like a parlor trick.
The cast leaves you wanting more as well. The audience will surely miss Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. They’ll miss their perfectly delivered one-liners and their relatability. What you miss most, though, is the magic of Steven Spielberg. There is no glitter sparkling on this film and the excitement surrounding the shark is gone. Everything created in the first film has disappeared and left audiences with nothing more than poorly shot attack scenes and terribly written characters no one believes in. Even the music, those few notes, can’t save this film. You wind up dreaming of times when sharks were scary and movies about them made you never want to go in the water again.
There’s a decent-sized population of animals on horror island, but this movie is doing nothing for them. With every ill-conceived plot development, the fear of the shark dies a little bit more. And along with it, horror.
If you liked Jaws 3, you might also like Jaws, Shark Night and Shark Week.