A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 523 – Jaws 3

Jaws 3 – August 5th, 2011

This movie was bought for a very specific reason: I have semi-traumatic childhood memories of it. I say semi-traumatic because while I remember being terrified of it as a kid, it didn’t carry over into my adulthood. I have no lingering fear of underwater tunnels or sharks or drowning. Just the memory of what happened while the movie was on. And looking back on it, it’s so clearly silly. So we bought the movie and I was remembering it correctly, but I’d also clearly glossed over quite a bit in my memories. Or maybe I was just hiding under the blankets for the rest of the movie. I can’t be entirely sure.

I’m not sure how old I was when I first saw this. I was younger than I should have been, that’s for certain. Maybe six? Maybe seven? My parents had gone to a wedding and were going to be out late and my regular babysitter’s parents were friends of my family so they offered to let me stay at their house until my parents got in. My babysitter could look after me for the evening, but not have to stay out that late herself. So when I arrived I was sent down to the rec room in the basement, where my babysitter and her older brother were watching movies. And this is what they were watching. I distinctly remember the older brother playing shark attack while I hid under the blankets on the couch after the shark attacks the Sea World underwater tunnels. I have no idea if I was terrified or thrilled. I do remember him coming at me with a red vinyl beanbag chair during the next movie (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes). Fond memories now, but at the time I remember wondering if a shark could really do that.

The Mythbusters crew did do a Jaws episode with all sorts of shark stuff, including ramming a boat with a shark stand-in, but I don’t think they’ve done this one. I suspect it’s a little out of their range, but hey, they could prove me wrong. Not that it matters. This movie isn’t going for realism anyhow. It’s going for a twist on the original premise of the series, which is more than I can say for the second movie. This one takes place some time later, with Mike Brody, Chief Brody’s eldest son, working at Sea World along with his wife or girlfriend (I didn’t note whether it was mentioned and it doesn’t really matter). Younger brother Sean shows up for a visit and it quickly becomes clear that Sean was traumatised by his childhood experience in the second movie and avoids the water whenever he can. And you know, I like that bit of continuity. It at least makes it clear that someone involved in the script was keeping track of the characters.

Of course there’s a shark to be dealt with here. In this case it’s a pair of great whites, a mother and baby, who end up inside the SeaWorld lagoon where the park has recently built a revolutionary new system of underwater tunnels that explore different areas of the lagoon like a man-made wreck. Guides lead guests through the tunnels, telling them about the animals they’ll see. Now, the baby shark gets captured, but it dies in captivity because the director of the park is obsessed with money and puts it on display well before it was safe to do so. This is a common theme in these movies, with someone in control doing something risky or refusing to do something safe because it will hurt their bottom line. I suppose it’s an easy way to go. I mean, we need some reason for the shark to start attacking and we need some reason for people to not be warned. After all, what do we do now when a shark shows up? We close the damn beaches.

So anyhow, the mama shark is pretty pissed that her baby got captured and then died, so she does what you’d expect. Well, she does what you’d expect if you know you’re watching a shark attack movie: She rams the tunnels, then the control room window. And I will now take this moment to talk about the 3D aspect to this movie. See, we don’t have a 3D version. Andy tried, but failed to get one, so we watched a regular 2D version but in places it was very much like watching a 3D version without the glasses on. Certain images would be popped out on the screen, clearly meant to look as if they were floating in front of it, reaching out towards us. When the shark attacks the control room there’s one of those and without the 3D it is so very distracting. The image quality of the whole movie suffers from being processed for 3D but not being viewed in 3D. It’s a pity, because it feels like the 3D thing is really this movie’s major reason for existing.

Anyhow, the shark attacks, people panic and the tunnels seal off, trapping a tour group inside. So really, a good chunk of the rest of the movie revolves around how to rescue the tour group while a giant shark is lurking in the water nearby. And let me say, that tour leader? Deserves a damn raise for keeping the group calm and relatively safe throughout the entire ordeal. I honestly don’t recall much in the way of specifics for the rest of the movie. People scream and the shark tries to kill people and the dolphins Mike’s wife/girlfriend/fiancee has been training help out and neither of the Brodys get chomped on so it’s all cool.

Overall this movie isn’t anything particularly special. It was meant to be a 3D scarefest, with shark bits exploding out into the theater and people jumping in their seats. It does try to do something new with the concept, which I appreciate after the snooze that was the second movie. But overall it’s just not that interesting. I wish I’d been able to see it in 3D, but I’ll live without it and besides, when I was a kid, watching the shark smash up the underwater tunnels, I wasn’t wearing any 3D glasses and it was terrifying enough. I’ve got those memories intact, so I can’t hate on this movie too much.


August 5, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

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