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  Jaws 3-D Big Fish
Year: 1983
Director: Joe Alves
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Simon MacCorkindale, Louis Gossett Jr, John Putch, Lea Thompson, T.H. Moriarty, Dan Blasko, Liz Morris, Lisa Maurer, Harry Grant, Andy Hansen, P.T. Horn, John Edson, Kaye Stevens, Rich Valliere, Alonzo Ward, Cathy Cervenka
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Mike Brody (Dennis Quaid) has had his dealings with sharks and is happy to put that behind him. In spite of this, he now works at Sea World, a marine life park, with his biologist girlfriend Kathryn (Bess Armstrong) and the relationship is going well. However, something that will put a strain on it is out there in the ocean, another shark that somehow makes it through the gate fencing off the park from the wider sea. With Mike's brother Sean (John Putch) arriving to spend time there, the scene is set for people versus killer fish action...

As was obligatory for horror movies in the early-to-mid eighties, the third Jaws sequel was filmed in three dimensions: "The third dimension is terror" claimed the advertising. However, it was originally meant to be a comedy called Jaws 3, People 0 until Steven Spielberg complained and the decision was made to have this sequel be serious. Which did not stop audiences laughing at it, of course. With the much-respected Richard Matheson and original screenwriter Carl Gottlieb among the credits, one might have hoped for something better.

It's not a bad idea, setting the film in a sea life centre, but the plot rambles and meanders around the central sharks on the rampage theme. For the first half hour there's hardly any plot at all, simply Quaid being goodnatured, Armstrong preoccupied with dolphins, and the odd extra being eaten when nobody is looking. Essentially by the time this instalment came along, the whole production resembled one of the other quickly growing stale horror franchises, with the shark a slasher movie villain for those who wouldn't have ordinarily gone to see such things.

Except maybe in 3-D, and there is a wealth of ways employed to bring the film to life by pretty much giving the audience the impression someone is trying to poke them in the eye. Therefore, a frog jumps out of the screen, Mike fires a harpoon straight into your head, a severed arm floats right up to your nose, and so forth, all about as cheap as those paddle balls in House of Wax thirty years before. Needless to say, if you're watching in two dimensions then the amount of time the camera gets closeups of pointy objects quickly grows daft if you're not enjoying the full effect.

In amongst this sea of mediocrity, there are incidental lunacies. One of the most entertaining is the head of Sea World, Bouchard, played by Louis Gossett Jr as if he is itching to turn the air as blue as the water with a string of expletives, but just managing to hold back. He only narrowly manages to avoid the cliché of the black guy getting killed in a horror movie, even though he stays dry until the last two minutes - but that shark is determined. Also in the cast is Lea Thompson, making her debut and nearly having her leg bitten off; does she survive? We never find out, she is dropped from the story as soon as she is injured. Simon MacCorkindale appears as a marine documentarian, effectively the equivalent of the great white hunter, and it doesn't take a genius to work out where he's heading. Jaws 3-D raises a few laughs for bad movie fans, but it looks to have been designed by committee with all the thrills overthought. Music by Alan Parker.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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