Twelve Things about Jaws: The Revenge
12. The very mention of it will make one's stock go up in Horror and B-movie blogging circles. How could I not review it?
11. "It came for him. It waited all this time and then came for him." A shark that commits premeditated murder? Hey, why not? But a shark that somehow knows it has to stalk its prey from Amity Island all the way to the Bahamas? Prey that travels by land and by air? Even I have my B-movie credulity limits, thanks.
10. And well, okay, I'm a little upset about the tropical setting. For the first few minutes, I thought I was going to get a cozy Christmas-set creature feature. Christmas on Amity Island, people!!! The caroling children drowning out the screams of the first kill were priceless.
Yes, it's still set during Christmastide . . . but the main setting makes one wonder why they bothered at all.
9. And now for something that makes me glad I sat through the whole thing .. .
Ellen Ripley vs. Ellen Brody
[Universal studio head] Sid Sheinberg pushed hard for an Ellen Brody-centric Jaws sequel after industry buzz began to build around [Sigourney] Weaver's performance in Aliens and the possibility of an Oscar nomination. If anything, it clearly convinced Sheinberg and his wife Lorraine Gary [who plays Ellen Brody] that a Jaws movie could be made featuring a "violent episode of woman versus nature" as its climax while Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Amity Island, and even the titular shark itself were relegated to secondary roles.
If I hadn't watched Jaws: The Revenge, I would never have read and appreciated that production analysis. Good stuff!
And now for the rest of my own piddling analysis of why Jaws: The Revenge doesn't even begin to approach the grandeur that is Aliens . . .
8. Our featured film includes a scene in which one of the characters tries to evade the shark by weaving in and out of an underwater wreck. And all I could think was that both Disney's Little Mermaid and Pixar's Finding Nemo did it better and more believably. Which means that Jaws: The Revenge was "pwn3d" not by one, but by two animated features.
7. And then there's that whole unbelievable selachian vendetta thing, which is second only in craziness to the fact that there is no Latin-root adjective for "shark-like." Even "selachian" means "of or having to do with rays or sharks"--which is not the same thing. Perhaps I should stick to "sharky"?
6. But I loved Michael Caine in this one! The man is made of magic. They could have got him to play the shark and had a better movie.
5. Yet not even Caine's presence could make up for Roy Scheider's absence. Martin Brody is to killer sharks what Ellen Ripley is to killer aliens.
And no, those flashbacks don't count.
4. Now, to be fair to Ellen Brody, I asked my mother: "If members of your family were attacked by sharks three times in the past, and then your youngest son was finally killed by one, would you think that sharks were after you?"
She said: "Yes, I would be completely paranoid."
But I'm not really sure what I just proved to myself . . .
3. I also liked the sandcastle Ellen and her little granddaughter built, and Ellen's teaching her to put a deep moat around it so that it won't collapse when the tide comes in. That could have been a metaphor for not just this movie, but also the entire Brody family's selachian saga (Bwahahahahahahahaha!) . . . but of course it wasn't.
2. And so I sat through the rest of the movie desperately trying to find some metaphorical comment on the human condition . . . or man's relationship to nature . . . or (given the premise) on women in the modern world . . . or anything, really. Silly me . . .
1. I can't find the actual ending of the theatrical release, but the alternative ending captures, in under sixty seconds, everything about this movie that makes me feel the way I do.
Image Sources: a) Jaws: The Revenge DVD, b) Jaws: The Revenge poster, c) Aliens poster