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The small island resort town of Amity is trying to bounce back from the financial troubles that suffered after becoming known as the site of shark attacks four years earlier. Mayor Larry Vaughn is welcoming developer Len Peterson and his new resort to Amity. Two scuba divers are exploring the area where the Orca sank after police chief Martin Brody killed a huge shark four years ago. A shark shows up and devoured the two divers, but not before one of the divers takes a close-up picture of the shark's eye, and sometime later, while a mother is driving a boat that's pulling her water-skiing teenage daughter, the shark devours the daughter and causes the mother to accidentally blow up the boat, then a killer whale is found on the shore with a huge bites on it. After Brody sees this, he knows there's another huge great white shark in Amity's waters, but Vaughn and Peterson explain these attacks away as non-shark accidents, because the thought of another shark in Amity's waters would drive... Written by
Nothing will ever compare to JAWS, but this is a great sequel
It's strange, I wonder how this film would have been received if it was directed by Spielberg instead of an unknown. Because this film is about as intense as they come. Granted, it lacks in the personal relationships and that is what made Jaws such the classic that it is. We all know that there is no way a sequel to Jaws could ever live up to what we experienced with Jaws, but this film is about as scary as they come.
Here, I must admit that the characters take a back seat to the shark. But is that necessarily wrong? We have already seen the shark in the first one so the mystery is gone, so now the only thing to do is make sure the audience is scared out of their minds. And that I can assure you is done with just as much perfection and attention to detail as the original.
Take for example the opening scene where two divers are looking in the Orca ( Quint's sunken ship from the first film ). They are playfully taking pictures in front of the sunken ship. Then suddenly, a shot from behind them, and the ominous music. You know they are going to be eaten, but the scene is done with so much tension and perfect pacing that you are scared all over again. And when the shark finally does strike, we experience that primal emotion all over again.
The story is a fairly simple one but affective at the same time. Brody ( Roy Scheider ) is convinced there is another shark in the waters off Amity and he is having a hard time convincing the town idiots that he is right. But this time his two sons are a little older and they will be involved in the final confrontation with the shark.
There is one other scene that I wanted to point out and that is a scene where a picture is being developed. Brody is given a camera of the missing divers from the beginning. The developer then tells him that the pictures are about to be processed. As he stands in the red room, waiting for the pictures to develop, he knows. He has that feeling. Something is going to show up on the picture. And sure enough we see it. The mouth. The black, doll-like lifeless eye appears in the corner of the frame and Brody knows. He knows what it is. This is such a powerful scene in the film and it is directed with such skill that it looks like it could have been directed by Spielberg.
I think Jaws 2 is a great film and it is just as scary if not a little scarier than the first, but what it lacks is that it's characters don't have time to develop. We don't care as much about these ones as we did about Hooper and Brody and Quint to some degree. But that is a small detail, because the film does it's job and that is to scare us. Look for one more scene where Tina and her boyfriend are boating by themselves. It will stay with you for quite some time.
Maybe if this was Spielberg's film he would have done something different. But the one thing he couldn't do is to make it more of a frightening experience than it is. So that is a compliment to Szwarc, I just wonder what happened to him. Because he has a vision and a style that is very reminiscent to Spielberg's original. If you haven't seen this by now, treat yourself to the first one and then watch this one right after. Especially to all the young people that are on the IMDb, Jaws is a classic piece of film making and I have said that it is the best film ever made, and it is. But if you want to be scared, Jaws 2 will fulfill that need just as well as the first and better than any film that has come out in the 90's.
And finally, has there ever been a better tagline in the history of motion pictures? Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...... Brilliant.
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