Ellen Brody still lives in the island resort town of Amity, and her sons Sean and Michael don't work at Sea World anymore, and some time ago, Ellen's husband Martin Brody died of a heart attack that happened because he was afraid of sharks. Sean is now a deputy in Amity. One night, during the Christmas season, Sean is called to untangle a log from a buoy, and when Sean goes to the buoy, he's killed by a great white shark. After hearing about this, Michael, who is studying to be a marine biologist, visits Amity with his wife Carla and his 5-year-old daughter Thea. Wanting to get away from Amity and spend Christmas with Michael, Carla, and Thea, Ellen goes with them to their house in the Bahamas on an airplane whose pilot is Hoagie Newcombe, and Hoagie starts falling for Ellen. Michael's friend Jake, who is also studying to be a marine biologist, lives next door to Michael. Sometime later, while Michael and Jake are out at sea, their boat is attacked by the shark that killed Sean. ... Written by
If there ever were proof of the law of diminishing returns, the fourth entry in the Jaws series is it. The original was a taut thriller that launched the career of one of Hollywood's most celebrated directors. By comparison, Michael Caine often looks as if he is incredibly upset to be missing his award ceremony in order to appear in this piece. Lance Guest and Mario Van Peebles frequently appear to be wishing to have better things to do, while Lorraine Gary frequently looks stoned in moments when she is supposed to look frightening.
Clearly, the budget spent on this film didn't go into the research, script, or mechanical shark. Exactly why Michael Brody and his pals are putting what are apparently tracking devices on conch shells is never explained. Perhaps any explanation they thought of was so incredibly stupid that they thought it best to give up. An alternate explanation of why Michael is working in the water was never thought of, either. The true Ed Wood moment of the film comes towards the end of the piece, when the shark rises out of the water, and roars at Elaine. This is the first time I've heard of sharks having vocal cords. Given the box office draw this stinker had, I suspect it will be the last.
The shark takes a real beating here, too. The reason the shark wasn't seen often in the original was because Spielberg noticed that if one put it in front of the camera for long enough, the audience would notice that it doesn't move like a real shark. In this edition of the Jaws story, not only do they keep the camera focused upon the shark for more than enough time for the audience to notice the model's flaws, in so doing they make it crystal clear that this shark was made on the cheap. There are some shots in which the support structure of the shark is visible under the outer layer. There is even what appears to be a seam in the back of the shark's main fin.
To its credit, Jaws: The Revenge is well-photographed. While the 2.35:1 frame is often sparsely populated, depth of field is used with great effect in several shots. The fact that even frames with one character in them won't make sense when cropped to fit analogue television is a credit to the director and cinematographer. If only this kind of workmanship could have been seen in other aspects of the film.
Another area where Jaws: The Revenge deserves due credit is the score music. While the score is very much inspired by that which John Williams provided for the original, it distinguishes itself and genuinely works in its own right. In fact, one could almost say that the score music is more than the rest of the film deserves. The music is literally able to inject dramatic tension into scenes that, by all rights granted under the accepted rules of film-making, really shouldn't have any.
When all is said and done, I gave Jaws: The Revenge a one out of ten. It works as a comedy in the sense that it is a stinking pile of crap, but there are precious few moments when the people making it seem privy to the fact. As a result, the film winds up in a class all of its own. It's not just so bad its good, it is so utterly bad it is incredible.
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