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Joe Alves
Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Simon MacCorkindale, Louis Gossett Jr., John Putch, Lea Thompson, P.H. Moriarty
Writing Credits:
Peter Benchley (novel, "Jaws"), Carl Gottlieb, Michael Kane, Richard Matheson, Guerdon Trueblood (story)

Reaching new depths of terror.

Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Simon MacCorkindale and Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. star in the most terrifying Jaws adventure ever. Everyone at Florida's Sea World is thrilled with the new "Undersea Kingdom," a maze of underwater plexiglass tunnels that permits visitors to get closer to marine life than ever before. The opening ceremonies include many important guests ... and one uninvited baby shark who accidentally enters the park's lagoon through a faulty sea gate and subsequently dies. The young shark's 35-foot mother soon follows her offspring, creating the most horrifying tale of terror ever filmed in the water. Directed by original Jaws designer, Joe Alves, written by Richard Matheson and Carl Gottlieb and filled with heart-pounding special effects, this Jaws will have you screaming for your life.

Box Office:
$20.5 million.
Opening Weekend
$13.422 million on -unknown- screens.
Domestic Gross
$42.245 million.

Rated PG

Widescreen 2.35:1/16X9
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 6/3/2003

• Trailer


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Jaws 3 (1983)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 14, 2009)

Although it failed to approach the groundbreaking $260 million US gross of its predecessor, 1978’s Jaws 2 proved to be more than respectable at the box office. $102 million remains decent nowadays, but it was downright stellar in 1978. In addition, studios used to expect sequels to retain only about half to two-thirds of the original’s gross, so Jaws 2 looked to be right on target.

By the “loss of audience” math I mentioned, 1983’s Jaws 3 earns about what one might expect. Nonetheless, I imagine its lackluster $42 million gross disappointed the suits, especially since the film hit screens with a gimmick: like seemingly every other “Part 3” released in that period, Jaws 3 boasted 3D effects.

Which you won’t find on this DVD, unfortunately, so the movie has to live and (mostly) die by the quality of its story and other filmmaking elements. After two straight flicks set in New England, Jaws 3 moves south. Set at Sea World in Florida, we see the park’s new “Undersea Kingdom” exhibit. It boasts Plexiglas tunnels that permit patrons to get up close and personal with aquatic life.

Along the way, a baby shark strays into the Sea World waters. The folks there try to keep him alive in captivity but he eventually dies. This doesn’t set well with the little one’s mama, a 35-foot Great White who comes after her offspring. This leads to mass mayhem as she goes on the attack.

In that synopsis, you’ll notice I didn’t mention the names of any characters. That’s because they’re completely irrelevant. Jaws 3 attempts a connection to its predecessors in that it brings back the offspring of the first two movies’ Chief Brody. We find new actors, though; Dennis Quaid plays older brother Mike, while John Putch portrays Sean.

I guess the filmmakers felt they needed to boast some direct connection to the first two movies, but I think the inclusion of the Brody boys adds nothing to Jaws 3. If anything, it feels stupid; how many times are these kids going to be attacked by sharks? Doesn’t it stretch credulity that they undergo their third close encounter with Great Whites?

Yes, it does, and the anonymous nature of the roles doesn’t help. There’s no real attachment to the prior movies here; the guys are Brodys in name only. Everyone else in the film remains one-dimensional as well. We learn little about the characters and we don’t care. Honestly, the two main dolphins seem more compelling than any of the human participants; at least they display some spirit!

When I settled in to watch Jaws 3, I knew I was in trouble early. The opening credits feature an extended shot of a floating fish head intended to dazzle us with its 3D elements. I doubt it succeeded when actually seen in 3Dm but it becomes genuinely absurd when seen 2D. We’re forced to stare at the fish head for what feels like an eternity; the shot exists solely for its 3D goofiness. Many more shots of that sort occur. Not only do they look silly, but also they impact the film’s flow and pacing.

Or they would impact the film’s flow and pacing if that side of Jaws 3 didn’t already stink. The movie jumps from one setting to another without logic, and it fails to mesh these elements in a concise manner. Entire subplots – like the fate of those stuck in the Undersea Kingdom – go missing for extended periods, though you’re unlikely to notice. You’d have to care about the characters to actually pay attention to their absence, right?

I understand why Jaws 3 got made: 3D went through an early 1980s resurgence, and it seemed like a good candidate for that treatment. I can’t figure out why Sea World participated in it, though. I guess they felt that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but did they really want to be portrayed as an operation that cares more about profits than customers? Did they really want to be viewed as a place where one might be devoured by a shark?

Probably not, and I expect they regret their decision now. I hope all involved with Jaws 3 suffer from similar regrets, as they turned out a simply dreadful movie that craps on the series’ legacy. Jaws 2 was no classic, but it certainly didn’t harm the franchise. On the other hand, Jaws 3 offers a laughable piece of nonsense with no redeeming values other than perhaps for campy laughs.

The DVD Grades: Picture D+/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

Jaws 3 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A tremendously erratic transfer, some shots looked good but much of the image appeared flawed.

Sharpness was all over the place. Occasionally I saw elements that came across as pretty crisp and well-defined. However, these were in the minority, as most of the flick suffered from varying levels of softness. There was no rhyme or reason behind the soft sequences; they occurred in effects shots as well as simple character images. It seemed bizarre how many ugly scenes I saw, especially since so many of them came under apparently normal shooting circumstances. For every distinctive shot, I’d guess we get three soft ones.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, but moderate edge enhancement became visible throughout the film. Jaws 3 also came with a lot of source flaws. I noticed many instances of specks, spots, and marks. Some scenes were fairly unscathed, but many of them suffered from varying levels of defects. The effects sequences looked the worst, as composite shots showed tons of concerns. However, even simple beach shots could be flawed.

Like everything else, colors varied. I’d think a movie with so many daytime water shots would look great, but at best, the hues seemed good. They often came across as messy and runny, though, even during those seemingly ideal conditions. Blacks were decent, but shadows tended to appear dense and thick. Some of that came from “day for night” shots, but those weren’t the only instances; even interiors became dingy and dull. The movie boasted just enough attractive scenes to earn a “D+”, but most of the transfer appeared ugly.

At least the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Jaws 3 fared better. My main complaint came from some awkward looping at times. A few scenes demonstrated lines that sounded artificial and distant. However, most of the dialogue was acceptably natural and clear, so those instances occurred infrequently.

Otherwise, quality was acceptable. Music didn’t boast great range, but the score sounded reasonably clear and concise. Effects also seemed decent. I noticed a smidgen of distortion in some louder scenes, but these elements normally appeared acceptably accurate, and a bit of low-end punch came through as well.

For much of the film, the soundfield seemed to be largely monaural. The flick’s first act didn’t do a whole lot to broaden sonic horizons; other than music and some general ambience, the soundscape remained subdued.

This changed as the movie progressed and the story became more active. Eventually the track boasted some pretty good delineation across the front speakers, as the shark-related action opened up matters in a positive way. The surrounds added decent reinforcement as well; they had little unique material to display, but they contributed to a nice sense of ambience, especially during the underwater shots. Though the audio of Jaws 3 didn’t dazzle, it worked well for a movie from 1983.

Don’t expect much in terms of extras. Jaws 3 comes with its theatrical trailer, and it’s actually not bad; it promises a better movie than what we got. The “Recommendations” area simply tells us to go watch the other three Jaws movies – like anyone who sees Jaws 3 hasn’t already viewed the first two!

The original Jaws remains a justly celebrated classic, while Jaws 2 provided moderate thrills. Jaws 3 squanders any continued good will and provides a thoroughly miserable, absurd cinematic experience. The DVD offers good audio but suffers from erratic – and usually weak – visuals as well as virtually no supplements. Stupid, pointless and poorly made, it’s a disaster from start to finish.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 12
0 3:
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