Guess You Won’t Stop Eating and Swimming: ‘Jaws: The Revenge’ Retrospective
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Let's Just Forget the Water and Go Skiing
Like with Jaws 2, I saw this when I was young and I was told that this was the first Jaws. However I noticed that it looked completely different than the original. As such, years later I found that it was actually another sequel. The film is Jaws 4 or Jaws: The Revenge. It is a horror film that came out in 1987 and was directed by Joseph Sargent.
Get ready for the plot, since it’s a mouthful. The events of Jaws 4 ignore the third film. Instead it continues years after the second film. Chief Brody from the first two films recently died from a heart attack and his wife Ellen now lives in Amity with their youngest son Sean. Around Christmas, Sean goes out to sea one night to remove a log near a buoy. In the process he’s brutally killed by a great white shark. To help get over his death, Brody’s older son Mike invites Ellen to come to the Bahamas for Christmas to be with his wife and daughter. Somehow, the same shark that killed Sean follows Ellen from Amity all the way to the Bahamas in an apparent revenge plot for the sharks killed by Chief Brody.
Lorraine Gary reprises her role as Ellen Brody. She’s still the protective mother figure that comes into play later in the film. Lance Guest plays Mike Brody, who studies conch shells in the Bahamas.
Mario Van Peebles plays Jake, Mike’s friend and partner who’s a minor comic relief character. He becomes excited when the shark appears and attempts to study it. Michael Caine plays Hoagie, who’s basically Ellen’s new love interest. He has a few moments in the film, actually a good chunk of the film revolves around his character getting to know Ellen.
Karen Young and Judith Barsi play Carla and Thea Brody respectively, they are Mike’s wife and daughter. While minor characters, they do have a tense moment later in the film.
While the shark was portrayed better than the one in the third film, it still looked horrible. It just looked goofy. Also, at times the mechanics used to control it were visible onscreen.
The story behind the shark makes no sense. Real life great white sharks have no social connection, except for mating. They don’t live in families or get to know each other. The film implies that this shark is seeking revenge for the ones in the previous films. While never explained, expanded media such as books hint at the shark being the offspring of a previous shark killed by Chief Brody. In the original script there was a subplot that involved the shark coming after the Brody family due to a voodoo curse. The plot was dropped except for one line.
This also raises a few questions. How did the shark know to trap Sean at the beginning? What would the shark have done if the family moved to a place nowhere near the ocean?
Honestly, most of the film is a bore. As mentioned before, most of the film focuses on Hoagie and Ellen hanging out with occasional cuts to the shark. Major things don’t start to happen until the film’s last third. Ellen eventually goes out to sea in what’s basically a very abridged version of the first film. Actual clips from the first film’s climax do start playing, but since Ellen wasn’t there with her husband it contradicts this film.
There are two different versions of the film. The first one had an opening narration that talked about circumstances and fate. When shown to audiences it was poorly received, especially the ending, so reshoots were done. The second ending is worse as there’s no rhyme or reasons as to why what happens to the shark happens the way it did. Unfortunately this is the version that usually airs on television. The original uncut ending is available online and at other outlets. Both versions also have different outcomes for what happens to Jake.
Overall, personally I still believe Jaws 3 is the worse film, however this film can’t be recommended either. While the shark is displayed better in this film as compared to its predecessor, it’s just atrocious to see. The story with the shark makes no sense, the main romance plot is boring, most of the characters are uninteresting, and the second ending makes no sense. The original ending is better and makes more sense, but it’s still not enough to save the film. The best thing to say is if you haven’t seen this already you’re one of the lucky ones. Do yourself a favor and stay away from Jaws: The Revenge.
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