JAWS 2 (1978)

(Release Date: June 16, 1978)

Jaws' lil bro Bites three and a Half Stars!Jaws' lil bro Bites three and a Half Stars!Jaws' lil bro Bites three and a Half Stars!1/2

An above Average Sequel, but nothing beats the original!

J.C. Mašek III... 

Jowls of the Critic!
J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!
In Houston, Texas there's a place called Water World. It's a very large Water Park, adjacent to AstroWorld, where they have some of the largest water slides and h2o amusements a kid could ever want. They also have been known to sport a giant movie screen just above their ocean-simulating wave pool. Jaws 2 was still a very new movie when my Aunt Colleen took young yours truly to Water World's Wave Pool to watch that very film on that large screen in the warm, dark Houston night.

Can you detect... THE FRENCH JOKE???

There's nothing like seeing a Shark Movie while you're actually in the Water, word is bond, and there are few cinematic experiences to equal the one I had that night. Because of that Jaws 2 held a special little place in my horrorshow heart. But then, at the time, I thought that Knight Rider, Buck Rogers and Wonder Woman were all good shows too. Knowing this, how does Jaws 2 hold up more than two decades later?

Well, many will tell you that this is a vastly inferior sequel and a waste of time akin to the worst sequels ever made (insert Highlander 2 reference here). Others find this to be a very exciting film, and while not a "Cinematic Triumph" like the first one, many actually count this as their favorite of the series (though with subsequent fish filets like Jaws 3D and Jaws The Revenge still floating like fish food in the DVD Racks, Jaws 2 looks like a chip of golden brilliance!).

In truth, this is a very different film from the original Jaws, and, to be honest, it's really not as good. However it is a very solid sequel and truly delivers the scares and the action. Along the way, Jaws 2 sacrifices quite a lot of what made Jaws a Classic, and results in a much more overt and in-your-face experiment compared to the covert creepiness of the original. Further, the plot is really quite similar to the first film, and ultimately is somewhat predictable. On the other hand... let's face it... Jaws 2 is a hell of a lot of fun, it is scary, and it gives the feeling of a very realistic and technically proficient little film.

A Trivial Sequel???

Fishing for Trivia 2!
  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 116 Minutes
  • John D. Hancock was originally slated to direct, but was fired before another Carl Gottlieb re-write. Eventually he was replaced by Jeannot Szwarc. Both directors would go on to direct episodes of the 1985 TV revival of The Twilight Zone.
  • A special "head" of the Shark was created specifically for the electrocution scene. Eight different cameras were set up for the shot because they only had one chance to get it right.
  • Like the first film, Martha's Vineyard doubles as Amity for the town scenes. However, most of the ocean and beach scenes were filmed in Florida.
  • The "cable junction" island was actually a designed set of two barges covered in fiberglass and plastic "rocks". Many fishermen familiar with the area contacted the coast guard to find out how an "Island" had sprung up overnight in water they'd been fishing for decades.
  • The French Joke: The original Jaws was released in France as Les Dents De La Mer (literally "The Teeth of the Sea"). When asked to direct the sequel, French Director Jeannot Szwarc suggested that the French Translation be entitled Les Dents De La Mer 2e Partie ("Second Part"), because "Les Dents De La Mer Deux" would have sounded like "The Teeth of the Shit!" in French. This would have made an excellent title for the fourth film of the series, however!

-Trivial SHARKneumsi 2!

Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) and his wife Ellen (Lorraine Gary) are trying to raise two boys on the island hamlet of Amity, whose major source of income is summer tourism. When evidence of a Hungry Shark in the waters around the town quite literally surfaces, Brody insists on closing the beaches for the sake of the public. However, Brody is met with impossible opposition from Murray Hamilton's Mayor Larry Vaughn and the city council, who insist on keeping the beaches open for the sake of that mean, mean, mean... mean green almighty dollar (or is that dollar "sea foam" in this case?). The stalwart Brody must then shed his fear of the water, board a boat and go hunt that Killer Shark all by his lonesome!

Sound familiar? Well, as John McClane said in Die Hard 2 "How can the same thing happen to the same guy twice?"

Okay, so it's not the most original thing in the world, but it is surprisingly effective where it counts. The first film's mechanical Shark ("Bruce") was famously out of commission for much of the film, which worked to the film's ultimate advantage, creating an unseen stalker of the deep that only surfaced for the fast shocks! Here, the new-and-improved Sharkticon was working almost the whole time, and it showed! "Bruce 2" has so much screen time that Scheider should probably have taken second billing. This makes for a scary and startling series of scenes, but there's none of the real underlying creeping terror that the first film handled so effectively.

What we get instead is a lot of action and a lot of realistic shark attacks that shock a little and impress a lot. Sure it's the same story, but it's told in a vastly different way. This is a fun action film, where the laughter flows easily, not forced and nervous like the first film. And, while it's certainly not the artistic masterpiece the first one is, Jaws 2 never takes itself too seriously, so as never to truly compete with the original. It's a favorite because it's fun... but this ocean isn't that deep, Kemosabe!

Special recognition has to be given to director Jeannot Szwarc, who pulled this film off in spite of the potential mishaps herein. He's got a great eye for action and timing, even if he did go on to direct David Caruso in "CSI: MIAMI". I shudder to think what would have happened if Spielberg hadn't passed on this sequel.

A great film or not, Jaws 2 delivers and comes off as one hell of a sequel. It's not quite up to the water mark of Jaws, but it's no slouch either! Three and a Half Stars out of Five for Jaws 2... a good sequel to a great film! If at all possible, see it in the Wave Pool at your favorite Water Park... but please don't go "half-assed" and bring your portable TV into the Tub with you... I don't want to be on the news, kids!

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JAWS 2 (1978) reviewed by J.C. Mašek III who is solely responsible for his views and his Shark version of the Big Mouth Billy Bass that actually sings "Mack the Knife"
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Eat THIS too, Sharkie!

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