in Shocktober

Jaws 3-D (1983)

Some things aren’t built to last. Case in point: Jaws 3-D. But how did we get here? On June 20th, 1975, a film about a killer shark from a fledgling filmmaker was released. The film cost 9 million dollars and made 470 million dollars. Due to its action, suspense and high box office return, the film is known today as the first blockbuster.

In 1978, Jaws 2 was produced. Sure, it had some returning cast, writers, and music from John Williams, but at the end of the day, this was only made to capitalize on the popularity of the first. Maybe saying that is redundant. All sequels are made for that reason, but at least some use the opportunity to expand on ideas, or tell a good story.

Jaws 3-D is even further removed from telling a strong story with meaning and purpose. Frankly, it’s one of the worst cash-ins I have ever seen. Not only is it a bland, boring rehash, it has aged horribly.


If you didn’t know, there was an odd fascination in the 1980s with 3-D. Not since the 50’s had this relatively cheap gimmick been popular but then it was back with a vengeance. You had Jaws 3-D, Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D, Amityville 3-D. If you were making a third installment in the 80s, there was a good chance it would be in 3-D. And not the sort of okay 3-D we have today, those really bad red and blue glasses that were equivalent to a Cracker Jack prize.

Set at a Florida SeawWorld, the film concerns a new attraction opening. Yes, they actually managed to get the green light for SeaWord, which is crazy once you see how horribly everything goes for its guests. The new attraction is a series of underwater tunnels to observe the sea. Then practically nothing happens for over an hour.


Maybe it’s not fair to say “nothing happens” but it might as well be nothing. What I’m talking about is how much time the film spends on its douchey characters. The main douche is Dennis Quaid as Mike Brody, a marine biologist and the son of Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) from the first two films. Why do these films always have to star a member of the Brody clan? I’m not sure what makes Mike a douche. He simply has a very punchable face. It’s at this point that I had to ask myself, “Is Dennis Quaid a good actor?” And I honestly don’t know. He may suck. He definitely sucks in this.

Later, a shark gets into the water park and starts to wreak havoc in scene after scene of horrible 3-D shark attacks. Of course, guests get stuck in the underwater tunnel and fear for their lives. What was SeaWorld thinking? It’s like if Disneyland gave the thumbs up to a film where a kid gets his head chopped off on Splash Mountain. Why would you ever give someone the okay to turn your vacation destination into a makeshift murder land?


I appreciate that they don’t show the shark much but when they do it’s so laughable that it turns into a borderline comedy. The setting seemed to have so much more potential. It’s not a bad idea, really. Which doesn’t surprise me considering the script was written by horror legend Richard Matheson. Though Matheson claims script doctors and the film’s director butchered his story. Who knows what could have been. Really, there were only two things I liked about this film.

1. The park’s manager played by Louis Gossett, Jr. because he’s Louis Gossett, Jr.

2. Alan Parker’s score. Though It definitely lacks the scariness of John Williams’ theme it takes on a sweeping tone better suited for when the film attempts to be adventurous.


I don’t have a lot of details because most of the film was a blurry mess of chum. I do think the film is fun near the end in a bad way, but not worth the voyage. No one should ever watch this film and yet I know many like myself (who has a Jaws phone case) will dive into the deep end and do so anywyays. Good luck staying afloat.