Genre: Horror, Thriller
Cast: Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton
Synopsis: Another shark has come to Amity Island in search of horny teenagers to feast upon. It’s a race against time for Chief Brody to convince everyone that he’s not bat shit insane and to kill the shark before his kids are eaten.
Jaws is a masterpiece. It’s undoubtedly one of the best movies around. It has a great plot, fantastic acting, convincing dialogue, and awesome jumpy moments so it’s no wonder why it’s responsible for my debilitating (and totally rational) phobia of sharks, the ocean, and swimming pools for fear that there might be a shark hiding somewhere in them. Selachophobia is a cruel thing. Still, despite my phobia, I fucking love shark movies. Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, Sharks in Venice, The Reef etc. there are just too many to name. It’s a tradition in my family to watch shark movies together and we have seen every Jaws film at least ten times. So why was it that Jaws 2 wasn’t as good baked as I hoped it would be?
The problem was that it was just too studio-ized. I understand that ‘stuidio-ized’ isn’t really a word but at the time I was watching the movie I was convinced it was. My definition would be this: ‘a movie that is too forced and predictable. A movie in which every person on screen looks like an actor trying to play the character they’ve been cast in as opposed to an actor ‘being’ the character.’ Make sense? It did at the time. Either way, the movie looks and feels like it took place in some sort or alternate movie universe or some movie vacuum. There are various scenes were this is apparent (the old lady watching the water-skier, the kids in a local bar, the convenient boat crash) but the best example is the pretty, religious, blonde girl praying to Jeebus. She’s the only one who came face to face with the shark and survived. Seriously, I don’t even think I saw her in the movie until that point. Same goes for the woman in the sailor outfit who saves the little kid.
It’s a real shame because what was so special about the first Jaws movie was that it was so believable and realistic. It was a movie in which a kid got killed in the first 15 minutes…that’s dark! So much about the sequel is just too fakey-fake. Even Lorraine Gary, who was really good in the first movie, isn’t immune. She plays some sort of phony tourist-business-woman in this film. The fakeness of it all gets so prevalent in the film that I actually started playing a different, better film in my head, one that used a real shark as opposed to a floating turd with teeth. Another way in which this film could have been drastically improved is if the shark was psychic. It’s kind of touched upon but not too much. “Sharks don’t take things personally, Mr. Brody.” Tell that to the shark in Jaws: The Revenge.
Maybe I’m being too harsh. There were some funny moments: the woman who thinks the best way to fight a shark is to pour gasoline over herself; that scene where the shark’s face kind of folds in half; the electrocution scene. It could have easily been a fantastic movie. It’s a shame that any hope of it being good is lost through lousy acting and a script that seems rushed and unrefined. My advice would be to stick to the original (or the 3rd and 4th movies if you want to something to laugh at).
- Roy Scheider really does try his hardest.
- The low budget shark does add some hilarity.
- The really annoying people don’t get eaten.
- Feels like you’re looking in on some bizarre alternate universe where everyone is a terrible actor.
I’d try to avoid this movie. The inadequacies really jump out at you after a while, and that’s coming from someone who loves shark movies. There really are better movies out there to suit every taste and to suit every situation.