Non Canon Review: Jaws 2 (1978)

FEBRUARY 3, 2008


I debated whether or not to count Jaws 2 as my movie for the day. I had never seen the entire thing in one sitting, and some scenes I’m sure I had never seen at all (the gala that Brody shows up late to, for example). But I have seen the last hour what seems like a dozen times. In the end, I opted to watch something else (I do this for YOU!) and simply write a good ol “non canon review” for this one, which is considered the best of the sequels but is also the least interesting, in my opinion.

Unlike 3 (3D, water park) or The Revenge (a shark swims thousands of miles to hunt down and kill the Brody family, Mario Van Peebles), there is nothing really exciting or unique about Jaws 2. Structure-wise, it’s almost the exact same movie as the original – A shark kills at night, Brody is shown trying to run the police department, a body is found, suspicions arise, there’s a false alarm, Brody gets disciplined, and then the final hour is more or less one long scene of shark vs. boat (and the people on it).

But yet it’s still the best of the sequels, thank to better acting all around and less of a detachment from the original than the other sequels thanks to the cast (other than Dreyfuss, who is at least mentioned, all of the surviving principal cast from the original returned for 2; no one returned for 3 and only Lorraine Gary came back for 4) and music (this is actual John Williams, not a pale imitation). The kills are sort of exciting, if not very suspenseful, and while nothing is as “oh SHIT!” as the little kid being eaten in the original, the sheer number of teens stuck on the boat(s) make up for it – you’re not too sure if ANY of them will be safe, especially after that one broad dies trying to rescue Mike (or Sean, I forget which one’s which).

Speaking of the teens, the film is almost like a slasher film at times, with a shark instead of a guy in a mask. We cut back and forth between the fodder and the cops trying to get there in time; one gets picked off every now and then, etc. There’s even a couple of nerdy guys for good measure. Yet it predates pretty much every teen slasher of note (even Halloween). Weird.

One thing I don’t get – why does the deputy have a different name in this movie? Was it supposed to be a different character but the casting person was just really lazy? Did they just forget? You’d think at least the actor himself would be like ‘hey wait a minute...’. Imagine if in Bourne Ultimatum they just started calling him David or something. That’d be wacky!

I should note that before the film we were treated to a trailer for... Jaws 2. But not really. In addition to showing us how beautiful the print of the film itself was in comparison (Universal apparently just made a new 35mm print just for the screening), but the trailer was re-edited to include footage of a car chase movie and some sort of 60s beach party movie. It was fucking hilarious, and whoever did it should be commended. If anyone knows who did it (I forgot to ask), let me know so I can give credit to this wonderfully hilarious edit.

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. I love Jaws 2. I wish I could see the 35mm print in a cinema one day.


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