Jaws 3 (3D Blu-ray) (1983)

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Released 2-Jun-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 98:20
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Joe Alves
Studio
Distributor

Universal Sony
Starring Dennis Quaid
Bess Armstrong
Simon MacCorkindale
Louis Gossett, Jr.
John Putch
Lea Thompson
P.H. Moriarty
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $15.95 Music Alan Parker


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
Spanish dts 2.0
French dts 2.0
Portuguese dts 2.0
Spanish dts 2.0
German dts 2.0
Japanese dts 2.0
Thai dts 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
French
Portuguese
German
Japanese
Thai
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Korean
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     With the departure of virtually everyone involved with the first two Jaws movies, it was up to a new creative team to conceive of something new to attract audiences to the cinema for another sequel to Steven Spielberg’s 1975 masterpiece. During the early 1980s, 3D horror films were revived, leading to the likes of Amityville 3-D and Friday the 13th Part III. Thus, the gimmick was applied to Jaws 3, which was in turn entitled Jaws 3-D. The final result is one of the most legendarily bad movies of all time, serving as a prime example of everything that’s wrong with sequels. It fits the “bad sequel” bill on every count - it’s unnecessary (yet another film about a killer great white shark which involves the same family?), gimmicky (3D...), and it looks noticeably cheaper than its predecessors. Gone are the competent production values, taut editing, believable acting and astute screenwriting... What remains is an empty carcass.

     Since both Steven Spielberg and Richard Dreyfuss bolted after the first film, and Roy Scheider had the good sense to call it quits after the sequel, Jaws 3-D introduces a new cast, though there are returning characters, because of contrivance. There’s a new locale as well - Sea World in an undisclosed Florida location. Taking centre stage here are the Brody offspring, Michael (Dennis Quaid) and Sean (John Putch), who have moved away from their Amity home after the first two movies. Michael works at Sea World with his girlfriend (Bess Armstrong), but - shock horror - a thirty-five-foot man-eating great white shark shows up and begins eating people. Personally, I’d have given the shark a knife and fork.

     The original Jaws worked due to its primal simplicity. A shark showed up in a populated area, began munching on the population, and a trio of men set out to kill it. In the first sequel, the incredible coincidence of another shark in the same location terrorising the same community is hard to swallow. For Jaws 3, the coincidence that the Brody boys are still terrorised by a huge, monster-sized shark - even after relocating - is impossible to swallow. Astonishingly, the screenplay was penned by original Jaws scenarist Carl Gottlieb and respected novelist Richard Matheson, but apparently the script was heavily altered by uncredited script doctors and the production was rushed.

     Another key factor in the success of the original Jaws was the vision and talent of director Steven Spielberg. Jaws 2 director Jeannot Szwarc did not prove as talented as Spielberg, but at least he was able to construct a workable film and conjure up a certain degree of tension. When Jaws 3 rolled around, the producers made the baffling decision to hand the reigns to Joe Alves, who served as production designer and second unit director for the first two films. Having no real directorial experience before (or since), Alves was clearly in over his head when attempting to master the subtleties of building tension, as there is zero suspense. The attack scenes are more uncomfortable than anything else. Jaws 3 also severely lacks style, as scenes lumber by with no visual panache or genuinely interesting moments. The only unique developments in the visual style come from the way some shots are presented since it was designed as a 3D movie, so there are several instances of things shooting towards the camera. But clearly nobody could be bothered enough to actually finish any of the special effects shots, as there are thick black lines around 3D objects and some of the digital compositing is possibly the worst ever seen in a studio movie.

     The special effects are a constant source of amusement, with incredibly fake mechanical sharks and awful computer representations of them. It’s baffling, but with each subsequent film, the shark looks faker than ever before. Shouldn’t the effects be increasing rather than declining? Shouldn’t the always-improving cinematic technology be rendering more believable sharks, especially since almost ten years had elapsed since the first film at this point? The thirty-five-foot great white in this film never looks real - it looks stiffer than concrete, it’s incredibly slow, and even appears to have a tongue for whatever reason. As a matter of fact, the shark never seems to actually catch its prey - said prey literally swims into its mouth. In addition, the shark growls at times. But even more hysterical is the shark’s miraculous ability to swim in reverse or swim on the spot!

     As with the first two Jaws movies, Jaws 3 does feature real footage of sharks, but the technique is enormously ineffective here. The footage is very obviously sped up most of the time, and it often doesn’t fit (daytime footage of a shark is used during a night-time sequence, which looks baffling). And apparently the filmmakers eventually ran out of great white shark footage, so random catfish footage is used instead. Compounding all of this awfulness, John Williams didn’t score the film, though bits and pieces of the classic theme are used. Williams’ replacement was a television veteran named Alan Parker, whose inexperience with feature films is painfully obvious, as the music never evokes a sense of terror, dread, excitement or suspense. The entire enterprise looks, feels and sounds like a cheap TV movie.

     Somehow, though, Jaws 3-D manages to be strangely compelling in its terribleness. Even though it’s unmistakably bad, at least you can laugh at it along the way. Cheesy acting, risible dialogue, bad special effects, skewwhiff pacing... Jaws 3 represents the whole “so bad its good” package. It will never be mistaken for a decent (or even a half-decent) film, but its fun to watch with your friends after having a few beers. It’s even more fun to ridicule. At least it’s a fun bad movie...it gets points for that.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Fan demand has been high for a true 3D presentation of Jaws 3-D for some time, and Universal have finally delivered. It’s worth noting, though, that the 3D edition is only selectable from the special features menu; when you select play from the main menu, the movie plays in 2D. Both transfers are presented in the movie’s original aspect ratio of 2.40:1, and the video looks pretty rough on the whole.

     The movie is placed on a BD-50, and the majority of the disc is used for the highest possible bitrate. The 3D presentation is a mixed bag all things considered. Some shots make terrific use of the 3D format, but other shots are borderline incomprehensible and hard to watch because of the tremendous depth that the filmmakers were aiming for. For an example, see the Universal logo at the beginning, or instances of 3D objects floating “out” of the screen. One assumes this is traceable to the source, but it’s still distracting nevertheless. I also noticed a fair amount of ghosting, which is particularly noticeable during a night-time sequence as the characters prepare to capture the baby shark. However, when the 3D transfer does work, it is impressive, exhibiting wonderful depth and object delineation. And there’s something inherently fun about seeing the more gimmicky moments in 3D, especially the shark’s destruction.

     Owing to the camera systems used to shoot Jaws 3-D, there is an excessive amount of source-related issues. Grain and noise are heavy as all hell, especially during night-time scenes. Colour noise crops up, too, which is extremely distracting, especially in dark moments which are dotted with hundreds of white specks. Alas, none of the grain or noise looks especially refined - it looks blocky and unsightly. I definitely prefer grain to be left intact as opposed to DNR, but is this really the best that the film can look?

     Still, I am pleased that I can now watch Jaws 3-D the way it was meant to be seen, in probably the best quality that we are likely to get.

     The 2D is a lot worse. Due to the way the movie was shot, there is an inherent loss of resolution when watching it in 2D, and the picture is absolutely riddled with unsightly artefacts. There are colourful halos around people and objects on a frequent basis, some shots look strangely warped, and grain is incredibly heavy. Detail and sharpness only barely rises above the level of a DVD. I also noticed some ringing. It’s a generally unrefined image all-round, and though it may be better than nothing, this does feel like a wasted opportunity on the whole.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Like Jaws 2, this second Jaws sequel arrives on Blu-ray with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack, as opposed to a remixed 5.1 or 7.1 audio track. Although a 5.1 track would be enticing, this stereo 2.0 mix is still satisfying on the whole, preserving the bombastic, overzealous sound effects and the deep growls from the shark. There is no sophisticated surround channel use or panning; instead, this front-heavy audio presentation packs plenty of impact and provides dialogue that’s easy to comprehend.

     There are a few pops and hisses from time to time, but other than that, this is a fine track which provides a good improvement over the DVD.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     Apart from the 3D presentation and a trailer, there are no other extras to speak of, which is a real shame. Sure, the movie itself is terrible, but there are two vintage behind-the-scenes documentaries available to watch on YouTube. Plus, a documentary about the movie’s troubled production and shonky legacy would be fascinating.

Theatrical Trailer (SD; 1:23)

     A basic trailer, presented in poor quality 4:3.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    All Blu-ray editions worldwide are identical.

Summary

     Jaws 3-D is not for everyone. Nobody can call it a good movie. But some people - like myself - may get a kick out of its utter goofiness. And now Universal has finally delivered a true 3D presentation of this mess. Alas, the video presentation - both 3D and 2D - is riddled with issues, but the audio represents a good improvement over the DVD. No extras to speak of.

     A decent buy if this sounds appealing to you.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Friday, June 03, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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