It’s time to celebrate Jaws: The Revenge as it will be 30 years old next year and this level of unmitigated badness deserves recognition. The film is so bad it’s pretty enjoyable to sit here typing and enthusing about its awfulness – “so bad it’s good” syndrome, as it’s known. Considered one of the worst films ever made, how did the world go from Spielberg’s 1975 masterpiece to this mess?
We watched it when we were young ones so didn’t quite grasp the awfulness (as we were stupid kids), but we saw it again recently and simply found the film hilariously terrible. What are the problems? Primarily disastrous special effects, a bizarre narrative, and Michael Caine being weird. Awesome! Let’s take a closer look at where it all went wrong.
Jaws: The Revenge
When one says “Jaws” most people typically think of the spectacular masterpiece from Steven Spielberg in 1975. If you’re a movie buff you’ll likely know the shoot for the film was an utter disaster which nearly ruined Spielberg’s career. You’ll probably also know facts such as Robert Shaw being bored and drunk in the long delays between takes, and how Richard Dreyfuss publically apologised about the film shortly prior to its premiere and sweeping international acclaim.
Then there was the mediocre sequel Jaws 2 which focused on a bunch of irritating teenagers and a Roy Scheider effectively bullied into the film. Jaws 3 was utter pants but innocuous fare, and then we have Jaws: The Revenge from 1987. Here you’ll find an utterly piece of work which has gone down in legend as one of the worst films ever. Hurray!
The script takes another look at the Brody family (with Martin Brody having passed on in the fictional Brody universe). His wife, Ellen (Lorraine Gary), comes to obsesses over a giant 25ft shark stalking the family when her son Sean is killed by one. She believes it’s seeking revenge for the antics of her shark murdering husband. Thusly, she travels to the Bahamas with her son Michael to, like, chillax but inevitably ends up taking one a massive great white which is somehow able to track the Brody family down. Probably through Facebook, or something. Bloody stalker.
Problems, Problems, Problems
Glaringly obvious from the plot synopsis there is that’s one utterly moronic script. We’ll put out other major issues with Jaws: The Revenge just to rub Hollywood’s nose in it, though:
- The special effects are horrendous
- Let’s mention it again – the plot is ridiculous
- The shark is telepathic and is able to follow the Brody family around
- The shark roars
- There are bizarre continuity errors
- The acting is largely shoddy
We particularly love the continuity errors. There’s an endless array of blunders ranging from technical errors to things which are wildly improbable. Yes, a lot of films feature improbable things but usually not on a laughable scale, or if it is then the film’s competent enough to get away with it. Jaws The Revenge is like Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to dress as a woman – no one would believe that, man.
A big problem are the mechanics of the shark which are often clearly visible for the viewer, whilst scenes of ships which have been attacked by the shark vary from utterly devastated to in perfect shape. In addition, across scenes there will and won’t be blood in the water. Most famously, Michael Caine clambers from the water bone dry at one point. It’s a true skill.
Join the Quote Boat
It’s not all bad! Arguably the best things to come from the film are a number of amusing quotes from the film’s cast. Michael Caine (enjoying a sublime end to his acting career, incidentally) should have been off doing an interesting play somewhere. Instead, this project marked one of his notorious “Paycheck Pictures” (along with films such as the hilariously bad The Swarm – 1978). Apparently, Mr. Caine was asked about the film years later and he had this to say:
“I have never seen it [the film], but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
It’s also alleged he chose the project without even reading the script. Why? As in the opening sentence it read: “Fade in: Hawaii”. Absurdly, he won an Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters whilst filming Jaws: The Revenge so couldn’t collect his trophy in person. It’s easy to judge, we suppose, and frankly Mr. Wapojif would have taken the role in the drop of a cat.
Roy Scheider was offered a cameo for the film but flat-out refused. He had this to say:
“Satan himself could not get me to do Jaws part 4.”
The film’s absolutely godawful but over the last 30 years it has aged like a dead rat. It’s still repulsive, but the shocking awfulness of it ensures it has a cult following who appreciate the distorted reality it foists upon the world. Telepathic sharks, Michael Caine on oddball form, shark effects from 1987 which look infinitely worse than in 1975, and a fatuous ending. It’s all comedy, cringe worthy gold.
Frankly, we believe it’s important films like this exist. Whilst it killed the Jaws franchise like a giant shark killing something, it hopefully pushed forward some quality standards which Hollywood has adhered to ever since. This is why we’ve not had any dreadful films since 1987 – indeed, the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean (zzzzzzz) and Transformers (*retch*) have paved over the odious history of Jaws: The Revenge, leading us into a fantastic new era of relentless, never-ending, perpetual, eternal, continuous, often dodgy looking CGI. Huzzah!