Jaws: The Revenge DVD Review

In 1975, people around the country refused to go near the water. By 1987, they were laughing hysterically. After a so-so second film, the Jaws series nose-dived with one of the most laughable sequels of all time, Jaws 3-D. Then, for whatever reason, some exec over at Universal thought a 4th film was in order. Though not as bad as Jaws 3-D, Jaws: The Revenge has little to recommended. Ellen Brody (played for the third time by Lorraine Gray) is now a widow after her husband, Martin Brody, passes on from a heart attack. Right around Christmas, her son Sean (Mitchell Anderson) is brutally attacked by a great white. Her other son Michael (Lance Guest) invites her down to the Bahamas to try and calm her down. However, Ellen feels that the shark is following and knows it won't stop until it kills off the entire family. Jaws: The Revenge might have been a decent sequel. The direction is fair, acting on par, and the scenery is gorgeous. A few nice, gory death sequences and some mild tension make this somewhat tolerable as well. What ruins the entire experience is the notion that the shark and Ellen have some sort of "connection." Yes, this giant great white shark really does have it in for the Brody family and no explanation is ever given for its actions (though the book places the blame on a voodoo curse). As if that wasn't laughable enough, the shark itself looks incredibly cheap and nowhere near the original creation of the first film. Far too much screen time is given to the beast and there are more than a few moments where you can see the track that leads the monster around. Then, it gets even more asinine at the end when the shark suddenly produces some vocal cords and lets out a cheesy roar (brought over from countless 50's monster films) and explodes when impaled by the boat. The ending is actually a small piece of movie history. The original script had the shark simply get impaled but a few of the Universal higher-ups didn't believe this would work with the audience (or they may have responded during test screenings). They ordered a new ending with a shoestring budget and what came out was a cheap miniature and stock footage from the first film. Either way, it's a sad end to what should have been a classic series. (** out of *****) Amazingly, this is the second time Jaws: The Revenge has made its way onto DVD. The first disc, from Goodtimes, included extra footage, a decent (though unspectacular) transfer, and occasionally scratchy audio. This new disc from Universal themselves is a large improvement, though the extra footage has not been included. This new 2.35:1 transfer is beautiful, bursting with bright colors that really bring out the islands natural beauty. Indoor sequences suffer from some extremely heavy grain, which does bring the overall package down a notch, but the vast majority of the film takes place in broad daylight anyway. Nearly all specks and scratches have been cleaned up as well. (****) The audio package here is presented in Dolby Pro-Logic. A few instances of rear speaker usage are evident, but these are few and far between. Most of the audio is centered with some minor bass. The hissing of the old Goodtimes disc has been cleaned up and all the dialogue comes through clear. (***) Sadly, even with the extra ending and alternate scenes, this disc is barren. None of the extra footage has been included here. All viewers get is a ghastly full frame trailer and some recommendations (which include Jaws 1, 2, and 3 as if people couldn't figure this out on their own). Not that the film actually deserves a full-blown special edition, but if the footage is out there, why NOT include it? (*) This is a film for completists only. It's not the worst in the series nor is it the worst shark movie ever made (See Shark Attack 3 or Red Water and you'll see my point), but it is still a disgrace to the classic original. Hopefully the series will die a peaceful death with this rotten entry, but rumors are abound that a fifth film may still surface.

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