Jaws: The Revenge; or Ding Dong Merrily on Die

Hello and Hallo-welcome to Sequel Sunday, where we check out a film that follows up with characters we know and love or hate and fear! You join your bloggers, Andy and Lilly, as they kick up their flippers and go back in the water because this time, it’s personal.

Today’s Film Offering: Jaws: The Revenge

Andy: Lilly whyyy,

Lilly: I’m curious and like Michael Caine!

Andy: But it’s so baaad.

Lilly: Hey man, I am a connoisseur of terrible shark movies.

Andy: I’m pretty sure not watching this was in our wedding vows.

Lilly: I didn’t know then what I know now!

Jaws_the_revenge.jpgJaws: The Revenge is the story of, well, the revenge of Jaws, the original shark from the first film in the franchise. Specifically against the Brody family because I figure Hooper was smart enough to get out of ocean related shenanigans and Quint, well. It wasn’t like he had a widow. Loads of lovelorn bow-legged women, sure, but no one settled down with that scamp! Anyway, Jaws: The Revenge takes the idea of ‘what if sharks remember?’ and…I don’t know. Makes it a thing? Or wait, was the shark just related to the shark from the original film? A child of it? Was the original shark a female and so the whole thing with Ellen Brody protecting her family was maybe a parallel storyline? Which child did Dennis Quaid play in the third one again? Why did the shark wait so long! Is Michael Caine a drug runner?

Andy: Yeah, I’m just going to skip the marine biology here for a sec for the sake of my own SANITY. Suffice to say that sharks can neither a) roar, lacking both lungs and vocal chords, and b) SEEK REVENGE.

Lilly: That’s Marine Biology 101 right there.

Andy: This is an amazing movie that somehow recognized how godawful Jaws 3D was and safely ignore it, and yet lacks the self-awareness to know itself is somehow worse.

Lilly: Right? It didn’t even know what tone it was trying to set! Is it the tale of a vicious shark who has a vendetta and can recognize certain members of a specific bloodline/zip down from Maine to the Bahamas in no time? Is it the story of the sadly lacking funding system for marine research, specifically outside the sexy topics of sharks or whales–doesn’t anyone care about snails?

Andy: WHAT CONCH-BASED RESEARCH NEEDS A SUBMARINE. I MAY HAVE IDENTIFIED YOUR FUNDING PROBLEM.

Lilly: … Or is it the story of a widow trying to get her groove back with Michael Caine (as you do) to only be lady-blocked by her over-protective son and a murderous shark?

Andy: Or is it the tale of an increasingly deranged woman, who encounters two completely different sharks and insanely reasons it’s the same shark out for her family.

Lilly: This film has one of those narratives that had multiples stops to get off the horror train yet the characters insisted on keeping chugging along towards doom. It is the equivalent of the babysitter hearing a sound in the basement, going to explore it, to only see blood coming from the wine cellar, going to explore it, to only see her best friend’s head in a jar and going to look for the rest of her body parts in the pantry. Stop. Going. In. The. Water. Done. Shark rendered useless. Story over. Go get some with Michael Caine. Easy! Yet no. No. To get over the death of her son in the beginning of the film due to a murderous trap set by our shark/vengeance machine, Ellen doesn’t go to middle America to take in some farm scenery, she doesn’t go camping in one of America’s beautiful national parks, she doesn’t even drive two hours or so to go to New York or Boston and stay far from the water front. Nope, she goes and stays with her son, the marine biologist, who lives on the beach and is so bad at marine biology that he doesn’t get that sharks can happen where he is. So no, Ellen Brody, I don’t feel bad when that shark shows up, roaring in your face. In fact, I’m delighted, since shark roaring is one of my favourite bad film tropes.

Andy: How do you feel about exploding sharks?

Lilly: I assume the shark was filled with vengeance gas. Highly flammable.

Also, what’s with the sepia memories that Ellen keeps having, some of which she wasn’t even present for and most of which are from an infinitely better film, Jaws? I get it, you are friends with Jaws, Jaws: The Revenge, but the fact that you have to keep proving it is sad. Though, hey, you did get me when a few ladies from Jaws showed up at the beginning, including Woman Who Thinks Your Idea is Bad from the town meeting, and the grieving mother who slapped Brody for letting her son die by shark but apparently it’s all cool now since she was there for Ellen.

Andy: Lilly is more eloquent when it comes to these real bottom-of-the-barrel movies, so all I’ve got to add is that it’s bad. Really, really bad. It killed the franchise and genre so brutally effectively, that for my entire lifetime, there has never been another Jaws movie, nor even a particularly well-regarded shark movie. That’s … kinda impressive, actually.

Plus the shark only kills two people! BAD MOVIE SHARK. NO COOKIE FOR YOU.

Lilly: It’s hard to say what exactly is bad about all of this film–besides saying ‘all of it?’ with a shrug–but it was just magnificently awful. The acting was good, given that part of it was acting like a shark could have a bone to pick with your family, and Michael Caine always delights me to see, even though I was pretty sure he was going to either Catfish Ellen Brody somehow or murder her. Both ideas likely came of wanting a better film, admittedly, but come on, wouldn’t YOU watch Michael Caine trying to catfish Ellen Brody? Well? That said, I’d actually love to see those two crazy kids make it.

Which might be a problem given that I wasn’t watching a rom com, I was watching JAWS. Why am I making up fanfictions about Ellen and Hoagie when there should be some heavy shark-on-person action happening with intrigue and–oh my god, if they say conch one more time.

I can barely finish this review for wanting to google that fanfiction, that’s how bad it was.

However. That said…

It was entertaining. A shark roared! Michael Caine told rambling old man flirtation stories! I learned a bit about conches! There was some need in the narrative for me to know it was Christmas, which lead to so many out of key carols being worked into scenes! And I laughed. A lot. And if a film can’t be scary, can’t be what it was meant to be (I assume), then at least it should do that. And oh did it ever. There were moments I will joke about for years now. Like Michael’s wife cosplaying the girl from Jurassic Park six years before the movie come out. Or Michael Caine, in general, trying to get some from Ellen Brody because apparently he’s tired of his bevy of hot women that only talk about nonsense, and not about the death of their son by a specific shark who was bent on revenge. Or just the concept of a shark working with conchs to lure the object of its revenge to his dooooom.

Plus, I liked it more than Jaws 3D, sooooo.

Andy: I think they call that “damning with faint praise”.

Lilly: It’s no Jurassic Shark, is all I’m saying.

Andy: Aaaand I think they call that ‘insanity’.

Lilly: YOU like that crappy shark movie where they get into a supermarket. Just sayin’.

So ‘recommend’ seems like a steep word here, but hey, if you got time and a lack of respect for what goes into your eyes, then by all means! Enjoy this film as we have. As in laugh for a ridiculously long time after watching it, trying to stop yourself from forcing others to watch it so you can have a group pain to share and overcome. Go, do that, and enjoy!

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