Ah yes! Like most people, I celebrated my 4th of July by revisiting the masterpiece that is Steven Spielberg’s JAWS. But a few days prior to that, to get in the spirit, I also finally rewatched its second sequel, the 1983 Sea World-set JAWS 3! In 3D! And since I knew it’d be part of a double take entry, I paired it up with 2012’s destined-to-be-a-cult-classic flick, BAIT! How’d they pair up? Let’s discuss!
For me, growing up, JAWS 2 was always my favorite of the sequels and the one I’d instinctively watch over and over again. I still think it holds up well as a nasty mean-spirited “slasher” movie disguised as a summer blockbuster. And the death of Marge I know haunted myself and probably millions of other kids my age at the time. However, with the exception of a few vague memories from cable, JAWS 3 is probably the one I’ve seen the least. And it’d been at least a decade since I tried to revisit it. Deep down, I always hoped that if I were going to check it out again, it’d be in proper 3D. But alas, no theater near me was ever playing it, and it seemed like Universal was never going to pony up with that version. I debated watching it on its own in 2D, but found this clip on You Tube which immediately discouraged me.
Granted, regardless of what dimension you watch the movie in, that above shot is pretty awful. But low and behold, Universal just released all 3 sequels in glorious high definition with brand new Blu-Ray releases. Now, there’s been a lot of online talk about the quality of the transfers. For the 2D version of JAWS 3, the results are passable at best. There’s a tremendous amount of grain and tiny bits of missing information in certain scenes, because let’s face it, much like with PSYCHO, Universal only cares about the original movie in these franchises and could care less to give the sequels the proper respect and restorations they deserve. That said, the 3D version is much more forgivable because the gags are terrific.
Following the events of JAWS 1 and 2, a grown up Mike Brody (played by Dennis Quaid) works with his girlfriend Dr. Kay Morgan (Bess Armstrong) at the Sea World amusement park, primarily training the dolphins. Mike’s little brother Sean Brody (John Putch) comes to visit and hooks up with the lovely Kelly Ann (Lea Thompson)!
Pretty early on, right outside the complex, a shark attack takes out one of the employees. They’re able to capture this small Great White and they attempt to be the first amusement park to have an actual Great White in captivity. Park owner Calvin Bouchard (Louis Gossett Jr) decides to capitalize on their latest attraction and puts the Great White out for display. In this environment, the shark abruptly dies. When the chewed up body of Shelby re-surfaces, they realize that they didn’t actually capture the main Great White, but it’s infant. The mama shark is still very much out there and it’s now pissed off! It gets into the Sea World theme park and havoc ensues!
JAWS 3 isn’t exactly a great movie. It’s not nearly as strong in story as the first 2 movies and the absence of Roy Scheider’s Martin Brody is surely felt, but at the very least, it does try to tell a unique story by setting it at Sea World and following the exploits of the grown up Brody kids. As I watched it with a group of friends, we wondered if the series would’ve gone further with subsequent sequels if they just dropped the concept of always having it revolve around the Brody’s? The 4th film also have both Mike and Sean, but from an alternate timeline, as if 3 didn’t happen, and played by two completely different actors. It could’ve been worse. The original idea for JAWS 3 was to make it into a full blown spoof comedy titled JAWS 3, PEOPLE 0!
Regardless, if you’re capable of watching things in a home 3D environment with a proper 3D TV, then this is by far the best presentation you’ll ever get of JAWS 3D. (Which surprisingly is hidden as a “bonus feature” on the Blu-Ray disc.) Some of the coming-at-the-screen gags work beautifully, and all the underwater footage shows a lot of depth and just looks gorgeous in this format.
With one decent 3D shark movie done, I decided to then go for a really fun one, the berserk Australian production, BAIT 3D! Talk about a movie that throws everything and the kitchen sink into it! This is a movie so ambitious, that it not only tries to put sharks in a mall / supermarket (no doubt inspired by that one famous photoshopped photo that made the rounds), but the plots of 3 other movies as well. At the very opening of the film, we meet love birds Josh (Xavier Samuel from THE LOVED ONES) and Tina (Sharni Vinson from YOU’RE NEXT!). When Tina’s brother is violently attacked and killed by a shark in the water, Josh blames himself and we then cut to several months later after the couple have separated.
Josh now works retail in a supermarket within the mall. He bumps into Tina, just back from a trip to Singapore with her new boyfriend. Awkward! Meanwhile, Doyle (NIP/TUCK’s Julian McMahon), a criminal with a heart of gold, is about to pull off a heist of the place with a mysterious masked accomplice. That gets botched when a security guard spots them, but it almost doesn’t matter. An insane tsunami hits and basically a giant tidal wave comes crashing through this supermarket, completely flooding the entire complex including the underground parking garage. So now, the few survivors are propped up on top of the store shelves trying to figure a way out, when a couple of hungry sharks make their way down aisle 7!
It’s pretty goofy, over-the-top and a whole lot of fun! It’s funny, because for the opening, the very Australian Samuel and Vinson are struggling to maintain American accents, and yet later in the movie, it seems like they just drop them at some point? And even if they didn’t, there are definitely characters with full on Australian accents, which led me to ask… where the hell is this supposed to take place? And why did they try to lead us to believe the lead couple were American? I guess it really doesn’t matter, because there’s sharks in this!!! And it’s a good mix of CGI and animatronic sharks, which always look pretty bad-ass.
There’s a few other concurrent stories, such as the couple stuck in the parking garage with Ryan (Alex Russell from CHRONICLE!), a rebellious teenage girl arguing with her cop father who had come to arrest her for shoplifting and got mixed up in the failed heist. And of course the on-going will they/won’t they storyline between Josh and Tina. Basically it’s everything you’d want in a shark movie and a whole lot more! Including some fun, gory kills!
All in all, I think BAIT is a super fun movie if you can see it in 3D. Both of these movies benefit by the format, so if you’re able to see them that way on a proper 3D TV, you can’t go wrong with a JAWS 3D and BAIT 3D double feature!