Jaws 3-D (also known as Jaws 3, or just Jaws III) is a 1983 American horror/thriller film directed by Joe Alves and the third installment of the Jaws series. It stars Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Simon MacCorkindale and Louis Gossett Jr. Despite the first two being great movies, Jaws 3-D was widely panned by both Jaws fans and critics. At the time of the film's release, it was the most hated film in the series, until Jaws: The Revenge was released four years later, which it received even worse than 3-D received.
While following an unsuspecting team of water skiers, a great white shark enters SeaWorld Orlando through its closing gates. Meanwhile, Florida announces the opening of the park's new underwater tunnels. Kathryn "Kay" Morgan (Bess Armstrong), the park's senior marine biologist, and her assistants notice the resident dolphins are afraid of leaving their pen. Shelby Overman (Harry Grant), a mechanic, dives into the water to repair and secure the gates. He is killed and devoured by the shark, leaving only his severed right arm. Later that night, two men sneak into the park and go underwater to steal coral they intend to sell, but both are killed by the shark.
The next day, Kay and Michael Brody (Dennis Quaid) are informed of Overman's disappearance. They go down in a submarine to look for his corpse, and during the search, they encounter a smaller shark. The dolphins rescue Kay and Mike but the shark escapes back into the park. The news of the shark is disbelieved by the manager of SeaWorld Calvin Bouchard (Louis Gossett Jr.), though it excites his hunter friend, Phillip FitzRoyce (Simon MacCorkindale), who states his intention to kill the shark on network television. Kay protests and suggests capturing and keeping the shark alive in captivity, to guarantee more publicity for the park. The shark is successfully captured and Kay and her staff nurse it to health. Calvin, desperate to start the money rolling in immediately, orders it moved to an exhibit, but the shark dies.
Later, Overman's remains are discovered. Reviewing what's left of him, Kay realizes that the shark that killed him is the first shark's mother, and that it must also be inside the park. She is able to convince Calvin about this newest development when the shark herself shows up at the window of the underwater cafe. Flushed out from her refuge inside a filtration pipe, the shark begins to wreak havoc on the park, injures a water skier, and causes a leak that nearly drowns everyone in the underwater tunnel. FitzRoyce and his assistant Jack go down to the filtration pipe in an attempt to lure the shark back in as a trap. FitzRoyce leads the shark into the pipe, but is then attacked and killed.
Hearing the shark has been lured into the pipe, Michael and Kay go down to repair the underwater tunnel so the technicians can restore air pressure and drain the water. Calvin orders the pump to be shut down to suffocate the shark, but this act instead allows her to break free from the pipe and attack Michael and Kay, but they are saved by the dolphins. They make their way back to the control room, but the shark appears in front of the window and smashes through the glass, flooding the room and killing technician Fred, Calvin's nephew. Michael notices FitzRoyce's corpse still in the shark's throat with a grenade, and uses a bent pole to pull its pin, blowing the shark to smithereens. In the aftermath, Mike and Kay celebrate with the dolphins, who survived their brush with the shark.
Why It Sucks
- The 3D effects are poorly done and they look extremely fake (such as a floating arm in the water). On top of that, a lot of the 3D shots are pointless, leading to a lot of occasions in the 2D version when the camera suddenly goes up-close to a random object, which just ends up looking odd and distracting.
- The idea of having a Jaws film in SeaWorld Orlando is a very poorly idea because Orlando, Florida is a good 30 miles from the sea, which it is impossible for a shark (or dolphin, for that matter) to swim into SeaWorld from the ocean.
- There's a few scenes where the shark looks way too fake, with the baby shark looking even worse. It doesn't help that they mix in stock footage of real sharks, making the contrast more obvious, nor that they show the shark far more than in the first two films (where it was kept mostly off-camera).
- While the film follows the two sons of Martin Brody, the protagonist of Jaws and Jaws 2, the events of those films are hardly mentioned at all, meaning this film hardly even feels like part of the series at all.
- There is also a scene where the shark floats, not swims, but she slowly floats towards the control facility where the main characters are, and they don't leave as soon as she starts coming towards them, they just sit there screaming at the shark until she breaks the window causing the entire control facility to get flooded.
- There were people who got trapped inside an underwater haunted house, mostly because of the shark, but when the main characters finally kill the shark, one of the main characters asks if the dolphins are okay instead of the people. They could have died in there!
- There is a scene where the shark could have killed a woman, but instead, she just nips her leg - not bites, nips.
- They just recycle the ending of the first film by blowing up the shark, only this time with the addition of horrible 3D effects.
- Annoying supporting characters (e.g. Philip FitzRoyce, the cocky and money hungry oceanographer who wants to kill the shark on camera for media attention.)
- Sluggish pacing.
- It nearly killed Kaye Stevens' acting career.
- Dennis Quaid and John Putch are miscast as the Brody brothers.
- Just like its successor, the shark in this film roars despite the fact that sharks do not roar because they don't have vocal cords.
- This film launched the career of co-star Lea Thompson, who would later star in the Back To The Future films.
- Some scenes are unintentionally funny, like Dennis Quaid's reaction to Shelby Overman's remains and when the shark swims into the control facility and floods it after crashing through the glass pane.
- Some of the shark attack scenes are pretty good.
- It's kind of nice to see the dolphins saving the day.
- The music co-composed by Alan Parker was well done and gives a rush of excitement.
- At least it wasn't as bad as Jaws: The Revenge, but the franchise itself had no justice.
Jaws 3-D was widely panned by critics, and the fans of the first two films and currently holds an 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 2.9 out of 10 and has a critic consensus that reads "A cheese-soaked ocean thriller with no evident reason to exist, Jaws 3 bellows forth with a plaintive yet ultimately unheeded cry to put this franchise out of viewers' misery." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 27/100, based on 9 reviews. On Common Sense Media, the film has a rating of 2/5 stars. The film has a score of 3.6 on IMDb, and ranks #57 on the site's Bottom Rated Movies list. Film critic Leonard Maltin described the film as "a road-company Irwin Allen type-disaster film" and concluded that its premise is similar to the 1955 sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The film opened up at #1 on its opening weekend with a domestic gross of $13,422,500. It would later make a domestic gross of $45,517,055. In overseas countries, it made $42,470,000. Overall, it made $87,987,055 against its $18 million budget making it a moderate success at the box office.
Awards and nominations
Jaws 3-D was nominated for five Razzie Awards (Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, and Worst New Star), but lost to The Lonely Lady.