Jaws 2

Jaws 2

Sequels. We have discussed then many times in the past, and we will again in the future. If a Horror film is a success, it will more than likely be followed by a sequel a few years later. We love them, and we hate them. We love them since sometimes it is the only fix we can get for our Horror. We hate them because they rarely live up to the original film, regardless of how good or bad the original is.

When "Jaws" was a hit back in the mid-70's, the sequel practice was still a fairly new idea. "Planet Of The Apes" was the main sequel vehicle. But Universal Studios were more or less the inventors of the sequel. They were the ones that gave us "Dracula", "Frankenstein" and "The Mummy" and all of the follow-ups to those films. But we seem to forget that those films were sequels, maybe it was the lack of Roman Numerals, I don't know. So when Universal had a monster hit with "Jaws", just what was going to stop them from creating "The Son Of Jaws"? Well, nothing.

"Jaws 2" starts up a mere four years after the shark ate the Orca and Quint. To remind us of the horror that happened in the first film, this film starts on the ocean bottom with some divers swimming around the remains of the Orca, the boat that Brody, Hooper, and Quint were on in the last film. While down there, something eats the divers. You get one guess as to what it is.

The film then moves on to bring us up to date with the Brody family. Martin Brody is a beaten man, and Roy Scheider pretty much gets this across to us with just his eyes. He becomes more paranoid of a new shark to such extreme measures in this film that he gets removed from the police force. His wife this time around has a career going and doesn't seem to have as much time for her husband anymore, but still shows concern for his thinning mental state.

This film gets us to know the kids a bit more. This is a side of the film that gets quite a few complaints from fans of the original. The film, as these folk say, is geared more towards the teen crowd, and this is why we follow the teens. My view is, I am glad that film didn't follow Brody and some other people around as they tried to destroy another shark. That was done in the first film. I liked the fact that we have the teens and the cruising in the boats. I like the fact that nobody believes Brody. I like that this film was done with the idea of taking the film in a new direction. I feel like somebody cared about what this film would be about, instead of just doing a pure re-hash of the first film.

When the teens all go out cruising in their boats, the run into the shark and become unable to control the boats and end up tying all the boats together and floating adrift in the ocean current. To somebody like me, who can't swim, this is the same feeling as a film that centers on claustrophobia. The idea of floating in the ocean and not having control of where you are heading is actually a very terrifying idea. The terror on the faces of the kids comes through quite well.

The film ends as you would expect it to. Films like this are not meant to end in a downbeat manner, and of that I am grateful. Some films I want to see a bleak ending, this one though no. You want to see Brody happy.

Universal brings us "Jaws 2" on DVD with just as much respect as they showed for the original. For fans of the film, as I am, this is a thrill. To see a film from 1978, that was a sequel to one of the most successful films of all time, get the same respect as the original, says something about the company turning these things out! The picture quality is just as brilliant as it was for "Jaws". Everything is crystal clear and free of grain and streaks and all of the other problems you might expect from older films. If it not for the way the Brody house is decorated, you would never guess that this film was made in the 70's!

The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track, and that is fine by me. The sound is clear and very effective. Remember that the "Jaws" DVD was attacked for it's over-active new mix. This film was never recorded for a surround experience, it didn't exist in the 70's, so to have one now would be wrong.

The extras are plenty and fulfilling.

First up we get a bunch of deleted scenes. A few of these should have been left in for the character development side of things. The film is not hurt by the exclusion, but it could have benefited by their inclusion.

Next is a piece called "Jaws 2: A Portrait By Actor Keith Gordon". Keith is the same guy from "Christine" and "Back To School" amongst many other films. You will remember him upon seeing him. He plays one of the teens in the film. This piece is surprisingly interesting. It is fairly short (10-20 minutes), but still full of great information.

Then we get a short piece with some guy who writes music named John Williams where he talks about the music in the film, like it was inspiring or something! Oh well, I guess they needed to toss him a bone since he hasn't done anything really to remember him by.

Then we get a quick thing about some translation problems with the title of the film into French. It could have been included in the next extra and is more or less nothing special. The most attractive piece on this DVD next to the movie would be the 45 minute making of piece. It covers pre-production through the release of the film. This piece has funny stories and interesting behind the scenes info. One of the things that I found interesting was the story about Murray Hamilton. It seems his wife was ill during this and he asked to be let go so he could go to be with her. Instead they did all of his scenes first so that he could leave. The pain and worry he was going through is what I think made his performance as the mayor on this film so brilliant. You really feel he is torn up about Brody and just worn down about this job.

The disc also contains Production Photographs, Story Boards, Shark Facts (I love these!), Trailers, Production Notes, and info on the cast and filmmakers.

This is one of those films I feel can be recommended to anybody. If you are not a fan of the film, the overall package might sway you into becoming one. The "making of feature" really makes a great case for the film and might help people see it in a new light. Plus the price is right. If you never were a fan, at the very least rent the DVD and give it a chance again. If you were always a fan, it is time for rejoicing!

Review by Carl Isonhart

Released by Universal Studios
Region 1 NTSC
Audio - English & French Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles - Spanish
Ratio - Widescreen 2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
Running time : approx 116 minutes
Extras :
The Making Of Jaws 2, Jaws 2: A Portrait by Actor Keith Gordon, John Williams: The Music Of Jaws 2, The "French" Joke, Deleted Scenes, Stills gallery, Storyboards, Trailers and biographys