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Creature Feature Wednesdays: Getting past the sharks in 'Jaws 3-D'

You can’t have a Creature Feature series and not include a movie from the Jaws franchise. So why not Jaws 3-D? This early-’80s film feels less like a Jaws installment and more like a PG-rated adventure film that just happens to have 3-D sharks. But the tagline still rules: The Third Dimension Is Terror!

The gist

Jaws 3-D takes a vacation from Amity Island and heads to Florida for its warm-weather backdrop. More specifically: Sea World (Orca probably wouldn’t like that). So, while trailing a group of water-skiers, our great white shark inconspicuously enters an underwater gated portion of the park. A (smaller) shark is later captured and put on display in the park.

BIG mistake. Huge! The poor shark dies because, you know, they’re not supposed to live in captivity. Then big bad mama shark seeks vengeance.

Jaws 3-D

The movie stars Dennis Quaid (Soul Surfer) as a grown-up Mike Brody (Martin’s eldest son), Bess Armstrong (My So-Called Life) as his marine biologist girlfriend, and Louis Gossett, Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman) as the park’s manager. Bonus: Mike’s younger brother, Sean (John Putch, son of legendary actress Jean Stapleton), shows up and decidedly gets it on with a young Lea Thompson (Back to the Future) in her feature film debut!

Forget Jaws

The main gripe surrounding this movie is that it is not Jaws. Obviously, folks. It’s a different time, a different feel, a different gimmick. But that’s okay. If you can pretend this movie doesn’t exist in the Jaws-iverse (many people do, including the filmmakers behind Jaws: The Revenge), then you can enjoy this silly 3-D shark movie without its predecessors’ high standards looming from above. And yes, that means I think Jaws 2 is pretty great too.

The sharks

The other gripe with Jaws 3-D? The sharks. Wow, they are pretty terrible. At the time, it may have been cutting-edge—a terrifying shark coming at you in 3-D—but watching a 2-D version in 2015 exemplifies the awful design of those gliding water beasts. But … that’s okay. If we can get past the sharks, we can make fun of them and just enjoy the experience. (Don’t forget my “Tips for Viewing.”) It’s all about the movie-watching experience—whether you’re praising a masterpiece, laughing at the great humor (Arachnophobia, Grabbers), or poking fun at bad CGI, the experience shapes the memory. Jaws 3-D deserves a little celebration for its substandard shark creations.

Jaws 3-D - Shark breaks glass

Also, there’s THIS for an ending freeze-frame shot:

Jaws 3-D - Dolphins

Fun Facts

  • This was Joe Alves’ first and only stint as director. Alves’ other credits include being a production designer on Jaws, Jaws 2, and Escape from New York. He was nominated for an Oscar for his art-direction work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Unfortunately, he was also nominated for a Razzie for his work on Jaws 3-D.
  • As part of the film’s promotional work, Topps created a series of trading cards for Jaws 3-D.
  • The main shark was 10 feet longer that its predecessors.
  • Jaws 3-D was part an early-’80s trend to put 3-D work in sequels. Other films included Friday the 13th Part III and Amityville 3-D.

View the trailer for Jaws 3-D below:

Tips for viewing: With the exception of a few, these movies are not masterpieces. Don’t view them as such. Don’t take them seriously. Watch them with friends and create your own commentary—on the acting, editing, bad choices, etc. And remember—have fun!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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