Jaws II (1978) or: Just when livewithfilm thought it was safe to go back in the blogosphere

31 Jan

With some surprise, livewithfilm found itself entering into a debate that has been raging since 1916 and the movie industry’s first sequel (Thomas F. Dixon Jr.’s The Fall of a Nation if anyone’s interested…Not just a pretty blog after all). Discussing the issue with friends, this blogger discovered that Jaws II remains a stalwart player in the ‘better-than-the-original-movie’ question. Whilst many classics have seen a sequel exceed their own worth, livewithfilm did not expect Speilberg’s Jaws to be a part of such a canon. That many see the second outing for this swimmer munching franchise to be superior to the first remained too tantalising a possibility for livewithfilm. Could the return of Police Chief Brody really be better than the first? Will livewithfilm once again be scared out of swimming in the sea for another few years?

After defeating the original shark with a well placed shot to the gas cylinder, Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) is happy for summer revellers to return toAmityIsland. But when Brody suspects that a new great white has caused the deaths of two divers and a water skier, Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) chooses to ignore his warnings. Fired from his post for the over-zealous protection of beaches, Brody must watch on in horror as evidence piles up to suggest a hungry beast is in the water once more.

Judged on its own, Jaws II is an entertaining watch that has kept livewithfilm distant from any large spaces of water ever since. Creepy rather than scary, Jeannot Szwarc’s film stages progressively more ludicrous situations for the beast to indulge in its taste for humans. At points seeming like a brainstorming session on how to make a shark attack as intense an experience as possible, Jaws II sees the watery beast attacking boaters whilst on fire and sporting a classic ‘evil’ filmic facial disfigurement. Compared to Spielberg’s original though, this return of the shark feels a tad underwhelming. No doubt an impossible task, Jaws II often retreads old ground with little of the original’s flair. People will always run into the water and crooked mayors can be relied upon to disregard public safety in favour of monetary gains. Even though both films effectively present nature ‘red in tooth and claw’, the unrelenting beast of Jaws II seems a far more rubbery creation; much to the detriment of any tension, the second shark frequently emerges from the water to expose itself in all of its prosthetic glory. The next question on livewithfilm’s lips: how do the other additions to the shark franchise fare? Jaws 4 : The Revenge (1987) does boast Michael Cane…


2 Responses to “Jaws II (1978) or: Just when livewithfilm thought it was safe to go back in the blogosphere”

  1. Shrimper February 2, 2012 at 14:46 #

    I remember watching the first Shark attack with my son not so long ago, most suprised that Jaws had not aged so much as I have.

    Seeing it at the cinema in my youth my brother and I walked the length of the queue, waiting for the second showing, whispering that the ‘the shark did it’. Oh frabjous days, what jolly japes we got up to in the 70s!


  1. Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) or livewithfilm goes back to what it knows best… « livewithfilm - November 8, 2012

    […] the recurring wonders of the It’s Alive series or the ever diminishing rubber-toothed returns of Jaws II or IV: The Revenge? Whatever happened, livewithfilm could be safe in the knowledge that Michael […]

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