After a long absence on home video, Universal releases the third adventure of Bruce the Shark on DVD, in a decent and colourful anamorphic transfer. A hybrid between the killer fish/disaster film, "Jaws 3-D" was produced during that brief window in the Eighties when big and small studios rolled out a wave of 3-D films; and when you think about it, "Jaws" is a perfect candidate for the gimmicky feature that throws Bruce and assorted body parts within the audience's grasp.
Though 'flat' on DVD, "Jaws 3" still retains some of the visual ticks that affect 3-D films when transferred to video without the dimensional effects: edges of some characters and objects are a bit soft in spots, the focus of a few wide shots are similarly soft, and the registration of colour layers aren't wholly firm; it's less distracting than actual 3-D DVDs (like Rhino's "The Bubble" and "Comin' At Ya!") that require offset red and blue layers to mimic the 3-D effect via Polaroid glasses, but you know some picture quality was lost when "Jaws 3-D" was dumbed down to 2-D.
That said, "Jaws 3-D" is still goofy fun for fans of the "Jaws" series, with a nice Pro Logic mix that kicks in during a few shock sequences. The score by composer (not director) Alan Parker makes occasional use of John Williams' famous theme, and the orchestral stabs are effectively mixed in Surround.
Along with "Twilight Zone: The Movie," "Jaws 3-D" marked a rare return to film for writer Richard Matheson, and the movie was the sole directorial credit of "Jaws" and "Jaws 2" Production Designer Joe Alves. The film's also worth a peek for a few fresh faces that subsequently became bigger stars, particularly Dennis Quaid (as Mike Brody, all grown up and still okay with fish), Leah Thompson, and character actor John Putch (as bro Sean Brody, who stays out of the water unless Lea Thompson gets real wet, and beckons most cheekily).
At the time of the film's release, Universal produced a TV special, "Jaws 3-D: Sharks Never Die," a standard hour-long promo piece that contained several interviews and behind-the-scenes material that would've been a perfect supplement to this disc. Even an interview with Alves - who spoke at length about his 3-D experience in Warner Bros.' production featurette on their "Dial M for Murder" DVD - would have added, um, some dimension to this otherwise bare bones release.
Note: fans and the curious can also find publicity stills, production notes and cast bios from the original press kit & souvenir book, which someone's archived at Wikipedia.
© 2003 Mark R. Hasan
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