Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1978. Universal Pictures. Screenplay by Carl Gottlieb, Howard Sackler, based on characters created by Peter Benchley. Cinematography by Michael C. Butler. Produced by David Brown, Richard D. Zanuck. Music by John Williams. Production Design by Joe Alves. Costume Design by Bill Jobe. Film Editing by Steve Potter, Arthur Schmidt, Neil Travis.
Bruce is back, though we don’t know why: he was blown up at the end of the first film and there is no explanation for the waters of Amity Island once again being infested by the terror of a great white. I say this while ignoring the box office receipts pulled in by the 1975 original, at the time the most successful film ever made and the first ever to break the $100 million dollar mark. In this inferior sequel, an attempt is made to recapture the glory of the terrifying original but there are too many elements missing: Richard Dreyfuss and his chemistry with Roy Scheider for one (Scheider returns here, Dreyfuss, along with director Steven Spielberg, were delayed on Close Encounters Of The Third Kind), as well as Spielberg’s constantly nagging (and effective) sense of doom and terror that has been replaced here by an emphasis on horrific gore. The plot focuses more on the youngsters (again an obvious marketing ploy that the producers culled from the original film’s fanbase), and while I do not support young people being eaten alive by hungry sea mammals, there’s no denying that the more shrill and idiotic of them is quite pleasant to see disappear. It’s a lot grosser than the first one, and the shark eats more people, but it isn’t nearly as scary, building without the slightest tension towards an overly elaborate conclusion that comes much too late. Then again, it’s a masterpiece compared to the sequels that followed.