Plot: What’s it about?
Back in the 1970’s, sequels were not what they are today. Today it seems that every sub-par movie that has some semblance of an audience can have another two or three installments. But back then, there was only a “Part II” if there was really a demand for it. They mention in the documentary that Planet of the Apes was really the forerunner of the “sequel” thing. Jaws certainly had an audience, at the time, it was one of the top grossing movies ever. Stephen Spielberg had helped the original and wanted nothing to do with another installment, he felt that he had made the “defacto” movie and that it wasn’t to be messed with. Of course, the producers always seeing dollar signs, felt that if they didn’t make another part, then someone else would. And so, a few years after Jaws scared everyone out of the water, Jaws 2 opened up with the catch phrase “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…”. I’ll bet the beach resorts just loved that! Jaws 2 is essentially the same thing as Jaws, minus Richard Dreyfuss. Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) is still doing his thing, though there have been some accidents that lead him to believe that the shark attacks might start up again. The town of Amity has tried to forget the terror that happened a few years back and all the local residents are planning for another long, hot Summer that will hopefully bring the tourists into town.
Jaws 2 does concentrate more on the Chief and his family more so than the original. It seems that the original was so intent on scaring the hell out of you, it didn’t have time for any other issues. Not in a bad way, of course, as the original Jaws is among my favorite movies of all time. Brody once again is convinced that another killer, great white shark is circling and waiting to snack on some islanders. His wife is now working with the town to try and increase visitors to the town and hopefully making life for everyone else all that better. The poster for Jaws 2, as you might remember, has Jaws getting ready to attack a water-skier who is out for a ride. This scene actually takes place in the movie, and aside from it, most of the attacks seem to concentrate on a group of kids that are out having a good time…sailing. Brody’s sons, Michael and Shawn, are among the group of kids who are out on the sound trying to get back to shore in one piece. As the attacks increase, it becomes clear to Brody that another shark is indeed in the water, though the town (in their single minded way) doesn’t want to believe it. I mean really…didn’t they learn anything from before?!? Brody makes a fool of himself, not wanting to repeat what happened before, and is soon fired from his job for making a scene at the beach.
Odds are that if you’ve seen the first Jaws, and not many people haven’t, then you’ll have seen this one. After this one, the other Jaws movies seemed to just not be as good. I seem to recall “Jaws 3” in 3-D. Wow. But Jaws 2, I felt, was a worthy sequel, even if topping the original was next to impossible. Though plagued with production problems from the get go, be prepared for more of the same (da da dum…) music and a more elaborate score from John Williams. The kids make up an ensemble cast that features Keith Gordon (Back to School and Christine as an actor and Waking the Dead as a Director) who also is featured in one of the featurettes. Odds are that if you’re a fan of the first movie, then you’ll want to add this to your collection as well. Universal has done a good job with the disc, and it’s worth a purchase or a rental at the very least.
Video: How does it look?
The dark, murky waters of the ocean have never really been reference-quality material when it comes to looking at how good your new 4K disc’s transfer is. That said, there is a noticeable uptick in picture quality that’s both welcome (and expected). Aside from that, the image looks very good, many of the scenes appear very bright and vivid, and I have to say that I wasn’t expecting such a good, clean picture from this movie. Some indoor scenes appear to be murky and have some artifacting, but the print used appears to be clean and free of any major errors. Flesh tones seem to be accurate, but in some scenes the red tones appear to be pushed up a bit. That or the actors had spent too much time in the sun and had tans! On the whole, I have to say that I was impressed and this is certainly the best the film has ever looked.
Audio: How does it sound?
Jaws 2 is presented in a DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track. This, naturally, limits the range of sound, but you still hear the trademark score to let you know when Jaws will pop out of the water. Some of the dialogue has that “broken off” sound and you instantly know that it’s a movie at least twenty years old. But the screams sound great and everything else that’s associated with it as well. Though not the best soundtrack out there, this serves it’s purpose and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with it.
Supplements: What are the extras?
There’s nothing new here, what’s included are the same series of supplements found on the previously-released Blu-ray.
- Deleted Scenes – Four are included which really didn’t do much for the film. Or me.
- The Making of Jaws 2 – This 40 minute documentary entitled (aptly enough), The Making of Jaws 2 has some interviews with the cast and crew, this tells of the headaches it took to get the movie made as well as following a movie like Jaws. Essentially, it tells you everything you wanted to know about the movie and then some.
- Jaws 2: A Portrait by Actor Keith Gordon – Actor Keith Gordon who played Doug in the movie (and best-known for playing Jason Melon in Back to School) was the only one to go onto other films both as a actor and director. Gordon is kind of goofy, but it’s nice to see this supplement included.
- John Williams: The Music of Jaws 2 – John Williams, who composed the score for the movie, is an absolute marvel when it comes to music and I really liked watching this featurette on him, very interesting.
- The “French” Joke – Essentially this tells of how the title had to be changed in France to accommodate the translation. I suppose it was funny at the time, but if you like corny humor, then maybe this is up your alley.
- Storyboards – Pretty self-explanatory.
- Theatrical Trailers
The Bottom Line
Jaws 2 is no Jaws. It never has been and never will be. The PG rating was more in tune so “the masses” could see this whereas the original might have been a bit more limited. Whatever your opinions on this one, it’s never looked better than it does now.