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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4. Jaws (More specifically, Jaws 2) - 1978 (USA)



June 20 marked the 35th anniversary of the release of Jaws (1975 for those of you not so good at maths), and there are many a tribute articles and blog entries floating around in commemoration. But where, dear readers, is the love for Jaws' younger, sluttier cousin?

If this movie franchise were women, Jaws 2 would most definitely be the slut of the family - there's nothing hidden or left to the imagination here. Just watch the interview with the director Jeannot Szwarc on the special edition DVD; his words are pretty much "You've all seen the first movie, you know there's a shark, why hide it anymore?" Obviously the art of suspense is lost on this guy.

To me though, Jaws 2 is the best film of the lot of them. It's got everything! Sexy young couples in the sand, a gross half eaten and severely burned body lurching out of the surf, plenty of blood and people getting thrashed around for what seems like just for the shark's funzies, and, best of all, a nice big shark BBQ by electrocution at the end. Plus, of course all the classic elements that made this movie franchise so good: the nefarious fin flipping out of the water, Roy Schneider returns to save the day, and that bone chilling couple of notes John Williams made so famous.

These days my love for the Jaws franchise and especially Jaws 2 is met with hearty laughter and "Oh Beth..." looks. And to you I say, whatevs. The 1978 audience obviously had a much better appreciation for no-holds-barred shark gore, as Jaws 2 did better at the box office opening weekend by $2 million than the original, and until Rocky II in 1979 was the highest grossing sequel of all time.

My suggestion: don't judge Jaws 2 by it's low-cut top and knee-high boots. You might actually enjoy the uninhibited fun. But, if you're still unsure, make a movie marathon of it and watch the original first. By the time you get to Jaws 2 you'll be aching for some good gore after the high suspense of Steven Spielberg's first. After all, if the Jaws movies were women, Jaws 2 is the kind of shameless movie that won't mind being sloppy seconds.

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