Picks and Pans Review: Jaws 3-D

updated 08/15/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/15/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Some fishermen think all they have to do is toss a hook overboard to land a big one. The producers of this sequel once-removed obviously figured they just had to toss their fish into the water to come up with a huge catch at the box office. Sorry, fellas; it won't float. Well, actually, it floats all right, but the giant shark in this case—it's a 35-footer—doesn't swim especially well. Maybe the mechanical monster that plays the shark in Jaws sequels is getting old (the fins are always the first to go). Or perhaps it decided to try for a more meaningful interpretation of the role. But this great white shark doesn't even motor fast enough to catch up with a bikini-wearing cutie on water skis. It just trolls leisurely along until it has a victim cornered, then gulps him down. Not much else happens. Dennis {Breaking Away) Quaid and Bess {High Road to China) Armstrong think they have the shark penned up in Sea World (the Florida marine center, playing itself), but the shark seems to feel it has dropped into a fast-food establishment and nibbles on a few people-burgers. It takes them without cheese, but given the caliber of acting in this film, it can't help but get a few bites of ham. Quaid, as chief engineer of the park, is more nondescript than heroic, while Armstrong is on the gushy side as a marine biologist so conscientious that moments after the shark has swallowed two of her colleagues, her only concern is that her dolphins have survived. Lou Gossett, playing the park owner, affects a terrible ghetto accent, perhaps hoping he won't be recognized. Director Joe Alves, the original Jaws production designer, at least kept the 3-D technology in check; except for the odd severed limb floating out at the audience, the extra dimension is hardly noticeable. Jaws 2 was a sorry enough sequel; this really wears out the idea's welcome. The fearsome shark now seems more like the fish who came to dinner. (PG)

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