Jaws 2 (1978)

Released: June 16, 1978. Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc. Starring: Roy Schneider, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton. Runtime: 1h 56 min.

The greatness that is the original Jaws is a tough act to follow. Jaws 2 is easily the best of all of the sequels, but it’s not an impressive feat. This takes place four years after the original film as a new shark terrorizes Amity Island and Chief Brody (Roy Schneider) again protects the citizens. This time, the citizens he’s protecting aren’t interesting. The only ones you might care about are Chief Brody’s sons Mike (Mark Gruner) and Sean (Marc Gilpin). Even then, I didn’t care much.

Half of Mike’s friends look the same and have little characterization – I thought of two characters as Sideburns Nerd and No Sideburns Nerd – and the only one of the teens that’s easy enough to differentiate is his buddy Andy (Gary Springer), the closest thing to the movie’s comic relief. Mike also gets set up with someone’s cousin named Jackie (Donna Wilkes). But I didn’t care about this romance stuff or their teenage shenanigans, I just wanted sharks.

There’s an argument that this film just makes it more about the shark rather than establishing secondary characters, so that’s kind-of fine because even if it did give the characters more to work with, I don’t think I would have been interested in them anyway. They’re just so dry.

Jaws 2 in reviewThe writing’s not great, either. There’s a moment where one of the teens is parasailing and the shark stalks underneath. I was getting annoyed waiting for the shark to eat him. The character turned out to be Mike and since the film didn’t establish that well, I ended up being annoyed by the scene rather than feeling the suspense that should have been there if we knew it was Mike.

Roy Schneider doesn’t look interested as Chief Brody this time, but that’s probably because he just didn’t want to do this film. He’s a great character in the first film, but he’s my least favourite of the three main characters – out of Chief Brody, Robert Shaw’s Quint and Richard Dreyfuss’ Matt Hooper – if I had to choose. Brody’s wife Ellen (Lorraine Gary) returns for this film and is a good support system, but this time Brody doesn’t have anyone he can banter or play off of, which worked so well in the first film.

I like the scene seeing what the events of the first film did to him as a person when he thought he saw a shark in the water – when it was just a sea of bluefish – and he causes a huge scene. It’s believable and is what makes some of the first half like The Chief Who Cried Shark. Though, it feels more like a tool for characters just not to trust his judgment instead of fully diving into the fears he still feels because of his encounter. He warns everyone including the mayor (Murray Hamilton), who like the first film, doesn’t listen.

It goes through the motions and most of the first half bored me. There was just nowhere near the same amount of suspense. That has to do with the writing – but the score by John Williams still rocks during the shark attacks. There’s just a lot of waiting between shark attacks in the film’s first half and I was waiting the whole time for consistent shark action. I finally got that in the film’s third act – which is decent fun – but this is so boring I just wasn’t interested by that point.

Score: 40/100

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Grease (1978)

Grease

Released: June 16, 1978Director: Randal KleiserStars: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard ChanningRuntime: 110 min.

Over the summer, good girl Sandy and greaser Danny have a great summer romance. When the school season comes back in session, Sandy has moved to the same school as Danny, Rydell High (if there was a drinking game for everytime they say the school name, you’d be plastered within the first fifteen minutes). She joins the crew called ‘The Pink Ladies,’ a female group of girls who wear all pink. Danny’s in a group called the T-Birds. When Sandy sees that Danny isn’t the same sweetheart that she fell in love with over the course of the summer, their chances to rekindle their romance doesn’t seem so likely.

Grease is a stylish musical based in 1950’s California that has an above average romance story and great catchy tunes.
The actors in this are good, especially Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.

The songs make you want to do a little jig, and you can sing along to them endlessly.

While it is great, it isn’t perfect, because it is a bit lengthy for a musical. Also, the actors are in their 20’s and are playing high school students. Because of this, there’s a sort of lack of realism.
Though, it does use its fairly simple plot of young love to its advantage. The message that it offers is not to be fake and just be yourself (well, at least that’s how I interpret it).

It’s all sure to put a smile on your face and just give you a great feeling after it’s all over with, you’ll be singing the songs days after watching, especially if you really enjoyed the film.
It really leaves a wonderful lasting expression, it is entertaining and sure is charming. For a musical, it really is worth checking out.

Score80/100