A bit of a curious missing link between TMBTM's Jaws Sharksploitation Cut and LS' own Jaws 2: Amity Horror, Jaws III: Monster is a fairly faithful trimming-down of the original coked-out theme park horror flick with a few climactic twists thrown in to keep viewers off-balance. Still lots of fun, and impeccably assembled, but it doesn't quite reach the loving fidelity of Amity Horror's fanfix or the wild grindhouse heights of Sharksploitation.
On the other hand, the egregious Jaws IV is turned into a moody short film (on the second disc included here) called Ghost Shark that vastly improves that movie into a rumination on grief and aging... with killer sharks. Between that and the excellent behind-the-scenes commentaries, great cover art and extras galore, it's plenty enough to make you forget about the somewhat murky intentions behind the main feature, this is a wonderfully assembled fan edit package and very highly recommended.
Summer time is here, and if you're craving beaches and theme parks, it's a perfect time to live vicariously...through Jaws 3: Monster! My gold-standard is: does this replace or at least equal the original film? Well, since the original is a pretty schlocky threquel that seemed to be made with no thought to what it would look like NOT in 3-D...yes! This is definitely a better way to watch the film.
I agree with much of what Quickcut said in the first review for this:
Pluses- The trims to the story make it move a lot quicker. I can see where the original would've felt glacial. The 3-D effects would've looked horrible on video, so the replacement footage is very welcome. The ending of the film is famously cheesy, too, so the alternate ending here is refreshing. And I appreciated all the song additions, which fit the film so well that they're not even noticeable edits if you're not paying attention.
Minuses- As Quickcut said, the end goal of the film is a bit murky. LS said he wanted to lean into the B-movie quality of it, but honestly with films out there like Sharknado or Snakes On A Plane, it just feels like this doesn't go nearly far enough. Dennis Quad, Bess Armstrong, and Lea Thompson are all pretty good in this, and they're playing it straight. The story has a lot of ridiculous logic, often just using the monster(s) to move the plot, regardless of how real sea creatures operate. But the humans mostly make understandable decisions and have straightforward lines, so it doesn't have the delicious cheese that makes for a great bad movie like Army of Darkness or Killer Klowns From Outer Space. I also would've liked more footage and more buildup of the other Monster to bolster the film. There are also a lot of camera shots that were obviously intended for 3-D that are really impossible to remove from the film.
Extras- There are a plethora of extras included here, I think more than for any other fanedit I've seen! There are deleted/alternate scenes which show some interesting ideas that were dropped, some of which worked well (like the alternate opening 2) but mostly were happily abandoned for a better final edit.
There's a "Ghost Shark" short film that's essentially a micro fanedit of Jaws IV. It’s a bit odd because you’re steadily introduced to all these characters, and their goals, then we don’t really see any of them pay off. Instead, we see a stranger get eaten, then a new character show up and get attacked.The end. Is it any better than the actual Jaws IV? I don’t know, I heard that was horrible and the plot of it (and this one) is patently ridiculous, so I’ve got no urge to compare. The acting was surprisingly good in this, though!
There’s also a documentary that goes into depth on the making of the original film, its release and legacy, and the process of making the fanedit. This all could be seen as taking itself a bit too seriously, but it's very well done so I enjoyed it quite a bit. It gave me a new appreciation for the passion and effort which went into creating this fanedit.
I feel like the way to watch Jaws 3 would've been at a drive-in with 3-D glasses in 1983. Or at a retro 3-D theater now. Outside of that situation, the faneditor can only make it so good. I'm not nearly as passionate or forgiving of the film as he, but this fanedit is still enjoyable enough to watch once.
Really enjoyable movie. It's been years since seeing the original and I'd forgotten the majority of it. I definitely don't remember it being this fun. My overall impression of the original was that it was mind-numbingly boring, actually. There are still sections here which aren't that interesting, thanks to the original script, but these are usually helped along by a fun turn from Dennis Quaid. It's easier to scoot by those bits when the film's been tightened up this much, too.
I really enjoyed the additions from other films to pep this one up. They worked really well, didn't stand out too much (apart from maybe a couple of obvious CGI shots which were nevertheless graded and colour-corrected well enough to not jar with original footage) and added a lot of fun stuff. The only thing that I wasn't keen on was the radio DJ providing plot exposition. I assumed (even before watching the brilliant documentary on disc 2) that this was the fan editor right away. It really sticks out in the final scenes, too. In theory, it's a fantastic idea, but the performance doesn't work for me. The key sticking point is the British accent. It doesn't work given the setting and the inherent Americanness of the film. Other than that, the additions are amazing. Frankly, I didn't realise the extent of some of the editing until I saw the documentary, which is a testament to how well it's done.
The editor has taken a forgettable, dated chore of a sequel and turned it into a fun movie. I'll be recommending this one to friends. The extras are fantastic as well. Great touch.
This was an outstanding fan edit and very professional in it's overall presentation. The extra's on disc two were top draw.
Most of the new footage and shark effects were integrated well. I particularly liked when the squid first surfaces further enhanced with an excellent music cue. The ending is a huge improvement over the original and the same can be said about the rest of the film.
Only thing that didn't work for me was the opening credits montage which featured way too many CGI sharks for my taste and simply went on too long. Personally I prefer the underwater shots as used in the originals where it's left to the music to set the scene and nothing is shown.
The video quality wasn't particularly good however I believe this was mostly a result of the source material. In any case the new footage was downgraded to match perfectly.
Overall this edit is highly recommended and deserves all the accolades it's received!
A definite improvement on a really bad movie. Like the new B movie elements added with the new squid ending. Thank God for the removal of the tacky 3d effects of the original. Excellent soundtrack. Love the extras on the second disk... Love the "Ghost Shark" short. Fun edit!