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.
LastSurvivor is a faneditor whose work I respect and enjoy. So when I read about his plans for Jaws 3 I realized how passionate he was about the project and I realized I was gonna have to buy Jaws 3 so I could see this edit. So my Jaws 3 dvd is still wrapped in plastic and will probably remain so.
As usual I didn’t read any other reviews before writing this. The edit itself, excellent on the technical end. Listening to some of LS’s commentary helped fill in the details on a lot of the hard work he had to do on this edit. I was particularly impressed with the audio work on the opening scene, and I also thought the instance of filtering what was originally a day scene and making it look like night. I honestly wouldn’t have known had I not listened to the commentary. Nice touch with making yourself the DJ! If I ever need a voice over actor I know who to hire.
The movie itself, I didn’t really enjoy it that much, but that’s just me. The new ending was extremely creative though. However I did really enjoy Ghost Shark. Cool closing credits.
The documentary was great and is probably my favorite part of the whole edit. I followed the In-the-Works thread on a regular basis and know how time consuming it was to put this special feature together. Very interesting to hear all the training the actors went through. The tank that they built to film the underwater scenes was cool. I was surprised to learn that so many of the actors in the film were/are embarrassed by their involvement.
These special features definitely raised the bar on what a fanedit release can be. So well done.
Because I didn’t really enjoy the main edit (through no fault of the editor, everyone has different preferences) I rate this an 8/10.