Jaws: The Revenge
|Jaws: The Revenge|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joseph Sargent|
|Produced by||Joseph Sargent|
|Screenplay by||Michael de Guzman|
Mario Van Peebles
|Music by||Michael Small
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
92 minutes (Unrated cut)
|Box office||$51.8 million|
Jaws: The Revenge (also known as Jaws 4: The Revenge or simply Jaws 4), is a 1987 American horror thriller film directed by Joseph Sargent. It is the third and final sequel to Steven Spielberg's Jaws and the fourth and final installment in the Jaws franchise.
The film focuses on Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary), and her convictions that a shark is after her family, especially when a great white follows her to the Bahamas. Jaws: The Revenge was shot on location in New England and in the Bahamas, and completed on the Universal lot. Like the first two films, Martha's Vineyard was the location of the fictional Amity Island for the opening scenes. Although preceded by Jaws 3-D, Revenge ignores plot elements introduced in that film.
Jaws: The Revenge earned the least amount of money in the series and was panned by critics, with a 0% rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. It also had the shortest production window of the Jaws movies: While the other three films in the series took around two years to produce, Jaws: The Revenge was made in less than nine months. According to associate producer and production manager Frank Baur during the sequel's filming, "This (Revenge) will be the fastest I have ever seen a major film planned and executed in all of my 35 years as a production manager." It was nominated for seven Razzie awards and is considered to be one of the worst movies of all time.
On Amity Island, sheriff Martin Brody, the hero of two previous shark attacks, has died from a heart attack. His wife, Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary), thinks it was from fear of sharks. She now lives with Brody's younger and more obedient son Sean (Mitchell Anderson) and his fiancée Tiffany (Mary Smith). Sean works as a police deputy and is sent to clear a log from a buoy a few days before Christmas. As he does so, a massive great white shark bursts out of the water, severing his arm, then pulls him under the surface and kills him, sinking his boat in the process.
Ellen is convinced that the shark deliberately targeted Sean. She decides to go to the Bahamas to spend time with Brody's older son Mike (Lance Guest), his wife Carla (Karen Young), and their 5-year-old daughter Thea (Judith Barsi). At the islands, Ellen meets carefree airplane pilot Hoagie (Michael Caine). Mike—along with partners Jake (Mario Van Peebles), William, and Clarence—works as a marine biologist.
The shark that killed Sean unexpectedly appears and attempts to devour their boat. The crew decides to keep quiet about the shark's presence due to Ellen's attempts to convince Michael to find a job on land. Ellen becomes so obsessive that she starts having nightmares of being attacked by a shark. Then she starts getting psychic feelings when the shark is near or attacks. She and the shark seem to share a strange connection that is unexplained. The crew decides to attach a device to the shark that would track its heartbeat. Using chum to attract it, Jake stabs the device's tracking pole into the side of the shark. The next day, Mike is chased by the shark and barely manages to escape unharmed.
Thea goes on an inflatable banana boat with her friend Margaret and her mother. The shark attacks and kills Margaret's mother. Thea and Carla are traumatized following the attack. Ellen boards Jake's boat to track down the shark, intending to sacrifice herself to save the rest of her family. Mike and Jake are flown by Hoagie to search for Ellen and find the shark in pursuit of their boat (which Ellen has hijacked). During the search, Hoagie explains to Mike about Ellen's theory that the shark that killed Sean has followed her to the Bahamas to exact revenge on the Brodys. When they finally find her, Hoagie lands the plane on the water, ordering Mike and Jake swim to the boat as the shark drags the plane and Hoagie underwater.
Much to Ellen's disbelief, Hoagie survives. Mike was upset with Ellen because he was worried that she would have been killed by the shark. Jake and Mike hastily put together an explosive powered by electrical impulses. They begin blasting the shark with the impulses, which begin to drive it mad; it repeatedly jumps out of the water, roaring in pain. As Jake moves to the front of the boat, the shark lunges, giving it the chance to pull Jake under and maul him. He manages to get the explosive into the shark's mouth before he is taken underwater.
Mike continues to blast the shark with the impulses, causing it to leap out of the water again, igniting the bomb as Ellen rams the shark with the sailboat. The broken bowsprit impales the shark, and its corpse sinks to the bottom of the sea. Mike then hears Jake, seriously injured but alive, floating in the water. The four survive the harsh encounter and make it back to land. Hoagie then flies Ellen back to Amity Island.
- Roy Scheider as Martin Brody (Flashbacks only)
- Lorraine Gary as Ellen Brody
- Lance Guest as Michael Brody
- Mario Van Peebles as Jake
- Karen Young as Carla Brody
- Michael Caine as Hoagie Newcombe
- Judith Barsi as Thea Brody
- Lynn Whitfield as Louisa
- Mitchell Anderson as Sean Brody
- Jay Mello as Young Sean Brody
- Cedric Scott as Clarence
- Charles Bowleg as William
- Melvin Van Peebles as Mr. Witherspoon
- Mary Smith as Tiffany
- Edna Billotto as Polly
- Fritzi Jane Courtney as Mrs. Taft
- Cyprian R. Dube as Mayor
- Lee Fierro as Mrs. Kinter
- William E. Marks as Deputy Lenny
- Diane Hetfield as Mrs. Ferguson
Joseph Sargent produced and directed the film. He had worked with Lorraine Gary in 1969's The Marcus-Nelson Murders, for which he won his first Directors Guild of America Award. Indeed, Steven Spielberg cites this television movie, that later spawned Kojak, as motivation for casting Gary as Ellen Brody in the original Jaws film, besides the fact she was the wife of the studio's chief executive Sid Sheinberg at that time. In regards to Revenge, Gary remarked in an interview: "I made a good deal on this film, but I didn't make as good a deal as I would have if I weren't married to Sid."
In an interview with the Boston Herald, Sargent called Revenge "a ticking bomb waiting to go off. ... Sid Sheinberg (president of MCA Inc., parent company of Universal Pictures) expects a miracle – and we're going to make it happen." Sargent got a call from Sheinberg in late September 1986, asking him to direct the fourth Jaws movie with no script yet written. Said Sargent, "I didn't have time to laugh because Sid explained he wanted to do a quality picture about human beings. When he told me, 'It's your baby, you produce and direct,' I accepted." According to Sargent, Sheinberg "cut through all the slow lanes and got Jaws: The Revenge off and running."
Jaws: The Revenge was filmed on location in New England and in the Bahamas, and completed on the Universal lot. Like the first two films of the series, Martha's Vineyard was the location of the fictional Amity Island for the film's opening scenes. Production commenced on February 2, 1987, by which time "snowstorms had blanketed" the island for almost a month, "providing a frosty backdrop for the opening scenes." Because the sequel had to be ready for release by July of the same year and the mechanical shark had to be filmed in warmer temperatures, Martha's Vineyard only makes a cameo appearance in Revenge.
In addition to the 124 cast and crew members, 250 local extras were also hired. The majority of the extras were used as members of the local high school band, chorus and dramatic society that can be seen as the Brodys walk through the town, and during Sean's attack. A local gravestone maker produced 51 slabs for the mock graveyard used for Sean's funeral.
The cast and crew moved to Nassau in the Bahamas on February 9, beginning principal photography there the next day. Like the production of the first two films, they encountered many problems with varying weather conditions. The location did not offer the "perfect world" that the 38-day shoot required. Cover shots were filmed on shore and in interior sets. The film was shot in the Super 35 format.
The special effects team, headed by Henry Millar, had arrived at South Beach, Nassau on January 12, 1987, almost a month before principal photography commenced there. In the official press release, Millar says that when he got involved "we didn't even have a script... but as the story developed and they started telling us all what they wanted... I knew this wasn't going to be like any other shark anyone had ever seen."
The shark was to be launched from atop an 88-foot (27 m) long platform, made from the trussed turret of a 30-foot (9.1 m) crane, and floated out into Clifton Bay. Seven sharks, or segments, were produced.
Two models were fully articulated, two were made for jumping, one for ramming, one was a half shark (the top half) and one was just a fin. The two fully articulated models each had 22 sectioned ribs and movable jaws covered by a flexible water-based latex skin, measured 25 feet (7.6 m) in length and weighed 2500 pounds. Each tooth was half-a-foot long and as sharp as it looked. All models were housed under cover... in a secret location on the island.
The film company returned to Universal Studios to finish shooting on April 2. Principal photography was completed in Los Angeles on May 26. Millar's special effects team, however, remained in Nassau, completing second unit photography on June 4.
Cinematographer John McPherson also supervised the underwater unit, which was headed by Pete Romano. Whereas underwater photography was normally filmed with an anamorphic lens, requiring overhead lighting, Romano filmed these "sequences with Zeiss, a 35 mm super-speed lens, which allows the natural ambiance to come through on film." Additional underwater photography was completed in a water tank, measuring 50 feet (15 m) by 100 feet (30 m) across, and 17 feet (5.2 m) in depth, in Universal Studio's Stage 27. Also, a replica of Nassau's Clifton Bay and its skyline was created on the man-made Falls Lake on the studio backlot.
A television documentary, "Behind the Scenes with Jaws: The Revenge", was broadcast in the U.S. on July 10, 1987. Twenty-two minutes in length, it was written and directed by William Rus for Zaloom Mayfield Productions.
In the ending that was originally filmed, Ellen rammed the shark with Mike's boat, mortally wounding it. The shark then causes the boat to break apart with its death contortions, forcing the people on the boat to jump off to avoid going down with it. Test audiences disapproved of this ending. A new ending was shot with the shark getting stabbed with the bow sprit and then exploding; and with Jake being found wounded but alive. According to Orange Coast, the magazine of Orange County, reshooting the ending prevented Michael Caine from collecting his Academy Award for Hannah and Her Sisters. One version can be seen on cable broadcasts, while the other version is featured on the home releases.
The new ending had left many audiences confused. In his scathing review, Roger Ebert says that he cannot believe "that the director, Joseph Sargent, would film this final climactic scene so incompetently that there is not even an establishing shot, so we have to figure out what happened on the basis of empirical evidence."
No reference is made to the character development or events depicted in Jaws 3-D. In its predecessor, Mike is an engineer for SeaWorld, whereas here he is a marine research scientist. Sean is not associated with the police force in Jaws 3-D, and there is no mention of their respective partners. One of the Universal Studios press releases for Jaws: The Revenge omits Jaws 3-D by referring to Jaws: The Revenge as the "third film of the remarkable Jaws trilogy." However, even though Revenge removes Jaws 3-D from series continuity, the underwater chase scene between Mike and the shark in Revenge was lifted from an early screenplay draft of Jaws 3-D. While Jaws 2 is presumably still part of series continuity, no specific events from that sequel are mentioned by the characters and none of the footage from Jaws 2 is used for flashbacks in Jaws: The Revenge.
Lorraine Gary portrayed Ellen Brody in the first two films. In a press release, Gary says Jaws: The Revenge' is "also about relationships which... makes it much more like the first Jaws." This was Gary's first film since appearing in Spielberg's 1941 eight years earlier, as well as being her final film role.
The press release proposes that the character "had much more depth and texture than either of the other films was able to explore. The promise of further developing this multi-dimensional woman under the extraordinary circumstances... intrigued Gary enough to lure her back to the screen after a lengthy hiatus." Although the film was always going to be centered on Gary, Roy Scheider was offered a cameo. If he had accepted it, it was his Martin Brody character, rather than Sean Brody, who would have been killed by the shark at the film's beginning.
Gary is the only principal cast member from the original film who returned, although Lee Fierro made a brief cameo as Mrs. Kintner (the mother of a boy killed in Jaws), as did Fritzi Jane Courtney, who played Mrs. Taft, one of the Amity town council members in both Jaws and Jaws 2. Cyprian R. Dube, who played Amity Selectman Mr. Posner in both Jaws and Jaws 2, is upgraded to mayor following the death of Murray Hamilton, who played Larry Vaughan, the mayor.
Gary states that one of the reasons she was attracted to the film was the idea of an on-screen romance with Academy Award winner Michael Caine. Caine had previously starred in another Peter Benchley-adapted flop, The Island).
The first day we were to work together I was nervous as a school girl. We were shooting a Junkanoo Festival with noisy drums and hundreds of extras. But he never faltered in his concentration and he put me completely at ease. It was all so natural. He's an extraordinary actor – and just a nice human being.
Caine had mixed feelings about both the production and the final version. He thinks that it was a first for him to be involved with someone his own age in a film. He compares the relationship between two middle-aged people to the romance between two teenagers. Although disappointed not to be able to collect an Academy Award because of filming in the Bahamas, he was glad to be involved in the film. In the press release, he explains that "it is part of movie history... the original was one of the great all-time thrillers. I thought it might be nice to be mixed up with that. I liked the script very much." However, Caine later claimed: "I have never seen it [the film], but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific!" In his 1992 autobiography What's it All About?, he says that the film "will go down in my memory as the time when I won an Oscar, paid for a house and had a great holiday. Not bad for a flop movie."
Lance Guest played Ellen's eldest son Mike. Guest had dropped out of his sophomore year at UCLA to appear in another sequel to a horror classic; Halloween II. Karen Young played his wife Carla. She commended the director's emphasis upon characterization.
Mario Van Peebles played Jake, Michael's colleague. His father, Melvin Van Peebles, has a cameo in the film as Nassau's mayor. Mitchell Anderson appeared as Ellen's youngest son, Sean. Lynn Whitfield played Louisa, and stunt performer Diane Hetfield was the victim of the banana boat attack.
|Jaws: The Revenge|
|Soundtrack album by Michael Small|
The score was composed and conducted by Michael Small, who had previously provided music for Klute, Marathon Man (both of which featured Jaws star Roy Scheider) and The Parallax View. John Williams' famous shark motif is integrated into the score, although Small removed the Orca theme. Soundtrack.net says that "Small's score is generally tense, and he comes up with a few new themes of his own."
The film also contained the songs "Nail it to the Wall", performed by Stacy Lattisaw, and the 1986 hit "You Got It All", performed by The Jets. Unlike the preceding entries in the series, the soundtrack was not released at the same time as the film, although Small appears to have mixed tracks for a release. However, it was given a promotional release in 2000 on Audio CD and Compact Cassette.
Reviews for the soundtrack album were more favorable than for the film. Indeed, writing for Film Score Monthly, AK Benjamin says that "on a CD, Small's material fares better since it's not accompanied by the film." Dismissing the film as "engagingly unwatchable", he says that "Small certainly gave Revenge a lot more than it deserved – and this a much better score than Deep Blue Sea... whatever that means." Benjamin portrays Small as 'knowing' and his work as being superior to the film.
The hysterical coda tacked onto the end of "Revenge and Finale" is almost worth the price of the disc, as it no doubt sums up Small's opinion of the film. It's sad that the great Michael Small was delegated utter crap like Jaws the Revenge in the late '80s – and even worse that he never found his way back to the material that he deserves.
Upon Small's death in 2003, The Independent wrote that the "composer of some distinction ... had the indignity of working on one of the worst films of all time". Like most reviews of the soundtrack, the article criticizes the film whilst saying "Small produced a fine score in the circumstances, as if anyone noticed."
- "Main Title"
- "The Bahamas"
- "Moray Eel"
- "Alive Or Dead"
- "The Shark"
- "Revenge & Finale"
|July 1, 1987|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
The novelization was written by Hank Searls, who also adapted Jaws 2. While Searls' Jaws 2 novelization was based on an earlier draft of that film and was significantly different from the finished film, his Jaws: The Revenge novelization sticks fairly close to the final film, although it does contain some extra subplots. The novel contains a subplot in which Hoagie is a government agent and he transports laundered money. The only reference to this in the film is when Michael Brody asks "What do you do when you’re not flying people?" to which Hoagie replies, "I deliver laundry." In Searls' novel, the character of Jake is ultimately killed by the shark; Jake was originally supposed to die in the film, but the script was changed to allow him to survive.
The novelization suggests that the shark may be acting under the influence of a vengeful voodoo witch doctor (who has a feud with the Brody family), and the shark's apparent revenge has magical implications. Therefore, the witch doctor is the 'revenge' and the shark is his tool. This also explains the strange psychic connection Ellen and the shark have with each other. The plot was deleted as it strayed too far away from the plot of the killer shark. However, at one point in the theatrical version, Michael Brody says, "Come on, sharks don’t commit murder. Tell me you don’t believe in that voodoo."
Searls' novelization presents a continuity that combines elements from Peter Benchley's Jaws novel as well as the Jaws film series. The novelization makes a reference to Ellen Brody's affair with Matt Hooper, a subplot that exists in Benchley's novel but is entirely absent from the film adaptation.
Jaws: The Revenge was panned by critics. It has a rare 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 31 reviews with an average rating of 2 out of 10. The critical consensus states "Illogical, tension-free, and filled with cut-rate special effects, Jaws 4 - The Revenge is a sorry chapter in a once-proud series." Gary did get nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress for her performance, but also a Razzie. It was rated by Entertainment Weekly as one of "The 25 Worst Sequels Ever Made". It was voted number 22 by readers of Empire magazine in their list of The 50 Worst Movies Ever.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a rare zero stars, writing in his review that it "is not simply a bad movie, but also a stupid and incompetent one." He lists several elements that he finds unbelievable, including that Ellen is "haunted by flashbacks to events where she was not present." Ebert joked that Michael Caine could not attend the ceremony to collect his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor earned for Hannah and Her Sisters because of his shooting commitments on this film, but may not have wanted to return to the shoot if he had left it.
Many scenes are considered implausible, such as the shark swimming from a New York island to the Bahamas (approx. 2000 km) in less than three days, or following Michael through an underwater labyrinth, as well as the implication that a creature was seeking revenge. The Independent pointed out that "the film was riddled with inconsistencies [and] errors (sharks cannot float or roar like lions)". The special effects were criticized, especially some frames of the shark being speared by the boat's prow. Also, the mechanisms propelling the shark can be seen in some shots.
Within his otherwise lukewarm review, Derek Winnert ends with "the Bahamas backdrops are pretty and the shark looks as toothsome as ever." Richard Scheib also praises the "beautiful above and below water photography" and the "realistic mechanical shark," although he considers "the melodrama back on dry land... a bore." Critics commented upon the sepia-toned flashbacks to the first film. A scene with Michael and Thea imitating each other is interspersed with shots from a similar scene in Jaws of Sean (Jay Mello) and Martin Brody. Similarly, the shark's destruction contains footage of Martin Brody aiming at the compressed air tank, saying "Smile, you son of a ...," The New York Times comments "nothing kills a sequel faster than reverence... Joseph Sargent, the director, has turned this into a color-by-numbers version of Steven Spielberg's original Jaws."
Awards and nominations
|Saturn Award||Best Actress||Lorraine Gary||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Actress||Nominated|
|Worst Actor||"Bruce the shark"||Nominated|
|Worst Supporting Actor||Michael Caine||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay||Michael de Guzman||Nominated|
|Worst Picture||Joseph Sargent||Nominated|
|Worst Visual Effects||Henry Millar||Won|
The increasing number of sequels in the Jaws series was spoofed in the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II (which was produced by Steven Spielberg and featured Jaws 3 star Lea Thompson), when Marty McFly travels to the year 2015 and sees a theater showing Jaws 19, (fictionally directed by Max Spielberg) with the tagline "This time it's REALLY personal!". This alludes to the tagline of Jaws: The Revenge: "This time it's personal." After being "attacked" by a promotional volumetric image of the shark outside the theatre, Marty says "the shark still looks fake."
Jaws The Revenge was the first film of the series to be released on DVD. It was released on Region 1 as a 'vanilla' disc by Goodtimes, featuring Spanish and French subtitles. The feature is presented in a non-anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen transfer. The soundtrack was presented in Dolby Digital 4.1, with one reviewer saying that the "stereo separation is great with ocean waves swirling around you, the bubbles going by during the scuba scenes, and Hoagie's airplane flying around behind you." The same reviewer praised the image transfer of Mcpherson's "extremely well photographed" cinematography. The film was re-released on DVD by Universal on June 3, 2003 in an anamorphic transfer.
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