harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,
harsens_rob
harsens_rob

Movie Review: JAWS 2, Part II of III



Spoilers are present.

Scene 28: At the lighthouse a bit later, Tina and Eddie are goofing around, while their friends are all hanging out on the beach.
Blah-blah...

Tina and Eddie find an Orca with huge, apparent bite marks in it.


Commentary: And, yet, despite only being a few dozen yards away from them... no one smelled the thing rotting on the beach. I feel like I must mention, too, that this scene is actually only here as a "take that" to an overblown and ridiculous film (which I haven't decided about buying anyway, yet) called ORCA. In that movie, it opened with a "take that" to JAWS by having the Orca of the title kill a Great White. This is the payback response by the producers. I actually like this scene though, because it gives us an idea that the shark is being a shark... i.e. it isn't just trying to survive on Amity Islanders, which is a nice touch - whatever the actual purpose.





Scene 29: Later, at the site of the beached Orca - Brody broaches the idea that they have another Great White in the waters of Amity Island. Doctor Elkins isn't able to confirm that a shark attacked the Orca though, because it had been drifting for day before its beaching. She tells Brody that every little nibbler in the sea has taken a share.

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Martin tries to be convincing in his arguments that it looks obvious that a bigger fish took a bite out of this big fish (which he's corrected on, Orcas are mammals), but he impatiently wants the Doctor to confirm it was a shark. Which she cannot conclusively do at this time.

He worries that if a shark was killed in the waters off Amity, another shark could....

She deadpans at him that sharks don't take things personally.

In the meantime, he grounds Mike due to his extreme worry, but doesn't have any problems on sending Mike's Friend Who Is A Joker with Mike's boat back to the main island.


Commentary: Now, how could they not take this opportunity to kill Mike's Friend, etc. off (or at least have him disappear mysteriously) to give Martin angsty guilt?

Easily, apparently. After all, this movie isn't about Chief Brody.



Scene 30: Okay, here is where I start to resent the movie more than a little bit, because it is here that Chief Martin Brody begins to be painfully undermined by the script. We've now seen that even the Orca attack cannot be shown to be a shark and that there  hasn't been any bodies, fin sightings, or any physical evidence at all to conclude that they have a Great White return. This does not stop Martin from confronting Mayor Vaughn and all but concluding there is a shark... and doing so abrasively.

Since Vaughn had already spoken to Doctor Elkins and therefore knows that the whale is inconclusive evidence, at best, he's less than receptive to another summer being damaged by another shark and tells Brody so. It also doesn't help that Brody is reporting two people missing, where there is four. Maybe if he'd gathered up all of the circumstantial evidence - what very little bit there is - while having his facts straight, he may have been able to requisition a few more boat patrols for a few weeks just to be sure.

But since he's caught trying to present 'facts' not in evidence, he's shot down. It's hard not to take Vaughn's side on this one.


Scene 31: Later on a blustery day, Martin is driving off his frustration beachside. He spots a huge beam of wood coming in toward the beach and stops. The beam of wood has teleporting powers, though, so at first it seems like it's stuck just off shore... before it suddenly moves out further from the beach as soon as Martin's toes touch the water.

He has to go in after it. Obvs, he is extremely reluctant. He wades in to the JAWS theme and makes it to the board, but when he grabs it, it flips over. He's startled by Boat Driver's body, which has been burned to extremity and is charred to the board.


Commentary: I like the way that this is filmed while Brody is on shore... it's humorous as he tries to coax the board in by waving at it, and then looking up and down the beach for somebody else to go in after it. But, the JAWS theme here is a real cheat.


Scene 32: Now, Brody takes another step toward unhinged, alas. Apparently finding the woman's body (even sans any evidence of actual shark attack) is so trauma inducing that he's taken to preparing cyanide tipped bullets for his revolver. In his office. Hendricks interrupts him, and he's sort-of caught doing suspicious things, but he's able to hide the bullets and poison. In conversation with Hendricks, he realizes he needs to get home.

Also, for some reason, they still haven't gotten the photographs from the diver's camera developed -- even though you'd think that would be a no brainer as part of the investigation into their accident/disappearance out in the channel. But, then I'm not a policeman/detective/Chief of Police.


Scene 33: When Martin gets home, Ellen is speaking into the phone in a raised voice, apparently to someone with a bad line. When she hangs up, just as he's come in, she tells him that Matt is off on his Antarctic Research junket (it was Matt Hooper's dream sail, which he postponed because of the Great White issue in the first movie) and so we won't be getting him in to assist Brody this time out.


Scene 34: Martin goes into the bathroom to wash up, and badly hide his poison bullets in the bathtub. Ellen notes his demeanor and asks if he'd like to talk, but he puts her off that it's just routine police work.

They're interrupted before she can probe further on why he'd be calling Matt Hooper for a chat by the kids returning upstairs. Martin tells Mike that he's beached for the rest of the summer. He orders the boat out of the water, and further informs Mike that he'll be busy with a job painting for the rest of the summer over Ellen's mild protests.


Scene 35: The following day, we see people enjoying the Amity beaches. Remembering Alex, we begin to size up the crowd for potential victims. Our potentials sweep goes on and on and on. Finally we follow a boy's kite upward and then focus on the shark tower, where Brody is personally watching for any dark shapes off shore.


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Scene 36: Len, Ellen and the Mayor are also on the beach, showing off the boardwalk and beaches as part of an investment pitch for the condominiums. They each in turn become aware of Brody up in the tower. A little girl also recognizes Brody up there, but Len and the Mayor categorically deny that there is shark activity in Amity waters. The Mayor is worried about the Chief, but Peterson - not having been part of the first shark attack panic - is just irritated.

The motel-owner-woman from the first film happens along Ellen and mentions that Martin has been there all morning. Ellen smiles it off.


Commentary: Again, if you're bringing back townspeople from the first movie, wouldn't it have been a good idea to deal a little bit with their feelings of paranoia and lasting emotional impacts from the first JAWS. We don't. At all.


Meanwhile, Mike is all "my life is such a bummer" at being stuck painting concession stands while Larry, Jr., Cap-Guy, Screeching-Mimi and Some-Girl race by on Larry, Jr.'s boat whooping and hollering.


Commentary: And, this scene is so 'who cares', that they couldn't even establish that Springy-Kinky Hair is the girl on the boat... even though she's Screeching-Mimi's cousin and is the one she's there visiting in the first place. Who the hell is random girl?! Why is she there with Cap-Guy's arm around her, when we won't see any indication later that he has a girlfriend, or anything? Where is Springy-Kinky Hair and why is her visiting cousin ditching her to go sailing with Springy-Kinky Hair's friends?


Scene 37: Brody, from his 'observation platform', spots a dark shadow in the water close enough to the swimmers to be of concern. Now, here's where Brody falls apart.

Despite no evidence of a fin, and the fact that the shape doesn't look very shark-like, and that he can't identify what it is - he panics. Ringing the bell of the tower, he starts shouting for everyone to get out of the water, as they all look around in confusion.

But, he really does it good, when he comes bounding out of the shark tower and draw his gun, causing a beachwide panic. In front of his boss. Then, just to show us that he's really gone (even though later we're supposed to take his side), he starts firing at the dark shape out in the ocean... with those poison bullets (which otherwise serve no purpose in the story -- they won't ever be used again, and certainly not against the shark).

One of the lifeguards on the beach yells at him that his 'shark' is just a school of bluefish.

Oops. He tries to tell everyone that it's all okay and they can get back into the water. Yeah, shockingly, they all don't return. And, I don't think that the condo-customers are going to be buying a unit, either.


Commentary: I hate this scene. I hate it for the over-the-topness. I hate it for critically undermining Brody in such a humiliating way (although I really like the aftermath scenes with Ellen and Hendricks). I hate that we don't get any reaction from the townsfolk outside of the towncouncil, even though they've been through the same thing that Brody has gone through with the horror of that summer only a few years ago.


Scene 38: Brody is sitting in his office, ruminating on his huge eff-up, when the phone rings through with a call from the local photographer shop. The pictures have been developed from that camera of the divers'. Martin rushes over there to see what has been found in them.


Scene 39: Except, no. Instead, a few of the photos have been developed showing nothing much except that the divers had been at the Orca. For some reason, Phil decided he had to call the Chief to let him know this, rather than... say, developing all of the pictures before calling the Chief of Police to come and get them. Okay.

Phil tells Brody that he has some more ready to go into solution, which he proceeds to do. The first photo in the second batch has a vague shape, which Brody sees the shark in. He doesn't wait to see if there is anything else on the role of film that might bolster his case (and one would hope there isn't because the rest of those pictures are never mentioned), but grabs this first photo and rushes off.


Commentary: And you thought I hated the beach freak-out scene.


Scene 40: Brody marches into the closed-door meeting where the councilmen are no doubt discussing his job fate in the aftermath of his wild beach shooting. He yanks out the picture that could be an eye... maybe... or could be, well, anything really. For some reason, he's shocked that he's the only one to immediately identify that the eye and vague bulk is an extreme close-up of a shark. There is much consternation and yelling, with Peterson - who is also on the Council - showing disdain for him.

The others, including the Mayor and the motel-owner-woman is at least partially sympathetic (the fourth and fifth members may be returners from JAWS as well -- I can't be sure without going back through the town's people of the first film, and that's much too much work... they seem vaguely familiar, though).

They decide to go into Larry's office for a closer inspection of the vague photo, leaving Brody in the main meeting room. It is obvious that everyone thinks he's seeing things that aren't there.


Commentary: It is impossible not to take the council's side in this one, too. Brody may be seeing a shark, but the photograph isn't clearly showing anything. But, what really irritates me is that motel-owner-woman and the two townsmen should at least be showing some reluctance not to believe him. They lost fellow islanders in the first series of attacks and they should want to give Martin the benefit of the doubt, even as Peterson is denouncing him. They should be able to at least admit that the 'eye' could be what Martin claims it is, and they should be requesting that the police troll the waters around Amity for any further signs of shark activity; although, the Chief has to at least be suspended indefinitely during this investigation for firing his weapon at a school of bluefish. It wouldn't be credible for them to leave him in charge after that display. But, instead, everybody follows the condo-developers lead like lemmings. At while we're talking about the townsfolk -- where the hell are the fisherman?

Don't you think that they'd be a part of the discussion at some point? Perhaps to add credence to Martin's unproven theory about the shark by sharing that fish stocks are down? Or perhaps having a fisherman or two disappear (remember Ben Gardner)? SOMETHING from the blue collar contingent, who also lost their own during JAWS? No.

No one is on Martin's side, at all. And why would they be, when the movie has gone out of its way to make the Chief look like he's gone shark-bonkers? I just hate all of the wasted potential in this story for the ham-handed way they sidelined and humiliated Brody.



Scene 41: Meanwhile, at the local bar, Mike's friends talk to him about his father's freakout. Plans are made among Our Gang to spend the following day at The Lighthouse, including Mike despite being grounded from sailing. Screeching-Mimi is there... again, no sign of cousin Springy-Kinky Hair.

She joins Mike as Our Gang discuss the next day's plans in the background. Screeching-Mimi tells Mike she'd like to go with him. Mike admits he isn't sure he can really go, because of that beaching thing. She slyly suggests he not listen to his parents and then makes plans to meet him at the dock the following morning.


Scene 42: Back at the Brody home, Martin dejectedly arrives.


Commentary: There is a nice shoutout to JAWS, in that a planter near the front door is actually one of the barrels that Martin floated in on with Hooper.


Brody seems a bit drunk, which is confirmed a few moments later after he gives the planter a long, forlorn stare -- no doubt wishing Matt was there to back him up with the obstinate (although for completely justified reasons) council.

In the house, Ellen and Hendricks are talking. The mood is subdued. We come to find out that Martin has been fired (which... again, suspension sure, but fired... with no doubt that there isn't a shark by Vaughn, townsmen and motel-owner-woman, after the hell they'd just been through a few short years ago... hmmm), with Hendricks replacing him as Chief.

Martin is a bit boorish and Hendricks is extremely uncomfortable and expresses that he doesn't want Brody's job. Ellen escorts Hendricks to the door and cradles Martin on the sofa, as he laments that he's never been fired before and isn't sure how to handle it.


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Commentary: This scene is really nicely done, and I like Lorraine's performance here, especially. But, unfortunately, none of this has any actual consequences when it comes to battling the shark. It's still Brody vs. Killer Animal with Hendricks quickly shoved out of the way, despite being the official in charge, now.


Scene 43: The following early morning, Ellen and Martin are sleeping (in a nice touch, he's still fully clothed in his uniform) as Mike and Sean get up. Mike tries to sneak out to go sailing, but Sean threatens to wake his parents and tell them, so he is able to blackmail his way into being allowed to go to.


Commentary: This is also a cute scene between the brothers, and it is again a detriment that the Brody kids aren't given much more focus. I have a really hard time understanding how Mike could be written out for the entire last, 'thrilling' portion of the movie! Except, that I do know this film was very troubled during the making, but still... it's just... so *wrong* that Mike Brody doesn't end up doing anything or being there at the end of the film.

Also, it's about here that I am always desperately wondering why no one has been attacked in so long. While Brody is going through all of this, would it have been so hard to place an attack sequence on the other side of the island?



Scene 44: On the docks, Our Gang straggle in or otherwise prepare for their morning of daysailing (and it's all unnecessary and boring). Springy-Kinky Hair and Screeching-Mimi actually arrive together, as if they're actually cousins for a change. Blah-blah, lots of stupid crap -- let's move on.

The real detail here is that Mopey-Glasses gets Springy-Kinky Hair to go in his boat, so thank goodness his romantic subplot is snipped... sort of... I guess. Whatever.


Scene 45: Sail, sail. Our Gang passes by a group of divers going in for lobsters. They're led by Dive Instructor Guy, and we briefly leave Our Gang behind to follow this new group into the drink.


Commentary: I am stuck between groaning because the pacing is starting to drag a lot and being hopeful of a JAWS-caused slaughter... *spoiler* no slaughtering takes place.


Scene 46: Scuba-scuba.

Shark comes out of the kelp, startling Dive Instructor Guy and he races back to the surface where he gets the bends and can't tell anyone about the ginourmous Great White.


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Except is all takes place with more padding and is therefore slower than that. And, the only blood we get is from Dive Instructor Guy's nose.


Commentary: This movie needed far more kills, or a much shorter run time. This thing is running nearly two hours for no reason. We could easily have done the story - as filmed - in 80 minutes, and it would have been nice if we'd gotten another ten minutes of bloody attack mayhem. There is simply no reason for the length of time.

I did mention that this is a guilty pleasure, right? I mean, I know I shouldn't want to spend as much time watching this as I have and cannot explain why I continue to do so, anyway.

Also -- just as a side observation: I've found that the optimum number of scenes a movie should have is around the 35-40 range. Whenever we go over that, I tend to complain about the pacing... this is something I didn't realize until I started doing these reviews. Future film-makers, please keep this in mind.

This particular scene also has an issue in that when Diving Instructor Guy rushes to the surface, he actually passes divers on his way up! And, yet no one else sees the monster shark swimming around?!? OH - PLEASE-!



Scene 47: Shark FINALLY targets Our Gang. They sail, sail, sail.


Scene 48: Back at the Brody home, everyone else starts the day assuming that Sean is out playing and Mike is off to his painter job. There is some discussion about what Martin does next and the home finances. Ellen gets a ride to work before Martin turns in the SUV to the office.


Scene 49: Out on the ocean, Eddie and Tina have lagged behind the others. Eddie wants sex, as is his character trait. Tina insists on a blanket because she has bruises on her butt and her mom is being uptight about it (I know... why has her mother been seeing her bare butt? She's in high school, doesn't she rate some privacy?! On the other hand, my own mother didn't seem to grasp that concept, either, and you'd think she would have learned her lesson after walking in on my watching porn one morning. Maybe this isn't as hard to believe as I first thought. I withdraw my objection).

As Eddie is pulling out the blanket, the small craft is hit and dragged by the shark with him going over the side a fair distance. Tina looks around bewildered by what just happened and sees the shark fin. She screams for Eddie to swim as the shark heads under the boat and right for Eddie.


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He's dragged under. He surfaces, but the shark has him and for no logical reason decides to tenderize him by rushing the boat and slamming him into the side. He tries to pull himself aboard as Tina sits there in panic. He gets dragged under again for the final time. Tina begs for mommy to make it go away.


Scene 50: Back with Brody and Ellen, they're still driving. On the way, though, an ambulance races through town on the way to the docks. Even though it isn't Brody's concern anymore, he tells Ellen he just wants to take a look.

At the dock, they find them unloading bends-having Diving Instructor Guy. Team Lead Guy tells Brody something must have scared him for him to ignore the safety rules on surfacing. Hendicks mentions the kids going out, and with Ellen at least entertaining the notion that her husband is correct about the shark, she takes off with him to the police launch. Hendricks follows. He complains that they shouldn't be aboard the boat, but relents when he sees Ellen's panic over Mike being out on the water. They go after the kids, with Brody calling into the Coast Guard for a search. The Guard tells him it'll be a wait while they're on another mission at the moment.


Scene 51: With the kids, unaware of Eddie's fate and Tina's distress, Our Gang arrives at the lighthouse. However, they decide not to stop there, but to go on to another location. Alas, for them. (And us. The movie will now continue even longer.)

Wind sailing, wind sailing, wind sailing.


Scene 52: In the meantime, Brody and party come across Eddie's boat adrift. There is no obvious sign of anyone aboard. They pull up and Martin goes aboard. He finds Tina in a state of extreme shock and has Ellen join him to help her. Tina manages to stutter-scream out "S-Sh-Sh-SHAAARRRRK!" before collapsing in hysterical tears.


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There is a convenient passing boat and Brody signal it over to pick up Tina, Ellen and Hendricks while he continues to the lighthouse (even though he has no sense of where anything is).


Commentary: Oh, and the sky can't decide if it wants to be partly sunny or heavily overcast. It changes repeatedly in the time it takes to jump cut between the police launch and Tina's boat as it approaches. I try to just overlook this, because JAWS wasn't all that consistent on its sky shots either. It's just one of those things when you're trying to film on the ocean and can't complete all of your shots at the same time/same day.


Scene 53: With Our Gang, they're joking around when the shark attacks. There is confusion and chaos and a pile up of boats. Some of our kids go into the water, but no one bites it.

Among those in the water are both Sean and Mike. Mike also takes a mast to the head, so he's unconscious, but he has a life jacket on so doesn't drown. Beer-Guy and Mopey-Glasses end up in the only ship not involved in the wreck caused by the shark. They go to retrieve Mike, but the shark is also interested and closes in on the floating Brody. In the meantime, Sean and Annie make it aboard an overturned vessel's hull.

With Mike being dead weight, Beer-Guy and Mopey-Glasses have trouble getting him aboard and just barely make it before JAWS2 reaches him. They tell the others that Mike needs immediate medical attention and sail for port to get help.


Commentary: So, back for a moment to my comment about how much the shark is shown in this one and how its power diminishes because we become too familiar with it -- well, this scene is one of the biggest problems. As the shark prop (and you really cannot help but see it as a prop here) skims the side of the boat for the near miss, the director in a stunningly bad call films it head on. It IS awful. It's so awful that when I was going to include the screen cap... I decided against it because it is just too embarassing.

Since they've opened the shark's mouth so wide and with the angle of the shot, we not only see that the mouth has been distorted horribly out of shape, but we can get a nice long look down its gullet and see all of the wonderful machinery driving it! HOW?! HOW DID THIS SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA -- THESE FOLKS ARE PROFESSIONAL FILMMAKERS, RIGHT? I mean, the directing fail here is spectacular. You don't even need a pause button to see it, plainly.



The rest of Our Gang lash the wreckage together into a makeshift raft to await rescue.


Scene 54: Martin meanwhile arrives at The Lighthouse, only to discover that the kids aren't there. He turns in random direction and frets about the Coast Guard not being there to help them all out.


Scene 55: Back with the kids, everyone is grouped and are just waiting for rescue. Helicoptor searches. We see Cable Junction Isle where are finale will take place. Coast Guard Chopper locates the kids. He instructs them to tie a line between the wreckage and the coptor and then he'll give 'em a tow to the Junction for pick up by a Cutter.

It takes too long to accomplish and quickly gets dull.

Finally, the chopper is starting to take off. But the shark suddenly rears up out of the water and grabs the coptor pontoon for reasons ridiculous. The coptor is a tiny two seater, and the shark's weight drags it down and over onto its side, where it flips over. As it goes over, the rotor blades hit the water and snap off sending flying shrapnel into the boats. No one is hit.


Commentary: Despite the ridiculousness of the shark wanting to attack a helicoptor, and its hanging onto it for as long as it does, this scene is actually the best attack in the film ... EXCEPT YOU DON'T GET TO SEE IT! Seriously, this pisses me off to no end.

In the deleted scenes (which is where the next caption is coming from, because it should have been included in the movie), we see the pilot trapped between drowning and making a swim for it, and probably ending up shark bait. It's an impossible choice, and since the Coast Guard Pilot has more personality than half of the kids, it is really easy to feel the horror at his situation. But, since in the movie proper we don't see this, we're left with just him being flipped over and apparently dying underwater in the flip.

I can't imagine what the fuck. This scene underwater is well filmed, tense, and tragically horrifying. You couldn't cut a few minutes from all of the extensive nothing scenes in order to include this?! WHA? WHY? I am completely baffled by how this scene could have been the one cut. Completely editing fail.


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Also, they really should have had the coptor go down, and drag the windsailer the rope is attached to with it, dropping half the cast into the water.


With the coptor down, the shark next attacks the floating heap. Cap-Guy, Sean and Annie go into the water and the overturned boat of the group gets separated.

Annie gets Sean back aboard the overturned boat, but can't haul herself up and the shark swallows her whole with a scream.


Commentary: This is the point where Screeching-Mimi earns her name, as she turns into the most irritating character in the movie and doesn't end up a shark snack. What is worse though, is the stupidity here. You had a perfect excuse for her to spend the rest of the movie being the useless, hysterical lump she is by having HER COUSIN be the one to die. I mean, JEEZUS - it's sitting right there for you; Why was it background character, Annie?! And, no, they weren't saving Springy-Kinky Hair for a bit later to continue the breaking the cutie of Screeching-Mimi, either. They both make it to the end... with hardly any interaction, by the way. I don't know why they bothered to make them cousins at all -- nothing is done with it. Dammit, this should have been SO much better than it turned out.


Scene 56: We cut to shore, where Tina has been delivered to a police car... not an ambulance... for a rush to the hospital. Ellen frets and worries. Len tries to, I don't know - apologize, I guess, for not believing Martin. Ellen crabs at him in her apparent power moment of standing up to her boss. Obvs, this is all useless.


Commentary: Here. Cut this scene and give me the underwater coptor pilot scene, instead. This interlude does nothing for us, and Ellen's power moment isn't one because you never firmly established that Ellen was choosing her boss over her husband, so there isn't anything to stand up to him for. In addition, Len Peterson wasn't wrong at all throughout this whole story because the conflict between he and Martin was so haphazardly and half-heartedly laid down. His apology is natural, but technically he doesn't have any reason to do so, so it wasn't needed in the story for us to witness this moment between he and Ellen. It's superfluous now that the 'end game' is approaching with the shark. In fact, in addition to a lot of the "follow boats on the water scenes" being judiciously trimmed, they could easily have fitted the underwater coptor pilot scene and killed off both Annie and Springy-Kinky Hair (although, I'd have been just as happy to see Screeching-Mimi's career as hysterical screamer cut short at this juncture, too). *SIGH*


Scene 57: Back with Brody, in another needless scene, he is looking lost and can't raise harbor patrol.


Commentary: Gawd, I'm so ready for this movie to be over: 2 HOURS?





Scene 58: With the kids, a rainstorm has moved in. Sean is drifting on his overturned refuge. Everyone else is trying to get him to grab the tow rope they're trying to get to him, so they can pull him back to the pile-up and rescue him, but he's in a state of shock and unresponsive to their calls.

Mike's Friend Who Is A Joker finally gets through to him. The rope is tied, Sean is rescued at least temporarily, and Friend is affectionately relieved to have him safe(r) with the rest of them.


TBC

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