Scene 59: Cable Junction comes along -- and the skies are cleared again, so the whole thunderstorm deal had no effect on anything. Doug and Larry, Jr. get into a brief scuffle over... I'm not sure what... but this is interrupted by Pray-Girl; since she's been such a background character, you could forgive forgetting she was there as she's had no personality traits until this moment. That makes our other complete blank, Pray-Girl's Boyfriend. Not that it matters.
Commentary: Long, drawn out shot for little gain. I'm praying, too. 'Shark? Are you out there? Please get hungry again... please... I'm begging... please eat them.'
Scene 60: Brody is... uh... I guess at Francis Shoal? He spots Beer-Guy's boat and intercepts it. Mike is conscious by this time. Martin is informed that the shark hit them hard. He sends them to The Lighthouse. Mike has to tell his father that Sean is out there.
Commentary: Notice how Brody attaches the rope that Mopey-Glasses hands him to a cleat on the police boat. Notice how it is never undone. Notice how it vanishes. Notice how Mike could have a concussion still -- why send them to The Lighthouse? How does that help? Does he think the shark is wasting time tracking Mike all the way home, when tender-morsal Sean is with the wreck? Notice how Mike Brody vanishes from the movie and how little time he's actually had? Notice how is was menaced exactly once in the whole movie? What were we following his "I want to sail, oh dad grounded me - it's so unfair, I'm gonna sail anyway" plot for?
Scene 61: Back at Our Gang, where Mike should actually be, they're steering for Cable Junction but are too far adrift to make it. Suddenly the 'raft' bumps and swings around and Screeching-Mimi starts in again. Larry, Jr. tries to get her to shut up physically, in a jerky way (but I can't help hope he 'accidentally' throws her in).
They come to the conclusion that the mast of the overturned boat has caught on some rocks, so at least they've stopped their drift into the Atlantic.
Commentary: I realize also, that Larry Jr. in profile looks like he should be a Vulcan. Check out his facial structure and eyebrows.
Pray-Girl hears a boat engine in the distance. It's Martin. Yay, they're saved. There is more rope-tying. Obviously it won't be that simple, however, and the shark is able to sense that his floating pantry is being raided. Brody ... I don't know... in shock? Powers the launch forward and ends up crashing it into the Isle.
With this complication, Brody throws another rope to the kids. His plan this time is to release the dragging hooks from the launch. They'll attach it to the wreckage and then he'll winch them back to the island. As could be expected, the hooks get snagged on the bottom. He puts the winch in reverse to release it from the presumed rocks it's gotten caught up on. It manages to hook a power cable running from the Junction to Amity Island... presumably the same one that Hendricks hooked earlier.
With Brody's continued attempt to raid its groceries, the shark again launches an attack on the rafts. Screeching-Mimi screeches for the Heavens. Everyone else, except her (dammit) and Sean go into the water and make a mad dash for the Junction.
Scene 62: While Screeching-Mimi continues... (we can't even escape her underwater, but she does manage to drive the shark off through pure volume)... and the winch is hauling up power cable, shark swims for the group of Our Gang in the water.
Pray-Girl's Boyfriend screams at her, and she notices the shark heading right for her. She screams. It manages to miss chomping on her. As it passes by, its rough skin scrapes her up, but her boyfriend is able to reach her and help her get to the Junction.
Commentary: That's correct. Half a dozen teens in the water, half of those being barely background also-rans, and it fails to get even one of 'em.
Screeching-Mimi continues. Martin pulls out a life raft to go after his son from the launch.
Scene 63: As Martin goes to get into the raft, the cable completes its rise to the surface. This gives him a plan. Y'see, Doctor Elkins shared with him at the Orca, the whale - not Quint's boat, site that sharks are drawn through any rhythmic vibration.
As the shark menaces Shawn, he begins to pound on the power cable with the raft paddle which distracts the shark. (And, I shit you not, in perhaps the stupidest moment of the whole film, the shark manages to twist its head in the direction of the pounding while simultaneously coming to a dead stop in the water so he can listen and hone in on where the sound is coming from -- it is RIDICULOUS.)
Scene 64: Brody pounds on the power cable to attract the shark's attention. The kids on the Isle hoot and holler at Brody for attracting the shark's attention. Sean yells.
We get another profile of Larry, Jr. (are those ears pointed?).
The shark charges. Everyone starts shouting warnings. Brody remains focused. The shark manages to not dive below the raft and attack from underneath, despite the fact that is how a Great White would handle a raft, probably confusing it for a possible seal. Instead it charges right into the power cable. It bites down hard.
More Screeching-Mimi, more caterwauling from everybody. Shark fries. Everyone continues screaming and yelling as irritatingly as is humanly possible in cheer (this time, it's Keith Gordon's turn to send a splitting headache through me). Shark sinks. Yay.
Brody make it to the floating boats and Sean assures him that the others made him come with them, against his will. Brody laughs.
the end, finally
Commentary: And, no, I did not quote Brody's one-liner at the shark because it is no where near as good as, "Smile, you sonava-bitch!"
The Good: First, I like the soundtrack for this movie. The callbacks to JAWS are well-placed.
I continue to really like the interplay between Roy Scheider and Lorraine Gary.
I really liked Collin Wilcox as the marine expert. Her scenes were much too brief.
I like Helicoptor Guy - I like the attack on Helicoptor Guy (but what is up with cutting his scene when so many others were allowed to drag on).
The Bad: There are a lot of unnecessary or unnecessarily held shots that add to the run time, until its length has reached the breaking point and they don't add anything worth it.
So, of course, this is going to make pacing a problem -- this is especially true when we spend time with our teenagers, since none of them have the presence or character development to hold our attention. It also gets bad around the hour mark, when we're ready for things to ramp up as we approach conclusion... except, we're not approaching conclusion, so we don't ramp. We coast.
The lack of a central protaganist really affects things when we're stuck on the boating trip with the teenagers, and this is especially true when it becomes clear that Mike isn't even going to be a part of the conclusion... seriously, what the hell was that decision about?!
I really hate how shabbily the Chief Brody character gets treated by the scripting, in order to put him in conflict with Peterson -- and then does absolutely nothing with it. All of these side characters that might have some sort of dramatic arc are simply forgotten by the movie with none of their conflicts addressed or resolved.
Oh, my gawd. Special mention in The Bad must go to that shot down the shark's gullet when Mike is endangered. I am still flabbergasted that no one noticed that the scene should be shot from another angle (like side on or above would have worked well).
Other Thoughts: The terribly vague tensions between Len and Martin is... pointless. A lot of little character moments lead nowhere, in fact, and cumulative it only helps to drag things down. If we're not going to get more savage/bloodier with more victims in the sequel, we need to have strong dramatic storylines to follow; We get none of that.
We also have a lack of tension in too many of the scenes because the threat of the shark is missing. In JAWS, after Alex Kintner's death, the pall of the shark hung over every scene, even though he wasn't on screen. We don't get that here. It could be because of the spacing between shark scenes or attacks, or it could just be because all of the other scenes are so long for little gain. This can be directly laid at the feet of none of our characters outside of Martin, Ellen, the far-too brief Dr. Elkins and the far too brief Coptor Pilot, and Hendricks having any personality. They get a trait or a few pointless lines, but nothing is going on with them. We don't spend enough time with our personality-having characters.
The last twenty minutes tend to be a slog for me, simply because I get so sick of hearing the screaming and yelling -- SHUT UP! And, why is this movie so long?? And, if it's going to be two hours long, where the hell are the victims to help fill it out?
The Score: I really don't have any justification for liking this movie as much as I do. It isn't great. It isn't absolutely terrible. It's just sort of there, with a few moments of good and a few moments of bad sprinkled throughout.
2.5 out of 5 stars.