“Jaws 3-D” was a joke even before it came out. The producers of the film originally pitched it not as a horror movie, but as a spoof entitled “Jaws 3, People 0.” Development on the comedy version got as far as the screenplay, which was co-written by the legendary John Hughes, writer of “Home Alone,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” and a slew of 1980s teen classics. (Incidentally, I’ve read the screenplay for “Jaws 3, People 0” and the title was the funniest part of it.)
Instead, Universal backed another, somewhat serious sequel about the Brody family getting attacked by yet another giant Great White Shark. Roy Scheider, who played Chief Martin Brody in the first two films, said “Mephistopheles … couldn’t talk [him] into” making “Jaws 3-D,” and even went out of his way to co-star in the helicopter thriller “Blue Thunder” just to make sure he was contractually obligated to be somewhere else while this sequel was being made.
The film stars Dennis Quaid and John Putch (“One Day at a Time”) as Brody’s sons, Mike and Sean. Mike is now the chief engineer at SeaWorld Orlando and dating the park’s head biologist, Kay (Bess Armstrong, “My So-Called Life”). Sean is visiting for the summer and starts dating one of SeaWorld’s many, many, many water skiers (“Back to the Future” star Lea Thompson, making her big screen debut), but is still afraid to get in the water after the whole, you know, “Jaws” thing.
The plot is about a brand new SeaWorld attraction, “The Undersea Kingdom,” where guests can walk in underwater tubes among the fishies. But a problem arises when a Great White Shark sneaks into the park, kills a lot of people, and wreaks untold havoc. And it’s all thanks, almost exclusively, to SeaWorld’s extreme negligence.