Contact Us

Twitter: @TheSlumgullion and @Scottclevenger

Check out our sister site: World O' Crap

Monday, August 1, 2022

Jeff's Book Nook Presents: The Shark is Roaring

Written by Paul Downey      

I have a confession to make. It’s something I’m not proud of, but if I’m ever to get over this, it must finally be confronted head on and dealt with.

I saw Jaws: The Revenge first show, first day.

My Mother, who had taken me to see Jaws 3-D, refused to see this one, but I was turning 17 in less than a month, so she said she would drop me off at the mall and let me see it by myself.

My first solo film! 

I was excited to see this. Mrs. Brody was coming back, Michael Caine was in it, and I had read the book (which was published a few weeks before the film came out) and I liked it. Didn’t love it, but I liked it.

Besides, my First Solo Film!

I should have waited a few months for Hellraiser.

Everyone knows. The film is a mess. Apart from a surprisingly intense opening kill (One of my favorites in the series, honestly), the script is a mess, the acting ranges from serviceable to non-existent, the shark is the worst looking of the series, and it roars.

The shark roars.

The last ten minutes of this film broke my soon-to-be 17-year-old brain. The filmmakers did the impossible. They made a film worse than Jaws 3-D.

And here is my secret shame: I enjoyed it. I still do. It’s my Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and I am ok with that.

Thirty five years after its release, someone has decided that the world needs an in-depth history of the most maligned of the Jaws franchise. Paul Downey, author of The Shark is Roaring, has put together a truly amazing history of the film, from inception to reception and beyond. There are interviews with cast and crew, analyses of the various cuts and the novelization, an overview of the soundtrack. Anything you could possibly want to know about Jaws: The Revenge you will find within its pages.

Except for one thing, which I will get to in a bit.

One important note before I go on. I was lucky to receive an advance digital copy of the book and I do not know if this is the final edit. There is an introduction mentioned in the table of contents that was not available and one of the interviews has a question with no answer, so there may be some changes between what I read and what is published.

First things first, I enjoyed the book. The interviews are interesting. I love the pre-release talk where everyone is trying to convince the movie going audience (and themselves, I think) that this Jaws will be as good as the first one, and the reflective interviews post-release are absolutely fascinating. There’s also a quite mean but quite entertaining essay on it from filmmaker B Harrison Smith.

When getting killed by a shark puppet, always start in the traditional "Arrgh! My CROTCH!" posture...

And finish in the classic "Neil Diamond in The Jazz Singer" pose.

That being said, I feel like the version I read would greatly benefit from one more edit. The early chapters have a lot of names and information that (to me) really aren’t relevant to the story being told (this actor who wasn’t in The Revenge worked with this actor who was in The Revenge on a different movie, though they didn’t share a scene together in that other film. Interesting but unnecessary). Also, the book kind of bounces around a lot. It’s a bit chaotic in its presentation (much like the film itself).

The big thing for me, though: The book is called The Shark is Roaring and there is no explanation as to why it roared. The roar is talked about, but we’re never given the genesis of the most famous thing from the film. If it is there and I missed it, I apologize to Mr. Downey, but I was looking for it. I was more interested in that than the history of shark films since The Revenge (which is covered). 

In conclusion, The Shark is Roaring is a flawed but highly entertaining read, which is how I feel about the film, so job well done.

The Shark is Roaring is published by BearManor Media and is available now.

No comments: