A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jaws 3 is a 1983 sequel to the highly successful Jaws movies of the 1970s. The movie was filmed in 3D, which means there are lots of gratuitous shots of severed limbs, heads, exploding shark parts, fish heads, and the like, intended to be in said third dimension. This also is not IMAX 3D but a very cheesy and dated 3D. There's some drinking -- a missing character is presumed passed out drunk, while one of the lead characters nurses a hangover. Expect some mild profanity, including "s--t" and "bitch," as well as some blood and gore, including a close-up of the dead body of a man who was gored to death by a shark. Two characters are on the verge of having sex in a body of water but are interrupted by the man's older brother; the next morning, the younger brother berates his older brother for preventing him from having sex for the first time in water.
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What's the story?
Now grown up in JAWS 3, Mike Brody (Dennis Quaid) has left Amity in coastal Maine behind to work as a park engineer at Sea World Orlando with his longtime girlfriend Dr. Kay Morgan (Bess Armstrong). Around the time one of his workers disappears under mysterious circumstances, Mike and Kay receive a surprise visit from Mike's brother Sean, a cocky college kid who immediately begins a relationship with a Sea World skier named Kelly Ann Bukowski (Lea Thompson). However, for all his confidence, Sean still has a fear of getting into water, a fear borne from a childhood of shark attacks back home at Amity. Just as he's starting to get over his fears with the help of Kelly Ann, yet another rogue great white shark comes into his life -- this time, breaking through the barriers of Sea World to attack the boaters, skiers, and anyone else who dares float upon the water. When they think they've captured the shark, Kay wants to study it and make it the first great white kept in captivity, an idea wholeheartedly approved by the park's manager, Calvin Bouchard (Louis Gossett Jr.). But when this shark dies in captivity, its mother appears, and that shark will stop at nothing until it has destroyed Sea World's new underwater tunnels and exacted revenge on all the humans who are in her path.
Is it any good?
This is a sequel that did not need to be made. Make no mistake, Jaws 3, especially compared with the two before it, is not a good movie. The storyline is preposterous, and the movie itself oftentimes feels like little more than one long commercial for Sea World Orlando. Compounding this is the fact that the 3D effects are so dated that it's laughable how bad they are. The cheese factor of a severed fish head, for instance, floating for a few seconds too long simply to take advantage of the 3D effects, is off the charts. It also, at worst, cheapens the high quality of the previous movies.
Still, with the right attitude, it can fit into a "so bad it's good" mode of entertainment. Think Sharknado, without the self-awareness, and you have the potential of getting into the spirit of the lousiness.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Jaws 3 was a 3D movie. These kinds of movies were first popularized in the monster B movies of the 1950s. How does Jaws 3 seem similar to those types of movies? With IMAX 3D, how has that technology radically changed since the 1980s?
How does this sequel compare with the original movie? Are sequels ever as good as the originals? Give some examples.
Why do you think movie studios like releasing sequels, even if they aren't all that good?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.