recently had some sadness and some gladness at the B-Masters. The
sadness is, Keith Allison and Scott Adams of Teleport
City have announced that this will be their last Roundtable. The
guys plan to take their website in some different directions – to
try and turn it, to quote Keith himself, into “the web version of a cool old Cuban man” – with emphasis upon
articles rather than reviews, particularly articles about travel and
adventure – and, of course, cinema. Teleport
City has been a very valued member of the Cabal, and we will
miss it greatly. We send Keith and Scott on their way with all best
wishes possible for the success of their venture, and an assurance
that they will be welcome back any time they choose to drop in.
And now the gladness: in a move that has provoked a
mass slaughtering of fatted calves, Nathan Shumate has brought Cold
Fusion Video Reviews back into the B-Master fold. Nathan was,
needless to say, welcomed with open arms; and is currently doing
penance for leaving in the first place via his own contribution to
the new Roundtable – and you can see below….
And now – our
“WE’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER ROUNDTABLE”
As everyone knows, Jaws is one of the most successful films of all times. It is also
what, sadly, is in these days a rare beast: a film whose degree of
success was directly proportional to its quality. In cinematic
terms, the direct legacy of Jaws
has been two-fold: it created the phenomenon of the “Summer
Blockbuster”; and it spawned, and continues
to spawn, an apparently limitless number of rip-offs. Ignoring the
qualities that actually made Jaws
work, film-makers all around the world lifted the bare bones of
its plot into productions of their own – producing a bizarre
collection of movies that took place not just in the water, but
also on land; that featured not just sharks, but piranha, giant
squid, killer whales, bears, yeti, and even – God help us! – lawnmowers.
Indeed, there are few sub-genres as fertile – or
indeed, as popular – as the Jaws
rip-off. As such, it was an obvious choice for a Roundtable; so
obvious, that the fact it took us so long to think of doing it
induced much forehead-slapping and a collective cry of, “D’oh!”
There was no squabbling over titles this time when it came to
choosing our subjects – this was one Roundtable where a positive
cornucopia of material was on offer. Moreover, the enthusiasm felt
for the topic is evident in the fact that two of us were inspired
to tackle multiple Roundtable entries.
Jabootu’s Ken Begg, ever the over-achiever (read: show-off),
chose to tackle the truly Herculean task of reviewing all
four “Jaws” movies. This was a novel experience for Ken,
as it gave him the chance to review a good
film for the first time ever. By the time of Jaws
3-D, however, he was back on familiar ground. Read his reviews
consecutively, and discover how one of the greatest films of all
time managed to produce two of the very worst sequels
of all time.
Meanwhile, over at AYCYAS, it’s time for – Genetically
Modified Killer Sharks! In Deep
Blue Sea, we are offered some (wholly unnecessary) evidence of
the fact that some people are much dumber than sharks; while in Creature, Peter Benchley makes yet another effort to duplicate the
success of Jaws.
Unfortunately, in this case, the sow’s ear remains a sow’s
and The Unknown Movies Page both take on examples of the Jaws
rip-off that actually do feature sharks, Shark
Attack III and Shark
Hunter; while The Bad Movie Report, Cold
Fusion Video Reviews, Braineater
and Stomp Tokyo
demonstrate how easily the Jaws
clichés can applied to different monsters, reviewing films
starring, respectively, a grizzly bear, a killer whale, an
octopus, and [*cough*]
the Loch Ness Monster.
And for its valedictory review, Teleport City offers up the inevitable Italian Jaws rip-off, with
Il Cacciatore di Squali.
So sit back, relax, and join the B-Masters as they
take a look at some cinematic boat accidents – a bunch of movies
that truly do bite.
You Call Yourself A Scientist!
|1. Peter Benchley's Creature:
"It comes as little surprise when Puckett proves the great
white’s innocence by falling victim to the Creature himself –
later bobbing up (literally) as the inevitable decapitated head.
(The head is found in one of Puckett’s own poaching traps, which
would seem to indicate that along with those for arms, legs and
lungs, the Creature got whatever genes are responsible for a
warped sense of humour.)"
Blue Sea: "Susan sets off down a flooded corridor,
treading carefully (as well she might: that water’s nearly three
feet deep, and you just never know where a seven-foot-high shark
might be lurking)."
Bad Movie Report
"If you’ve seen Jaws, the template is pretty clear: a
national park is terrorized by a man-eating grizzly of
extraordinary size and seeming intelligence, if not outright
malevolence. Despite the warnings of the Brody character, the
Mayor character refuses to close the park. Not because it’s the
4th of July, but because … um. According to Hardcore Park Ranger
Kelly, it is because the bureaucrat is somehow planning to parley
the media hubbub into a "brown plastic office in
Attack III Coming Soon!
"Remember in Jaws how the Mayor and the town council didn't
want to close the beaches, because of the negative impact to the
town's economy? It became one of the most common tropes of the
post-Jaws disaster movie. Well, Tentacoli doesn't follow the
pattern. In fact, once the alarm goes out, Solana Beach calls in
the Coast Guard, whose attempt at a solution involves flying
enormous helicopters within a few feet of the tiny sailboats,
while a Guardsmen holds up a chalkboard reading "DANGER: GO
Fusion Video Reviews
"Orca... that was the biggie. There were Hollywood dollars to
invest in that one, both for production and for advertising. And
thankfully, all of those resources weren't wasted on a simple
carbon-copy exploitation flick. Surprisingly, Orca has a lot going
for it as a dramatic motion picture; much of it isn't bad at all.
Then, of course, there are those parts that are stupendously silly
Bad Movie Dimension
"Jaws is more than a great horror movie. It’s even more
than the greatest monster movie of all time, barring King Kong.
Rather than just topping any particular movie category, Jaws is,
in my opinion, legitimately one of the finest films of all
2. Jaws 2:
"Unfortunately, this remains the picture’s most immediate
and persistent flaw. The idea of one giant killer shark
establishing itself outside a New England island community is one
thing. Having another do so a few years later is patently
ridiculous. They’re aware of this, too, and admittedly they do
what they can to mitigate the essential and all-too-obvious
dumbness of the situation. Sadly, these efforts fail
3. Jaws 3-D:
"Ah, now I’m becoming more comfortable. This month I’ve
experienced a change of pace by reviewing a classic motion
picture, Jaws, and an average motion picture, Jaws 2. I’m back
on familiar ground now, however, because Jaws 3, not to put too
fine a point on things…bites."
4. Jaws: The Revenge:
"The Roaring Shark we’ll get to in time. However, the
vengeance idea we can examine a bit before we even begin looking
at the movie. After all, the film’s very title is Jaws: The
Revenge. Lest the implications of this moniker somehow prove too
subtle for the prospective viewer, there’s the film’s (in)famous
tagline: "This Time It’s Personal." To be fair, this
mitigates against any consumer carping on the picture’s vast
stupidity. Frankly, if you watch a film with a title like that,
you deserve what you get. Short of naming the picture ‘Jaws 4:
Electric Boogaloo,’ I’m not sure how much more fair warning
they could have provided."
Loch Ness: "Case sends his crew back into the
lake to look for the passage to the sea. They find it, just in
time for a huge creature to swim by and maim a local college
student who is dragging around a fake monster to impress tourists.
The movie then launches into full Jaws mode. The local authorities
refuse to close the lake because tourists are coming in, blah blah
blah. Apparently the occasional maiming is good for business.
Well, the attraction is supposed to be a monster who lives in the
lake, so maybe it isn't that much of a stretch."
|Il Cacciatore di Squali (The Shark
Hunter): Coming Soon!
Unknown Movies Page
Hunter: "It's not just the characters that are
poorly written in Shark Hunter. There are lapses in logic, like
how the submarine is launched to do nothing but research and
report, but happens to be carrying gigantic harpoons...
torpedoes... and fifty-five gallon drums of blood."