Review: ‘Jaws 19’

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(Universal Pictures)

By Wes Smith

Jaws 19 hopes to ride the wave of Senior Spielberg’s legacy, but his son flounders in execution.

Though the tagline of Jaws 19 states that, this time, it’s really really personal, the film itself is anything but, an empty spectacle of Holomax technology that fell short of an inspiring message that could have been.

Directed by Max Spielberg – as though the world didn’t already know – the film is a raucous affair focusing on a post-apocalyptic world of receding oceans where the sharks must attack to survive their new home.

Now, I’m all for pop-culture action as much as anyone. I thought the sci-fi spin in Jaws 8 was a welcome breath of fresh air in the genre, and as lambasted as it was, the romance in Jaws 17 at least had heart. None of these are apparent in 19, however. Instead, they have been replaced with cardboard characters and the current trend of using holomax to replace real story.

Certainly, the technology is as good as ever. The sharks feel as though they are in the theater with you, and some of the later sequences in the waterspout climax are visually stunning. But are they $32 a ticket stunning? I feel as though the science center would have been a better venue for this display.

Lost, of course, is the message about our planet and the growing concerns over the climate. The receding oceans of the story could have provided a great parallel to our own world, offering insight into mankind’s relationship with nature. Instead, it is mentioned only as exposition and forgotten about largely until the random, harebrained scheme that results in the aforementioned waterspouts.

No doubt this film will make a ton of money (from the Pepsi Perfect ads before it, if nothing else), but Max has a long way to go before reaching the heights of his father. Pass unless you’re just a huge fan of the franchise.

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