March Movie Madness: Jaws 3-D by Kristi Peterson Schoonover #MarchMovieMadness #movies #sharks #3D @KPSchoonover

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Eleven things to appreciate about Jaws 3-D

1983’s Jaws 3-D—one in a brief spate of super-hyped early ’80s 3D films—is considered the joke of the franchise, even though it was #1 at the box office[1] and got its own prop exhibit at SeaWorld Orlando (then called Sea World of Florida)[2], where it was filmed. There are still, however, some neat things that make 3-D eligible for at least a one-time watch.

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At the time, underwater attractions were novel, dangerous things.

In 1964, the founders of SeaWorld San Diego (then called just Sea World) abandoned plans for an underwater restaurant because it “wasn’t feasible.”[3] In 1980, the Shark Encounter, an under-the-surface walk-through, was on Sea World of Florida’s maps; in October of 1983—four months after Jaws 3-D’s theatrical release–Epcot’s Living Seas, which featured the aquarium-facing Coral Reef Restaurant, broke ground.  While this new technology “wowed,” it also terrified: what happens if you’re in that tunnel and something fails? 3-D not only illustrates this scenario, it illustrates the solution. So while it’s clear that 3-D’s submerged multiplex was inspired by and publicized the real park’s exhibit, it heralded a new age: today, so many major aquariums have time-tested underwater attractions we take them for granted.

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Kay Morgan is a strong heroine.

Today, strong female characters with complex choices are all over cinema. When this movie hit theatres, we were only a decade beyond the thick of the Women’s Lib movement. Kay Morgan (Bess Armstrong) is in the then-non-traditional, leadership position of Senior Biologist, facing the difficult decision of following her career or the man she loves. She’s also no slouch: she revives a baby Great White Shark in her arms, swills beer from a bottle and proverbially slaps Philip (Simon MacCorkindale) in the face when he gets fresh. If that’s not enough, she stands up to her profit-obsessed boss, her strong-willed over-protective boyfriend and the visiting monster hunter in one fell swoop by persuading them her clever idea wins. When Barbies were still hot? She was one with balls.

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It showed aquarium behind-the-scenes and husbandry techniques/challenges.

From my life-long affair with fish films I’m guessing that Jaws 3-D is one of the earliest to show aquarium behind-the-scenes and husbandry techniques as well as some of its challenges; in fact, it was what inspired me to become an aquarium volunteer (I have a combined 1700 hours of experience at two facilities). There was also no fooling around in the making of: Bess Armstrong spent months in training, and the man playing one of her assistants—Dan—wasn’t an actor, but a Sea World trainer.[4]

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Alan Parker’s score.

Parker had the unenviable job of following up Williams’ classic Jaws score, yet other than those famous notes that are possibly a reference to Dvorak, Williams didn’t quite pull off a leave-the-theatre-humming melody as well as Parker does. Parker’s sweeping, triumphant work with an instantly memorable motive is a perfect match for the grandeur that is a Florida theme park. A complete restoration is available here: http://store.intrada.com/s.nl/it.A/id.9653/.f.

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An on-the-cusp cast.

Cast members were about to do big ’80s things. Dennis Quaid before The Right Stuff and The Big Easy. Simon MacCorkindale before Manimal and Falcon Crest. Bess Armstrong before High Road to China. Lea Thompson before Back to the Future. Louis Gossett Jr. before Enemy Mine.

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Memorable lines.

Once these get in your head, they’re not leaving: “He can take a flyin’ leap at a rollin’ doughnut on a gravel driveway, you hear?” This is probably a PG take on the famous phrase from a Vonnegut short story – “Why don’t you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut?”) “Champagne of the working classes” refers to beer. A hung over character is offered coffee. His response? “Just throw it my eyes, it’ll work faster.”

The body has some baggage.

Shelby’s body was considered, at the time, exceptionally graphic due to its realism[5]—this was the early 1980s, and make-up effects weren’t what they are today. The way it floats up past the windows in the Undersea Kingdom at the moment it’s discovered is a noticeable callback to a shot in 1978’s star-studded Gray Lady Down.

The romance has chops.

Unlike disaster films in which the romance develops, this one comes pre-established with all of its problems—and it’s realistic in that it goes from playful to stressed to evolved—all in under fifteen minutes of screen time. It’s also spread evenly throughout the film and happens in the throes of the action. That’s one tight three-beat that doesn’t slow down the pacing.

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It’s a time capsule.

An orange rotary wall phone, a goldenrod refrigerator, a wallpapered kitchen. A vintage Dunkin’ Donuts box, the original Diet Coke cans, the Wheaties Jingle Contest. Waitresses dressed like Aerobics instructors, men smoking under stress, people riding around seatbelt-free.

The way it used to be.

Lots of people have nostalgia for the theme parks of their childhoods—and it’s no secret that, especially in the past twenty years, SeaWorld Orlando (like its neighbors) has been on crack in terms of remodeling, re-envisioning and expanding (see what’s changed with a film extra here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDz0-s3XTBM). Because Jaws 3-D was filmed almost entirely at the park, it preserves the Sea World of 1982 and its extinct or even razed attractions. Thanks to 3-D, the Hawaiian Village, the Hatfields and McCoys Ski Show (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FjQAwu1MFU), and the original Whale and Dolphin Stadium will live forever.

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The 3-D is actually awesome.

That’s right!  Subsequent TV versions were horrendous; they didn’t have the technology to adapt 3D back then, and household sets were small (let me put it into perspective: LCD was just about to be invented,[6]  and the average screen in 1983 was between 13 and 19 inches[7]). If you enjoyed this post and are now inclined, butter some popcorn, pick up the re-master here, where the 3-D is listed as a special feature on a separate disc—http://a.co/bv3jT0Y—and watch it on a 3D television. I guarantee it’s better than you remember—and overall, a lot more fun than you think.

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PHOTO CAPTIONS

1 Here I am with my brother, Chip, in front of the Shark Encounter at SeaWorld Orlando (then Sea World of Florida), 1987.

2 No-nonsense Senior Biologist Kay Morgan (Bess Armstrong) is a modern-day heroine. Here, she wears a chain-mail shark suit, which at the time was in use only by some of the most daring icthyologists and photographers like Eugenia Clark and Valerie Taylor; something like this certainly wouldn’t have been used for the hell of it in a normal aquarium setting. She’s depicted here on a Topps trading card.

3 The promotion for this movie was quite a machine. The Topps trading cards featured 3D artwork on the back. The artwork could be viewed with tiny little glasses (pictured here) that came in only some packages, meaning you had to keep buying package after package until you got lucky. We used to feel them up at the store while my aunt was buying her cigarettes. Yes…it eventually paid off. Yes, I have the entire set. You can get sets now on Ebay for like twelve bucks, so don’t be shy!

4 The underwater exhibit was cutting-edge technology at the time this movie was made—and this film made fantastic use of preying on people’s fears about what seemed claustrophobic and possibly even not entirely trustworthy.

5 The reveal of Shelby’s body was supposed to be so shocking due to its realism that it was covered by a sheet until the big reveal. TV specials and trailers either cut away or showed only a quick corner of part of it as it was considered too graphic.

6 Because Jaws 3-D was shot almost entirely on Sea World property, the Hatfields and McCoys Ski Show is just one of many extinct or razed attractions preserved forever.

7 Many of the cast members would go on to do big things. From left, Louis Gossett, Jr., P.H. Moriarty, Bess Armstrong, Dennis Quaid, Lea Thompson, John Putch, and Simon MacCorkindale.

8 An original poster hanging on my office wall.

9 I like to think that Jaws 3-D was one of the earliest films to show behind-the-scenes at an aquarium. 1955’s Revenge of the Creature, which was also in 3-D, was shot at Marineland of Florida, and although there were lots of scenes shot in the tanks, I don’t think there was too much in terms of behind the scenes and in the labs.

10 The main title sequence for TV and prior DVD releases. Notice it doesn’t say Jaws 3-D. It was changed for these subsequent releases because effective 3D couldn’t be shown in those formats at the time. The restored 3D version, which I own, contains the original title sequence.

 

 

[1] It was #1 its opening weekend, but only slipped as far as #7 for the rest of its run in a month that also featured Return of the Jedi, Krull, Octopussy, and Mr. Mom. “Jaws 3-D,” Box Office Mojo, accessed March 15, 2017, http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=jaws3d.htm

[2]Sea World of Florida was not rebranded as the SeaWorld Orlando we know it as today until the late 1990s. See the exciting description of the Jaws 3-D exhibit in the park’s 1983 brochure here: http://www.themeparkreview.com/parks/photo.php?pageid=204&linkid=8715. “1983 Park Guide,” Theme Park Review, accessed March 1, 2017.

[3] Robert Niles, “Theme Park History: A short history of SeaWorld San Diego,” Theme Park Insider, July 5, 2013, accessed February 28, 2017, http://www.themeparkinsider.com/flume/201307/3552/

[4] Payne, Matt. “The Making of Jaws 3-D: Sharks Don’t Die [Full]”. YouTube Video, 47:13. Posted June 20, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS3AdNWWCAk Note: This is the prime time special that networks aired the week before the film opened. For the record…I watched it on my Grandmother’s TV.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Eric Thayer/Reuters, “The Evolution of the Television Set: Changing Sizes,” CBS News, accessed March 3, 2017, http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/the-evolution-of-the-television-set/10/

[7] “Throwback Thursday – The Color Console Television – 1983,” Vintage Volts, August 22, 2013, accessed March 10, 2017, http://www.vintagevolts.com/throwback-thursday-the-color-console-television-1983/

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March Movie Madness, Episode 1: Transformers #MarchMovieMadness #movie #moviereview #Transformers

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We’re gathered here today to talk about our favorite bad movies; some call these sort of films “cheeseburger movies”. You know, those movies that the critics panned and all your friends laugh at, but you inexplicable love. I’m talking about films like The Mummy (or worse, The Scorpion King), Van Helsing, or that Batman with the rubber nipples. (Eew.)

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“I bought a car. It turned out to be an alien robot. Who knew?”

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION

For me, nothing encapsulates the concept of a cheeseburger movie more than Transformers. What, you haven’t seen the epic saga of robots in disguise? Here’s the trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Transformers (2007) trailer

Why is this movie so cheesetastic? For starters, it’s based on a Hasbro toy line from the 80s, which in turn was based on a Japanese line. There is also the 80s cartoon, to consider, as well as an animated film of questionable quality. (The robots swore in the movie. I guess that made it grown up?)

But the live action film, which started the current franchise, is in a class by itself. It features the noble Autobots and villainous Decepticons-sentient robots who can transform themselves into everyday objects, like Camaros and boom boxes-searching for the semi-mythical AllSpark, which has somehow ended up on Earth. Because of course it did.  With the help of the US Armed forces and a couple teenagers, the Autobots recover the AllSpark and save the day.

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And yet, in spite of the film’s flaws, I adore this movie. It’s full of gleaming fast cars, spectacular explosions, and truly awesome battle scenes. I’ve watched it at least one hundred times, mainly because HBO had it on heavy rotation one summer. Based on hos much I loved the movie, I’ll probably watch it one hundred more times.

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There’s something about a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously (I mean, it’s about giant space robots!) that makes it appealing in no other way. The basic good vs. evil trope is visited, along with the plucky teen who holds the key to saving the world AND gets the girl. Movies like this are entertainment at its finest, where you can tune in, turn off your brain, and enjoy yourself for a few hours. The awesome CGI effects sure don’t hurt, either.

What are some of your favorite cheeseburger movies? Tell us in the comments!

 

Cover Reveal: DAWN OF THE VIE by Laura Diamond @DiamondLB @XpressoReads #sciencefiction #SF #YA

Dawn of the Vie
Laura Diamond
(Immortal Aliens, #1)
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: October 3rd 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Since their Arrival less than 30 years ago, immortal Vie rule the planet like the super-predators they are. Enslaved humans are their servants…their entertainment…and their food. Anemies—humans with various types of anemia—are simply exterminated. Their nutritionally deficient blood is useless to the Vie.

Or so it’s thought…

_________

Alex, an Elite Vie, is a bit of a Renaissance Alien. Part scientist, part Raid Specialist, part drug addict, he knows Anemie blood is valuable. Rather than blindly carrying out his boss’s kill order, he convinces some colleagues to spare a few Anemies, not only for study, but also to reserve a secret stock.

The more Anemie blood Alex drinks, the more he slips into delusion, and the more his double life threatens to crumble. But quitting Anemie blood is not an option. Every Anemie has their own personal flavor. Each gives a unique high.

When Alex takes a hit of Justin’s blood, his hallucinations bleed into reality…

_________

Anemie Justin knows his little sister, Sammie, and he are living past their expiration dates. It becomes a guarantee when they’re bitten by a Vie named Alex during a raid. (The bite is fatal, thanks to a toxin carried in Vie saliva.) Alex adds insult to injury by promising Justin a second chance—an antidote in exchange for agreeing to be a lab rat.

And a mule…of his own blood.

When Justin says no, Alex takes off with Sammie.

All Justin has to do is find them, beat Alex, and cure himself and Sammie. All he has is a stake and serious lack of self-preservation.

No problem.

_________

Alex wants Justin’s blood.

Justin wants his sister back.

GAME ON.

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Author Bio:

Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist currently specializing in emergency psychiatry. She is also an author of all things young adult—both contemporary and paranormal. An avid fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and anything magical, she thrives on quirk, her lucid dreams, and coffee. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found sniffing books and drinking a latte at the bookstore or at home pondering renovations on her 225 year old fixer upper, all while obeying her feline overlords, of course.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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