Book Review: Jaws 2: The Making of a Hollywood Sequel

Jaws 2Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel
By Louis R. Pisano & Michael A. Smith
Published by BearManor Media, 2015. 343 pages.

I have to say that out of all the movies I’ve seen in my lifetime, I really can’t think of one that effected me as much as Jaws did, first seeing it on a re-release around 1977. Because of it, any movie that deals with sharks, or really any aquatic terrors, really has a emotional effect on me…meaning it really gets under my skin! And even though the original film terrified me to the core, I was somehow anxious to maybe do it all over again when Jaws 2 hit the screens a few years later. Yeah, we all know that it is not even close as being as good as the first one, but I did enjoy it back then and think that even today it still holds up for the most part. There also has been more than a few books written about that original summer blockbuster, but not too many on the sequel. Until now. Authors Louis R. Pisano and Michael A. Smith have spent a few years pulling together information, interviews, stories, and so much more, all jammed into their new book, Jaws 2: The Making of a Hollywood Sequel.

The authors obviously have spent a lot of time doing research on this book and know quite a lot about the subject. They have spent many hours looking for and finding people that were associated with the film, from both cast and crew, even to the extent of interviewing some that were originally hired but were not asked to come back after a change in directors. In fact, they even interviewed the original director John Hancock to get his side of the story of why he was let go. But this isn’t a story about pointing fingers but a look back at the sequel to the real first summer blockbuster, so you can only imagine what was riding on this and the studios wanted to make sure it was exactly what they wanted it to be. You can tell that Pisano and Smith not only have a strong passion for this sequel, but it comes through to the reader. Just reading all the different stories here made me want to bust out the film and watch it again. We get to hear from the actors, the stunt people, the cameramen, production designers, and so much more.

This book really does give you a great inside look at what can happen on a movie set, especially one driven by one of the biggest movie studios around, and how drastically things can change at a moment’s notice. You get to hear how the original story would have been very different than the final film, which I have to say, Hancock’s original take on it sounded pretty damn interesting.

Now I will say I did have some issues with this book early on. There are several times where information is repeated, sometimes just a few pages apart. For example, right in the first few pages, they mention how actor Roy Scheider became attached to the film, since he still owed Universal two pictures in a three picture deal. But the studio said if he did Jaws 2, they would count it as one. But then five pages later, this same information in mentioned again, as if it was the first time. This happens several more times within the first fifty pages. Also, a sentence starts at the bottom of page 25, and after several pages of photos, a new paragraph starts. So not sure what happened there, but something is missing. My only other complaint would that all the photos are in black and white. With all of these interesting and mostly never published before, it would have been great to at least see a few of them in color. I know that would only increase the price of the book, so I do understand not going that route.

Regardless of these minor issues, if you are even the slightest fan of the original Jaws, then I think you will get a big kick out of this book. Or even if you’re interested in the wild world of film making, there are some great stories within these pages. This is a great book at a very reasonable price, and well worth your money and your time.

You can order your copy from BearManor Media HERE.

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