“Jaws The Revenge”
Soundtrack Album Review
Music By Michael Small
Theme From “Jaws” Composed By John Williams
Intrada Special Collection Vol. 307
34 Tracks/Disc Time: 50:56/Grade: A-
As the late 1980’s were starting to get saturated by sequels that included “The Fly 2”, “Ghostbusters 2”, “Star Trek IV” and “Star Trek V” respectively, “Rambo 3”, “Revenge Of The Nerds 2” and the list goes on and on! “Jaws The Revenge” as definitely one such sequel that one of the more infamous and for all of the wrong reasons. The film which to date is the final chapter that started with Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster and unforgettable hit, “Jaws” and followed by two fairly successful sequels sans Spielberg’s participation in “Jaws 2” and “Jaws 3”. The lone person to return from the first films is Lorranne Gary who played Ellen Brody, the wife of the late Roy Scheider’s Chief Martin Brody who singlehandily killed two great white’s while one of the Brody family’s sons, Mike (played by Dennis Quaid in Jaws 3″) killed his own at a Sea World-esque theme park. This time around it’s momma Brody handling her own business as she’s gone to the Bahamas to be with her other son (Lance Guest, “The Last Starfighter”), his wife (Karen Young) and her granddaughter to get away from their hometown after their son Sean is killed by of course, a great white. Soon she’ll have to face her demons that leading to the demise of the Brody clan and destroy the great white that is now hunting them.
The film has a rather peculiar history as side from the fact that the ending was quickly refilmed after the film was released in theaters in Summer 1987, along with a ton of continuity errors on the editing side of things and of course, the infamous non-wet shirt that Oscar Winner Michael Caine (who passed up not being at the Oscar ceremony to pick up his golden statue for Woody Allen’s Hannah And Her Sisters to do this film) that has been scrutinized since its’ release. What also suffered unfortunately was the fabulous and thrilling score by the late Michael Small, who really pulled an excellent score right out of his hat despite the eventual problems the film would go through. Small was at this point, a true master of suspense who made his niche with his memorable scores to films such as “Klute”, “The Parallax View”, “Audrey Rose”, “The Driver, “The Star Chamber” and “Black Widow”, which had also been released the same year as this film.
The score which is completely original, does feature Oscar Winner John Williams’ iconic theme (the famous three note shark theme) as much as he could to muster alot of excitement in his score unlike the film which was obviously missing something. Small’s score is big and bold during its’ final action sequences, but like Williams’ Oscar Winning work, is also very subtle when it needs to be. He really understood the project and really utilized the theme as much as he could without giving up his own originality and that’s why it has been a fan favorite and a score that has been in demand since the films’ release.
From the get go with John Williams’ main theme establishing the films’ tone, which originally mostly darker than what ended up on screen in the end with “Jaws The Revenge – Main Title” which Small gives his own special treatment and spin on the material that is more aggressive and darker in this rendition. Some light moments appear early on to give the score proper balance which are highlighted by the tracks “Flight To The Bahamas”, “Ellen Plays With Leah”, “Ellen Flies Plane” and “Saying Goodnight” which feature some very tender, yet all too brief material that Small is not normally known for, but the Williams influence plays at hand a little bit here. There is plenty of suspense material that Small gets to play around with to incorporate the “Jaws Theme” with along with his original material that is really, really good. Set up by tracks that include “Shark Attacks Jake In Sled”, “Don’t Tell Mother”, “Shark Takes Bait” and “Michael Attacked By Shark” where Small incorporates a synthesizer/keyboard motif that acts like a warning beacon for the aquatic foe as well as aggressive string work, brass and percussion that really ratchet the tension to build up for the major climax at the end.
Speaking of which, this is where Small really earned his money on this score without question. Nearly scoring the final confrontation sequence almost wall to wall before the film was reedited and the ending reshot, Small truly showed off his action scoring chops here. Utilizing Williams’ theme perfectly, Small goes along for the ride as Ellen Brody seeks to put an end to the terror haunting her family. Highlighted by the tracks, “Banana Boat (Revised Ending)”, “Ellen Goes Out To Sea”, “Michael Runs For Help”, “Plane Buzzes Shark”, “Is Hoagie Dead?”, “Killing Of Jake” and “Shocked Shark – The Finish” which features alot of brass, percussion, aggressive strings and electronics that build up and build up the aggressive nature of the battle between man and beast. Small’s violent brass bursts and percussion really add more depth to Williams’ theme and the perfect counterpoint. “Jaws The Revenge – End Credits” gives everyone a bit of sigh of relief as Small pays homage to Williams’ theme as a proper send off to this score and the series.
Intrada’s Special Collection release features the premiere release of the complete score for the first time after a planned LP by MCA Records fell by the wasteside (sadly) when the film was released after the label announced its’ soundtrack. This is a good and as intense as it gets with an album that breezes by with energy, suspense and excitement. This is easily one of Michael Small’s most popular scores and with good reason, it is that good and had the film done well, it certainly would’ve brought him a new audience as a composer especially in the mainstream. Regardless, this score is a testament of the talents of a composer who had excelled doing what he does best, terrorize you until you break. Thumbs way up!