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Film / Jaws 2

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Uh, miss? Behind you.

"Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water."
The tagline

The first sequel to Jaws, released in 1978. It was directed by Jeannot Szwarc and written by Carl Gottlieb (who'd cowritten the first film) with Howard Sackler. Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, and Murray Hamilton returned from the original cast.

Four years after the events of the first film, another shark swims to the waters of Amity Island to munch on its inhabitants. Trouble is, Chief Brody (Scheider) can't seem to persuade anyone that they have another shark problem, and he's finally forced to take matters into his own hands when the shark targets a teenage sailing party, which includes his own sons.

One good bite deserves another!

  • Abnormal Ammo: Chief Brody takes his standard-issue semi-jacketed hollow point bullets, fills the cavities with cyanide, and covers them with wax. That this would seriously affect the trajectory and stability of the bullets and make them wildly inaccurate doesn’t seem to occur to him.
  • Anger Born of Worry: When Michael's friends are trying to tether Sean's capsized boat to theirs, the thing that brings Sean out of his Heroic BSoD is one of the friends viciously threatening to beat him if he doesn't snap out of it. As soon as Sean is with them, however, said friend immediately starts to comfort him and reassure him they'll be okay, so it seems this trope was in effect.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Although the film starts off with a dead, beached orca (killer whale), in real life, killer whales have been known to kill great white sharks and eat their livers. You could also interpret it as example of The Worf Effect, showing that this particular shark is so huge and aggressive it killed and ate its supposed predator.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: Jaws 2 takes place at the beginning of the summer season.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Almost all of the teenagers are quick to protect Sean, and one of them even sacrifices her life to push him atop a capsized boat.
  • Callback:
    • A subtle one — the barrels that Brody and Hooper swam back into shore on in the first movie? One of them is now a planter outside of the Brody home.
    • The divers at the beginning find the wreckage of the Orca.
    • In addition to being a Take That! at Orca: The Killer Whale, the dead orca that washes ashore might also be this, seeing as Orca was the name of Quint's boat.
  • The Cavalry: Subverted twice. After the shark attacks the teenagers and sends them adrift on a raft cobbled together of what's left of their sailboats, help arrives on two occasions, but they each fail in different ways.
    • A helicopter (the type that can land on water) arrives to tow the boats. The shark attacks the helicopter, eats the pilot, and the mayhem causes the rafts to collapse, leaving almost nothing left for the teenagers to stay afloat on.
    • Chief Brody later comes to the rescue. The shark attacks his boat as well, causing him to steer and crash it into the tiny island that was close by. As a result he has to find other means to save them.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Dr. Elkins' info dump on sharks' ability to detect sound comes in handy for the climax.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The police boat's dredging hooks snagging the power cable...
  • Covers Always Lie: The young woman featured on the VHS cover looks nothing like (and is dressed differently from) the unfortunate water-skier killed in the movie (not to mention the shark hits her from below, and doesn't come out of the water).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The shark itself, after being tricked into biting an undersea power cable, is violently and brutally electrocuted to death, including catching on fire from the inside out, leaving just a charred body that sinks beneath the waves.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Any time the movie shifts focus from Chief Brody and Amity's officials to the kids, this kicks in. Interestingly, this film came out four months before trope-codifer Halloween (and years before all the other copycats), but it has a lot of the same components.invoked
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Brody's slurred speech, and the pile of beer cans found outside his truck the next morning imply that the night he was fired, he had more than a few to "celebrate" his termination.
  • Fanservice: At one point, Chief Brody wears his uniform unbuttoned, showing off his bare chest.
  • Flare Gun: Shooting with it when everything is soaked by gasoline proves to be an unpleasant mix.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: In-universe example. Chief Brody is convinced a series of mysterious deaths and disappearances at sea are the work of another shark. Despite the events of four years before, and Brody presenting the selectmen with photographic evidence of the shark, they and the mayor fire him for his "paranoia" (and for panicking beachgoers by firing his weapon at a school of bluefish). And they keep the beaches open once again.
    • Although to be fair, Brody is really off the rails and the evidence is pretty flimsy. Firing him and keeping the beaches open is not an unreasonable response.
  • Foreshadowing: It is foreshadowed on two separate occasions how the shark is killed in the end. The marine biologist investigating the orca carcass killed by the shark mentions how sharks are attracted to rhythmic underwater sounds. When Brody's deputy and another assistant are searching for bodies on the sea floor, they find an electrical cable, and quickly drop it back to the bottom. At the end, Brody finds another electrical cable, and attracts the shark by bashing the cable with an oar, causing loud clanging sounds. The shark bites the cable, and gets electrocuted.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: To show how evil the shark is, they make sure to burn half of its face.
  • Half Empty Two Shot: When the shark attacks the helicopter, it is filmed from inside the cockpit, looking out past the pilot with the shark rising suddenly from the water in the background. (Not entirely unlike its use in the first film, actually.)
  • Hate Sink: Ellen's boss, Len Peterson, is set up as this.
  • Hazardous Water: A victim is two feet from a boat, but gets eaten before she can get pulled up, despite having several seconds beforehand.
  • Heel–Face Turn: One scene doubles as both this and a heartwarming moment. When the angry town council takes a vote on whether or not to expel Brody as the Chief of police, guess who's the only one that votes to let Brody keep is his job? None other than the most hated character in the first movie, Mayor Vaughn. You really see how much he's changed from the first movie, and he cares a lot for Brody after the chief had helped him realize his past greedy mistakes.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sean enters one after he sees the girl who helped him out of the water get swallowed whole by the shark right in front of him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Marge is killed by the shark while saving Sean from it.
  • Hope Spot: The helicopter, which arrives to help the stranded kids. Then the shark appears and capsizes it.
  • Hysterical Woman: After the shark attacks them, one of the female teenagers, Jackie, eventually goes hysterical and has a panic attack when their rafts get stuck at the bottom. Another teen tries to shut her up by shaking her violently, but is told by his friends that this won't help.
  • I Want My Mommy!: After her boyfriend Eddie is eaten by the shark, Tina begs for her mom to "make it go away."
  • Idiot Ball: Brody, arguably. There's no need to send Hendricks back to port since Ellen was being sent back, and Hendricks actually knows where he was going, and is more experienced with the police launch.
  • Ignored Expert: Brody this time around. Although, unlike Hooper, Brody really doesn't help himself due to his reckless actions on the beach.
  • Jewish and Nerdy: Timmy, he has a Jewfro and glasses.
  • Karmic Death: The shark dies by biting something it shouldn't have: a high voltage power cable.
  • Male Gaze: During the beach scene before Brody's freakout.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: In the novelization (based on an early script), the shark is a female who was impregnated by the shark from the first novel/film which is terrorizing Amity due to her ravenous hunger and later territoriality to protect her almost-to-term young, and during the climax she gives birth to a single baby before she gets electrocuted. The baby later grows up to be the shark from Jaws: The Revenge.
  • Milestone Celebration: In-universe, Amity Island is having a 50th Annual Regatta.
    • Interestingly the "Welcome to Amity" sign that was vandalized in the first film had a banner for the 50th Annual Regatta. It took them four years to plan the event?
    • In fairness, the shark attacked during the Fourth of July weekend in the first film, when the beaches were filled, and a man got killed. It could have conceivably taken four years for the bad publicity to die down enough that they were able to get enough visitors and participants to try holding one again. Especially since, in the first film, Mayor Vaughn was right on the beach telling reporters on-camera that a shark had been killed and the beach was safe, right before the shark attacked, demonstrating Vaughn's words were Blatant Lies.
  • Novelization: Written by Hank Searls, it's a very unusual book, being based on a much earlier draft of the screenplay. As a result, it reads like a weird alternate universe version of the film's story, and, in many ways, more of a sequel to the original novel.
  • Numbered Sequels
  • Oh, Crap!: Tina's reaction when she sees the shark coming for her boyfriend Ed.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: One appears among some boat wreckage.
  • Pet the Dog: In a deleted scene where the town counsel votes to fire Chief Brody, Mayor Vaughn is the only one to vote against firing him.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Open wide; say 'aaaah'!"
  • Put on a Bus: Hooper is off on a distant expedition and unreachable. Doubles as a Call-Back, the expedition Hooper is on in this film is the one he mentions he's going to be going on in the first film during the dinner scene with Brody and Ellen, before he decides to stay in Amity and assist Brody in eliminating the shark.
  • Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: Done at the new hotel opening in the start of the film.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Discussed. Martin wonders if this is the case — with the second shark seeking to avenge the first one. This is quickly dismissed, though, and not mentioned afterwards.
  • Sadistic Choice: Featured in a Deleted Scene that's an extra on the DVD and edited into some TV airings. After the helicopter is pulled underwater, the pilot struggles to escape, only to see the shark waiting for him. Drown or get eaten? Of course, the shark soon saves him the trouble of choosing.
  • Say Your Prayers: Lucy begins praying after a couple of attacks.
  • Shock and Awe: Brody kills the shark by duping it into biting an electrical cable. The shark is electrocuted, quite spectacularly, and bursts into flames (from the inside out, no less).
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: While most of the younger cast is straight Dawson Casting, Mike Brody heads into this territory as he jumps from being played by an 11-year old in 1975 to an 18-year old in 1978. Sean narrowly averts this, as he is played by an actor only five years older.
  • Suit with Vested Interests: It becomes a bit ridiculous at this point when the mayor and the city council still refuse to believe Brody's claim that another shark is on the loose and fire him for his refusal to hush it up after the events of the previous film. Possibly they were hoping that the "lightning never strikes twice" principle would hold true.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The shark goes out of its way to attack its victims — particularly the teenagers.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Brody manages to save almost all of the teenaged boaters and both of his sons.
  • Swallowed Whole: The Super-Persistent Predator gets his (or her) way when one of the teenagers (Marge) is swallowed whole while saving Officer Brody's youngest son, Sean.
  • Synchronized Swarming: A possible example: Brody is alarmed by a shape in the water. It turns out to be a school of fish, and the shark is elsewhere. It is not clear to the audience exactly how similar the shape was to a shark.
  • Take That!: A corpse of mauled orca is found on the beach, covered in shark bites. It is a jab at Orca: The Killer Whale, which was released in the previous year and had Take That! moment of its own directed at the first Jaws.
  • Threatening Shark: The primary antagonists of the films, specifically very large great whites.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Chief Brody is miles from the meek man he was in the first film. In that, he lets the town mayor and selectmen walk all over him and bury the warning that there's a shark in the waters, is afraid of the water, and is completely out of his element when hunting the shark, as compared to the more experienced Hooper and Quint. In this film, when he finds evidence they have another shark problem, he pushes for safety precautions on the beaches, and after seemingly nothing happens, he refuses to back down from the selectmen when they threaten to fire him because he remains convinced he's right, and fire him they do. Then when the shark finally attacks the kids in the end and strands them at Cable Junction, Brody throws Hendricks off the police launch and goes out to rescue the kids himself." He finally faces off against the shark one-on-one, and Brody is so badass that he kills this second shark single-handedly.''
  • Two-Faced: In one sequence, a panicking woman tries to club the shark with a fuel container, only for said container to break open, spilling gas over herself and the boat she's in. She then grabs a flare pistol and fires it, setting herself, the boat and half the shark's face on fire, ultimately causing her own death (when the boat explodes) and leaving the shark badly scarred for the rest of the film.
  • Ultimate Job Security: It rather strains belief that Vaughn wouldn't be booted out of office within seconds of the first film's ending.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Brody has the nerve to be indignant about no one believing him after he causes a mass panic over what turns out to be a school of bluefish. After this, he brings a photo to the council that we know is of the shark, but is unclear enough that you really can't blame them for not buying it. He could have at least waited to see if there were any better shots.