Anyone ever think that Jaws 2 could have been different and possibly set the series into a different direction than the comical and horrible path it took? Steven Spielberg did since he wanted to make the second movie more of a prequel. His idea to make the movie about the USS Indianapolis was one that would have explained a great deal of how Quint felt about sharks and would have gone in a direction that was far more in keeping with the movie. But hey, Hollywood is always right, right? When you think about it and contemplate the horror of what happened when the Indianapolis went down in 1945 when it was torpedoed by the Japanese, making a movie out of that might have seemed like too raw of a moment for the Hollywood execs to approve, but it’s perfectly okay to see a kid get dragged under the water by a vicious maneater. There’s a couple of reasons why Hollywood kind of dropped the ball on this one.
People expect to see soldiers dying in war movies.
It’s brutal and it’s unfair but it’s true. Jaws 2 would have been as close to being a war movie as it could be without actually being one, since the USS Indianapolis was in transit after having dropped off a very important package to Pearl Harbor. The ship was struck twice and sank in about 12 minutes according to history. The real horror was about to begin however when the survivors were set adrift. One thing about war movies is that you fully expect to see a soldier, or many soldiers, endure gunfire, bombs, and many other forms of certain death, but drowning, dying of thirst, and dying of shark attacks are rare in such films. Perhaps that was a sticking point for Hollywood.
It would have continued to vilify sharks.
Jaws made just about everyone afraid to go into the water, even if it wasn’t the ocean. The image of a massive set of jaws clamping down on a foot, a leg, or anything that was within reach became the nightmare of many an individual that had seen the movie. Going back in the water was not considered to be a good idea simply because of the film. But the problem with this was that people took on an active fear of sharks and began to demonize them by thinking that these creatures will actively hunt humans. Even those species that will go after humans typically only do so when thinking that human beings are their favorite prey, such as sea lions or sea turtles. The number of sharks that were killed following the movie was insane, and a second movie that showed only more savagery and opportunistic kills would have been kind stirring the pot just a little more.
The movie could have been used as a platform to explain the behavior of sharks.
Sharks are predators of course, that’s how they live and how they survive. But in truth they don’t come close to shore out of a need to hunt human beings. If a deer is within a wolf’s territory it’s like that the deer won’t last long unless they can escape. It’s the same in the water, if a human, or humans, are in the shark’s domain then there’s a chance that they might suffer an attack. Commotion, distress, and yes blood in the water can attract a shark. It’s a type of curiosity that might draw them to start with, but if they find something appetizing then chances are they’re going to feast. And sharks will feast upon dead or dying things, so those unfortunate sailors that were either at deaths door or well beyond it were fair game. It’s horrific to think about, but it’s also a natural way of life on the water. Nothing gets wasted and everything finds a place within the sea in way or another.
Those of us that have seen the movies know by now that the Jaws series went down a very confusing and confounding road that saw the iconic shark get blown to pieces a time or two and yet still somehow the movies would bring one back, implying that sharks were simply out to get humans and knew about, and cared about, the concept of revenge. We also know now that the throughout the years Jaws has spawned other films that have gone above and beyond the gore quotient that was believed to be so horrible back in the day, creating entire montages of red-splattered scenes that have inspired a great many fans worldwide. But while the films still demonize sharks in a big way there is thankfully more research now that’s available to let people know just what sharks are truly like, and why they’re more important than was originally believed.