It has been said that all good things must come to an end. With that in mind, I bring you my review of Lou and Yana's JawsFest 3: The Invasion of JawsFest '10 two-disc DVD set. This is the final entry in the trilogy of JawsFest fan films produced by Lou and Dianna "Yana" Pisano. What started out as a fan love letter to Jaws in the first JawsFest DVD has grown to the size of a three-part romance novel with the release of JawsFest 3. (Click here to read my review of the first two JawsFest DVDs.) While it's sad to see this particular chapter of Jaws fandom draw to a close, the Pisanos saved the best for last. Read on for my complete review of this two-disc set.
JawsFest 3 follows the Pisanos and their jolly Jaws touring group as they travel around Martha's Vineyard to visit the locations used in three of the Jaws films: Jaws, Jaws 2, and Jaws: The Revenge. In terms of presentation, JawsFest 3 follows a style similar to the previous two DVDs: the Pisanos first present their footage and charmingly candid description of a particular location, and then insert a clip from the Jaws movie that features the same location for direct comparison. Of the sites visited in this installment, I particularly enjoyed the tour of Katama Bay, the location where the Orca confronted the monster shark in Jaws. For scenes that look like they were shot out in the middle of the ocean, the Pisanos’ Katama Bay footage shows you just how small the ocean really was in Jaws.
Indeed, after you watch all three JawsFest films, you will have seen every Martha's Vineyard location that was used in the Jaws franchise. To help you keep score, JawsFest 3 comes with a official JawsFest map of Martha's Vineyard that highlights these locations; there are even “map alerts” in some parts of JawsFest 3 that show you where they are in a particular scene in relation to the map. The inclusion of this map with the DVD is a nifty treat for Jaws fans: If you can't afford to visit Martha's Vineyard, it gives you a sense of what the various casts and crews of the Jaws franchise had to work with when they filmed there. If you do get to visit Martha's Vineyard, the map tells you where to go to see where parts of Jaws history were made.
The complete JawsFest 3 set, with the official JawsFest map.
There's much more to JawsFest 3 than just site seeing. JawsFest 3 features great interview footage with some of the cast and crew from the Jaws franchise, including Lee Fierro (Mrs. Kintner in Jaws), Roger Kastel (the artist who painted the iconic Jaws poster), and Tom Dunlop (Timmy Weldon in Jaws 2). The Pisanos also got the chance to talk to Joe Alves, the Production Designer from Jaws who also worked on Jaws 2 and Jaws 3D. It's a fun interview of the man who first scouted Martha's Vineyard for Steven Spielberg, and his interview is complemented by footage of a Jaws presentation that Alves gave at Martha's Vineyard.
As a feature-length video, JawsFest 3 is more polished than the previous two JawsFest DVDs. Lou Pisano put a lot of hard work into shooting and editing his JawsFest series, and it's clear that he put what he learned from his first two videos to good use in the third. There are some running gags throughout the movie that stem from the previous JawsFest films, such as a funny Spaghetti Western-esque showdown between two rival Jaws fans--"Sir" Edward McCormack and Mike "Quint" Hadji--that cleverly ties in to a cameo appearance by one of the more popular Jaws cast members. Yet for all of the extras that JawsFest 3 has to offer, the real star here is Martha's Vineyard itself. The island is lovingly photographed, and you will come away from this DVD convinced that Martha's Vineyard was just as essential to the blockbuster success and enduring legacy of Jaws as its cast and crew.
The Pisanos setting up a shot for JawsFest 3 with cameraman Justin White.
The second disc in the JawsFest 3 DVD set has many fun extras (including a peak into Lou Pisano's huge collection of Jaws collectibles), but the crown jewel of them all is a featurette by Justin White entitled, "The Making of Lou and Yana’s JawsFest Trilogy". This featurette lets the Pisanos and a few of their friends who helped with the JawsFest videos share their thoughts about the history of the videos, what it was like to shoot them on location, and the many other Jaws fans they met along the way.
While JawsFest 3 may be the last of the JawsFest videos, it is hardly the last that the Pisanos have to say about the Jaws franchise. At roughly the same time that the JawsFest 3 DVD set became available, the UK publication SCREAM magazine published the first part of Lou’s three-part Jaws 2 retrospective entitled, “The Guts of Jaws 2: Appreciating An Underappreciated Sequel”. Not only does Lou’s article include an analysis of the plot and production of Jaws 2, but it also features interviews that Lou conducted with Joe Alves and some of the actors who appeared in this 1978 sequel. Even though the other two parts of this article will continue in the next two SCREAM issues, this is already shaping up to be one of the most thorough Jaws 2 retrospectives available and is thus a worthy read for avid Jaws fans (as well as for JawsFest completists, of course). Click here to order your copy.
Lou and Yana’s JawsFest trilogy may have begun out of the Pisanos’ love of the Jaws franchise, but what it has grown into is a fun and informative example of the Jaws fan community at its best. As a Jaws franchise fan and movie monster buff, I couldn’t give this series of fan-made videos a higher recommendation. Click here to learn more about how you can own a copy of the JawsFest trilogy.