Thursday, July 28, 2016

JAWS




Jaws 9/10

Sit back, close your eyes and conjure up the theme to Jaws. We all know it, we use it when we sense danger or when we see that trouble is about to happen, jokingly of course. But those two chords, when used in the proper context, will send a chill up your spine.

Steven Spielberg knocked it out of the park with this mega blockbuster movie. It scared people so much, that attendance at beaches dropped considerably. Although, hearing it from Spielberg himself, who, by the end of making the film really hated the process because of all the problems that happened during the film.

The shark didn't work properly when in the water, George Lucas broke the shark, Robert Shaw was a handful and even getting the rights to the movie and writing the script were a pain. But look at the outcome. With all of these problems, innovation took over and Spielberg worked around the issues to create a masterpiece of movie making. Scary, dramatic and intense, the film works so well, that even after 40 years, you can still watch it and be terrified.

Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw are the focus of the last act of the film, with them getting ready to hunt this mammoth great white shark that has been terrorizing and feeding off the people of that live on Amity island (Nantucket, Massachusetts) and the film gets even better when it focuses on these three characters. Sure, the movie, overall, is beautiful and intelligent, but watching the interaction between these guys is where Spielberg was able to take the film in a direction that, at the time, people weren't used to.

Most of the film is different from the book, as is noted by Spielberg, about 27 scenes that aren't in the book are in the movie. Benchley wrote about three scripts, calling it quits after the third one because he was tapped out. Several other writers took a stab at the script or were brought in to polish it before filming started.

That's why the ending is so good. Spielberg loved the last 120 pages of the book written by Benchley. Spielberg wanted to change everything about the book for the movie except those last 120 pages, because he loved the shark hunt. It shows in the film too and that's why it is also my favorite part of the movie.

You can see that the actors were not friendly with each other, you can tell that they had issues with each other, mostly with Quint. Even when they started getting drunk and singing songs, Quint interrupts to tell his sobering story of surviving a shark attack in WWII when his ship got hit and started sinking. The idea that Robert Shaw was a cantankerous old bastard with a drinking problem sells the character of Quint. Quint is Shaw and that's what makes this character so great. It's also what makes the end of the movie so compelling. You can see it in the actors faces, they hate being on the boat, they pretty much dislike Quint and they just want this to be over with.

When real life crosses paths with movie making and you can see the wear and tear on the faces of the actors, you have a good movie. Jaws was the beginning of the summer Blockbuster and who better to do it than Steven Spielberg and John Williams.

As a side note, whenever anyone brought up Jaws the movie and my father was in earshot, he would pipe up and tell everyone that the shark was named after him. Most everyone believed him. The shark was named Bruce after all.

Jaws (1975)
PG | 2h 4min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller | 20 June 1975 (USA)

When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and a grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Peter Benchley (screenplay), Carl Gottlieb (screenplay)
Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss

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