Jaws (5/14/12) and (8/23/12)

JawsMovie One Hundred Eighteen and Movie One Hundred Ninety Six

Out of those of you that have seen Jaws, how many are still ill at ease for swimming in the ocean?

It’s the beginning of July on popular beach town of Amity Island in New England and there is monster lurking in the water. The town is whipped into a frenzy as people become victims of shark attacks and the mayor demands that the beaches stay open. When the shark attacks continue and they realize the problem will only get worse, police chief Brody (Roy Scheider) calls in a shark expert, Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), charter a boat and its captain, Quinn (Robert Shaw).

To me, Jaws is the perfect monster movie. It’s believable but terrifying. Some may contest the view and argue that it doesn’t even qualify as a horror movie, but consider the shark itself. It doesn’t care who it kills, it’s not killing for any purpose (you could say that it’s feeding, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case) other than territoriality, it’s nearly invincible, it’s enormous, it’s unrelenting, and most of all, it’s a real animal that we can all know of. Considering Jaws is based loosely on a string of shark attacks that happened in an inland creek in Matawan, New Jersey, I think Jaws hits even harder.

Some of you may notice that in addition to watching movies I also enjoy reading and the novel Jaws by Peter Benchley is one I heartily recommend. There are actually quite a few differences, mostly in the character developments, but the soul of the novel gushes from the screen in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation. Considering the age of the film and the technical difficulties presented in the animatronic shark (dubbed “Bruce” by the crew), Jaws is truly a marvel, even today.

When I was younger, two movies left their impressions on me so deep that I am still very weary of the ocean, even though I love it. The first was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – the giant squid literally scared the crap out of me as a kid. The second was Jaws and to this day it remains one of my favorites.

I give it 5 comparing scars out of 5.

[Update]

I had the pleasure of watching the newly restored version of Jaws on the big screen and it was, in one word, stunning. The restoration done is subtle but brilliant. The colors are bright and vibrant and the sound was thunderous. Jaws has never looked or sounded better and the restored version is available on blu-ray too. Over the years, I have seen Jaws numerous times and seeing it as it was meant to be seen was a truly new experience for me. Knowing what was going to happen and when, had no effect on me. Every scare was fresh and I even jumped several times. The tension of the film was like I had never experienced and it made this rewatch of Jaws something I will never forget.

Links:

Rotten Tomatoes

IMDB

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39 responses to “Jaws (5/14/12) and (8/23/12)

  1. It seems many of the films you’ve reviewed recently, I saw when I was younger than 11 years old. Of course, I’ve seen Jaws so many other times. I try to watch it every summer, in fact. It’s the optimal example of a movie that people love to imitate, sometimes without knowing they’re doing so. An even better example is Halloween,which I watch every October 31st. Good review.

    • I think if I watched Jaws too often I would one day snap and be unable to go near the ocean…Still, I’ve seen it at least 15 times.I also tend to watch it when the weather starts getting nice. I love movies that are fun to watch at a certain point in the year, I should do that with Halloween, I currently don’t

  2. “Jaws” is my favorite movie of all time. There is just so much that works in this movie, and it’s extremely re-watchable. Sure, by now the shocks are gone, but I can still take pleasure from the finely-tuned characters, the wit of the screenplay, the artful direction by a young Spielberg, and the grand adventure of three men at see against a (mostly) unseen and unpredictable danger. I dread the day some studio moron decides that it needs to be remade, because there’s no way those elements would ever be captured in that manner again.

    • I had never even considered Jaws being remade but you are absolutely correct. Even though I’ve seen the film so many times, I still barely blink during the entire section of the film on the Orca. No other movie thrills me like this one.

  3. Definitely one of my favorites of all time, and the one which struck me how amazing of a director Spielberg is. His direction in the film matches the intensity that may even be greater than Hitchcock. Great review.

  4. i often list this as my favorite film of all time. part of the reason is that i’ve always had a great fondness for the three main actors, dreyfuss, scheider, and shaw. also, it was the first “grown up” book i had ever read, and thus it was the first movie i had ever seen for which i had read the book before seeing it.

    another big difference between book and movie is that in the book they actually make three trips out into the sea looking for the shark, but i can see how spielberg would condense that for time.

  5. Like “The Shining,” “Jaws” I make a habit to watch every year. Everything about it just reeks love of filmmaking. I love the theme song so much, it’s actually on my iPod. I guess it helps when I’m tailgating someone? Hmm.

    • I haven’t had my yearly (sometimes more frequent) dose of Shining yet…But between Goodfellas, Jaws and The Shining, I’m not sure if I’ve gone more than a year without seeing all three of them.

  6. The film poster still, after thirty-some years, scares the living crap out of me.

    The movie, whilst amongst Spielberg’s best, doesn’t do half as good a job of freaking me out on a primal level.

  7. Anyone who hasn’t seen JAWS should be thrown under the boat. It not only swallowed up every monster movie in the film canon but shows that less is more: hide the fake-looking shark and intensify the fear-factor. You’re going to need a bigger blog:-)

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  11. Reblogged this on Andy Watches Movies and commented:

    I had the pleasure of watching the newly restored version of Jaws on the big screen and it was, in one word, stunning. The restoration done is subtle but brilliant. The colors are bright and vibrant and the sound was thunderous. Jaws has never looked or sounded better and the restored version is available on blu-ray too. Over the years, I have seen Jaws numerous times and seeing it as it was meant to be seen was a truly new experience for me. Knowing what was going to happen and when, had no effect on me. Every scare was fresh and I even jumped several times. The tension of the film was like I had never experienced and it made this rewatch of Jaws something I will never forget.

  12. I have the new BD sitting, waiting for me to unleash it. I’m trying to talk my wife to let me show my 16 and 12 year olds this seminal box office blockbuster. Maybe… this Labor Day weekend ;-). Thanks for the review and that it’s worth it, Andy.

  13. This film still ranks a ten out of ten for me. I loved it when it was on at the cinema and I still jump at many of the same places that scared me on my initial viewing of the film! Good one! 🙂

  14. I saw this one pretty late, and I understood all the hype for it. Sure, it’s cheesy and sometimes elicits giggles that are not intended, but it’s a great thriller, especially for a summer day. Fun review 🙂

  15. Just started reading the book – about 30 pages in. Good read so far. After seeing the movie so many times it is hard to separate the images from it as I read the book.

    I know what you mean about the big screen experience. I got to see the original Friday the 13th on the big screen – believe it or not it was creepy and it made me jump a few times. It never did that to me at home. The theater just changes the watching experience.

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  17. You call Jaws the perfect monster movie. I would go one better, and call it a perfect Movie…it has everything, and not one single second of screen time is wasted. I can’t think of a single scene or line of dialogue which doesn’t progress the plot or build the characters. By the time the obviously rubber shark jumps into the boat, we’re so sold on the trio of Brody, Hooper and Quint that it hardly matters that the shark looks a bit rubbish.

    Regarding Benchley’s novel, I think it is critical to the movie’s feeling of goodwill that the affair between Hooper & Ellen Brody is omitted.

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