If there's ever been a movie that terrified more people of something so trivially simple as the water than "Jaws" did, I would like to know what it is. This movie was such a box office hit that it claimed to be the highest grossing film for a couple of years until "Star Wars" dethroned it. "Jaws" is also the film that put Steven Spielberg of the map, metaphorically. Although many people consider "Jaws" to be Spielberg's debut film incorrectly, it is the film that launched his career.
"Jaws" is based on the book by Peter Benchly which in turn is roughly based on situation that happened when a rogue shark attacked beaches in New England in 1916. The movie begins with one of the most famous death scenes in film history and the introduction to John William's iconic score for the movie. When the remains of the first victim roll up on the shore it sets the dominoes falling and we see that "Jaws" is a very interesting blend of monster horror and political greed.
Brody is the Sheriff of Amity Island, it's right before their busy season. Brody is a little nervous about the shark attack and wants to close the beach but is held up by a mayor who knows that shutting the beaches down will lose all sorts of money.
So they wait and they wait and it doesn't take long before the second attack which happens right in front of Brody's eyes. He now insists that the beaches be closed; but some fishermen claim that they have caught the shark.
Enter Hooper, a marine biologist who specializes in sharks and shark behaviors. He examines the remains of the first victim and knows that this shark is still on the loose.
Enter Quint, the crusty sea-captain and shark-hater. Brody, Quint, and Hooper set off to capture and kill the shark if they can.
"Jaws" was an infamous picture to make; over-budget, a pain to shoot, and rife with problems that included a malfunctioning shark. But everything came together to make a masterpiece of a thriller.
"Jaws" might be antiquated today but what makes the film work is how little you see of the shark. Because the robot was faulty they had to work around seeing the beast until the last possible second which really adds to the suspense that builds up. When we finally see the shark (#18 on AFI's best villain's list) it does look a little fake but it's still remarkably scary.
Everything about "Jaws" is revolutionary. Even the poster itself (pictured below) is possibly the most well known movie poster in history.
Add on to that, the trifecta of acting with Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss; and you get yourself a very good movie.
This movie was effective enough to scare an entire generation out of swimming—what other movie did that?
"Jaws" is a staggering masterpiece that doesn't overstep its bounds which is what makes it so great.
Score: 4 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones