Archived: Review: Jaws (1975) - archived

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Some films are timeless classics, little things become iconic in culture and Jaws is one of those movies that will live forever. Whenever you think of a shark you will be greeted by John Williams iconic musical theme. Whenever you step into the ocean you’ll nervously splash as little as possible. If you cut yourself you’ll always compare your wounds to those of Quint and Hooper in a hope of getting one up on them.

Most films that rely on suspense struggle to stand the test of time, not Jaws. It’s still as scary and intense as it ever was probably for a number of reasons. Firstly we still don’t know what lives in the ocean, what goes through the minds of these creatures below the depths and that alone gives us a cautious feeling. Secondly the way the film is shot, the underwater angles, the silence of the still water and the rare glimpses of the man-eater all create such nervous build up.

This is Spielberg on form, the direction, the camera angles, the wobbling with the sea, everything is spot on. He knew when he spotted this screenplay that it’d be a winner, how right he was. The production was a struggle, three animatronic sharks were built at $250,000 each, the first of which was built on land and when it was first put in water sank straight to the bottom. The shoot swelled from 55 days to over a hundred and it even was nicknamed “Flaws”. Yet for all its troubles, Spielberg still managed to create a legend.

You must know the story by now, small island town Amity is plagued by a man eating shark. The Mayor doesn’t want to close the beach as July 4th weekend comes up but tragedy keeps striking until chief of police Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), shark expert Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) set off to track down the great white and kill it.

This really was the movie that started Spielberg’s career, after Jaws he rolled out “Close Encounters“, “ET” and “Indiana Jones“. Jaws proved to be a huge success at the box office, not surprising after universal pushed out over $700,000 worth of advertising. It was the movie that defined the summer blockbuster and proved that you don’t need multi-million dollar special effects or an 18 certificate to roll out a suspense thriller of iconic proportions.

Jaws has been voted as one of the greatest movies of all time several times over. John William’s score won an Oscar and it alone can define this masterpiece. Some films will age the older they get, some films will lose their sparkle that gave them an edge. Not Jaws. Every bit as thrilling, as exciting and as wonderful as it ever has been.

Archived: Review: Jaws (1975) - archived
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