Re-Watch: Jaws (1975)

Jaws
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb
Based on: Peter Benchley‘s novel
Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb
Seen on: 11.7.2015

Plot:
Police chief Brody (Roy Scheider) moved to Amity Island in the hope of a calmer life with his family, although he doesn’t like the water. And he likes it even less when people start dying in it, apparently from shark bites. But Amity’s income and survival hinges on the money made from tourists visiting their beaches, so the locals don’t want to hear about closing the beach for safety. But as people keep on getting hurt, something needs to give. Finally, Brody decides to hunt the shark down himself, together with marine biologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and under the leadership of veteran fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw).

I hadn’t seen Jaws since I was a kid and it was both more gruesome and funnier than I remembered it ot be. In any case, it was excellent.

jaws

There were a couple of things that strike me as odd about the film that I never noticed when I was a child. For one, it takes an incredibly long time until the three guys set out on their boat. As I remembered it, the hunt would have taken up at least half of the film – but it turns out it’s only the last 20 minutes or so. I didn’t mind – the scenes on land work just as well as on the boat, but it did surprise me.

Another thing is the soundtrack, by which I don’t mean the famous Jaws melody. Especially during the hunt, the music is light and playful and could have just as well been the leading melody for an adventure montage – which makes it incongruent with the general tension of the hunt and the danger of the situation.

jaws1But apart from that the film worked just as well for me as an adult as for me as a kid (my parents insist that they never allowed us to watch the film and I’d swear that I was much too nice to watch anything behind their backs, but I know that I saw the film when I was somewhere between 8 and 10 years old or so for the first time). Although I appreciated other things now that I didn’t pay much attention to the first time – like the wonderfully perfect scene where the three guys compare their scars. Or the fact that it is simply acknowledget that Hooper needs a rich family background to be able to do what he does how he does it.

With the passing of time, what has certainly grown even mor impressive are the special effects. That shark is a piece of art and utterly realistic. They don’t make ’em like that anymore (at least not until CGI catches up with reality).

What can I say – I’d watch the film again in a heartbeat. And I might have to watch the sequels again as well.

jaws2Summarizing: a beautiful classic for a reason.

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