The third film in my Steven Spielberg collection is Jaws. The thrilling horror film with that remarkable tune from film composer John Williams.
The New York police officer Brody wanted a more quiet life and moved with his wife and kids to the Amity, a small island community which lies off the coast of Massachusetts. A few days before the start of a big event, a girl got killed by a gigantic shark. To make sure the event can continue and the beaches don’t have to be closed, mayor Larry Vaughn puts a price on the shark’s head. The locals all go out on a fishing trip to catch the shark, but the one who got caught is not the shark they are looking for. Therefore agent Brody, marine scientist Hooper and grizzled fisherman Quint team up to catch the great white shark.
Jaws is , like I mentioned before, directed by Steven Spielberg and the story is based on Peter Benchley’s novel from 1974. This novel was quite the success, since it stayed on the bestseller list for some 44 weeks. The film itself was also a big success. Jaws became the highest-grossing film of all time until George Lucas’ Star Wars came along. The three stars of the film are Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss, who all have a very different character. Scheider plays the role of police chief Brody, who has an unclarified fear for water but does go on a hunting trip on water. Shaw plays fisherman Quint, who has a very weird but also hilarious sense of humor and is determined to catch the real shark. Since he has caught sharks more than once sharks. The third person who goes along with this shark hunt is Hooper, a marine scientist who loves sharks and studies them since he was a boy. But before these three men actually go on their hunting trip, the shark makes his presence known and has a few bites.
Despite what Spielberg says in the extra’s, I feel the film never get that scary. besides one time when Hooper takes a dive at midnight. The suspense is amazing though. You might not see the shark, but you know he’s there. Every time you here that tune, composed by John Williams, you know something is about to happen. Due to the fact that the art department’s mechanical sharks suffered many malfunctions, Spielberg decided to mostly suggest the animal’s presence. Which worked pretty well. In my opinion not actually showing the ‘attacker’ but creating a feeling you know he’s there, is in any horror film more thrilling than when you see what is happening and who’s after it. The part where Brody, Hooper and Quint are on their boat, trying to catch the shark is the most interesting part. Not only because of the shark hunt, but because of the three different characters and view on things. How can they work together? The most fascinating character is in my opinion Quint, since he has the most outspoken one.
Of course, Jaws is just a film but what I don’t like to see is the effect a shark attack has on a small town. You see that everyone wants to kill the shark, instead of not swimming in the ocean. In fact Steven Spielberg has said that he initially found many of the characters unsympathetic and wanted the shark to win. I feel the same way and therefore I don’t feel any sympathy with the characters. I also love sharks and since they are predators you can get attacked when you’re in their area. That’s of course very sad, but to kill it because of it’s in their nature? I also thought the big ending was kind of lame. According to the extra’s Spielberg himself was very positive about the ending, but I thought is was stupid and unbelievable. Spielberg agreed on the fact that the blown up was somewhat unreal, but he wanted a big ‘splash’ and that’s what you get!
Jaws is a film with great suspense and the theme song composed by John Williams is a tune you’ll never forget. It gives the film this more thrilling vibe you know something is about to happen. The film never gets really scary but there are a few thrilling moments. The best part of the film is when the three main characters are on the boat together to find and kill the great white shark. Something I didn’t like was the unsympathetic characters who wanted to kill the shark too badly. I love sharks and respect them. Untill my next Spielberg review!!