Movie Review: Jaws (1975)

Thank you, Bruce!

Yes, we all should thank Bruce The Mechanical Shark, but none more so than Mr. Spielberg. During filming, Bruce(named after Spielberg's lawyer)was so erratic and often malfunction, leaving Spielberg with no choice but to shoot the movie as the shark's POV, rather than reveal the whole damn things.

Fear of the unknown. That's where Jaws really work. We, as audience do not know what is really attack those victims, are we seeing from the shark's view when we roam underwater through the paddling kids? Our imagination kick in, the tension keep rising which keep us on edge. In fact we didn't get a proper sight of the 25 footer until 80 mins into running time! that's where Chief Brody uttered the immortal line: "Your're gonna need a bigger boat".

The movie was adapted from Peter Benchley's same name bestseller. It was inspired by a real event known as The Jersey Beach Shark Attacks in 1916 (4 fatalities within 12 days!). Jaws is about a small resort island, Amity Island, terrorized by a gigantic Great White shark. The town mayor refused to close the beach due to the lucrative tourist business. but body count is rising. Later, a group of trio, a perfect casting consists of a police chief- Brody (played by Roy Scheider), shark expert- Matt (Richard Dreyfuss) and seasoned fisherman- Quint (Robert Shaw) set out to battle with the creature.

Who can forget the opening young girl skinny dipping scene?! Perhaps one of the most horrifying movie moment SowYau have ever seen! There are so many memorable scenes such as, when Matt bump into Ben underwater, or the near ill-attempt by two half-baked fishermen to catch the shark or Quint's memorable U.S.S. Indianapolis speech. Jaws was Spielberg's template to stretches his full ablility in a few pivotal scenes, namely the reverse tracking zoom scene (1st used in Hitchcock's Vertigo), where Chief Brody realized the Kintner boy is being chewed up. Also, SowYau in particular like the cleverly switching between floating cam and steady cam on the 3 men in a boat scene.

SowYau asked his sister, "hey, what can your recall of watching Jaws in the theater?"

"what do u expect? i was only about 3 years old at that time, the only thing i remember is the shark is always playing hide and seek." My sister uttered.

What she didn't mention was, that fateful night (according to SowYau's parents), she was wandering around in the hall, lost her direction until an usher helped her find our parents. All these happened while our parents are among the packed audience terrified by this brilliant piece of moviemaking.

SowYau wish he had the privilege to watch Jaws in the big-ass theater. The truth is he was not even born in 1975 when Jaws single-handedly introduced the concept so-called summer blockbuster event which develop the movie release pattern today (you know blockbuster movie? heavy marketing campaign, huge number of screen open simultaneously, movie merchandise etc etc). Jaws was such a pop culture phenomenon, it inspired 3 inferior movie sequels. For the record, SowYau with the whole family watched the 4th part - Jaws The Revenge, coincidentally, his friend, K.S.H. was there as well. Haha. Also, John Williams' effective score was constantly spoofed in movies, there is a Unversal Theme Park, endless of movie merchandise products such as this lovely limited edition Jaws "Attck Shark" Figure" http://www.bigbadtoystore.com/bbts/product.aspx?product=DMC10683&mode=retail , SowYau want it badly! can it be his next year Valentine's Day present?

SowYau has a secret: he has been fascinated by sharks ever since the first time he watched Jaws on TV, he was about 7 years old and was immersely traumatized by it. All these years, SowYau read books about sharks, watch NatGeo or Animal Planet's shark documentary, knew the amazing story about Rodney Fox, despise "shark finning" act (Google it, will you?) therefore refuse to serve shark fin soup on his wedding dinner (but eventually the idea was vetoed by his parents). SowYau learn a lot about sharks, but no matter what, SowYau still get scared every single time he swims in the ocean.

In Sowyau's opinion, Jaws is Spielberg finest hour, it creates the perfect combination of suspense and sheer terror. (His Schindler's List and Jurassic Park are SowYau's favourites as well). Forget about SowYau's 5 stars description below, it's already a proven classic, one of the best, period. But when comes to categorize what genre is Jaws, is it Thriller? Horror? Adventure? Or all roll into one? Answer on a postcard and sent to SowYau, please.

1 star = Pathetic, SowYau feel ashamed of watching it
2 stars = Off the mark material, approach with caution
3 stars = Generally good, you should watch it if it's your favourite genre
4 stars = excellent, strongly recommended
5 stars = A classic status? only time will tell. But it is definitely in SowYau's Hall of Fame List


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