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Jaws (Widescreen Anniversary Collector's Edition)

Steven Spielberg's 1975 adventure thriller about three men who must hunt down a maneating Great White shark.

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Still in need of a bigger boat.

  • Jul 14, 2012
Rating:
+5
**** out of ****

The dead body that is discovered washed up on Amity Island's beach in Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" will instantly remind most people of mystery and noir films of the past. In those films, the killer is human, whereas here; it is not. The body belongs to a girl who went swimming in the ocean the night before and never came back. We saw something attack her off-camera from the blue abyss. Her body is found mutilated beyond comprehension; her limbs separated from her torso. This is clearly not the work of a boat collision. No, the only thing that could do this in these areas is a shark. In the perimeter of the island, they are rarely ever seen, but the locals know they're there. But these are people with the mentality of us all; if something is not frequently threatening, then we shan't let it spoil our fun. This is their twisted philosophy on the matter.

Chief-of-Police Martin Brody (Roy Schneider) wants the beaches to be closed down until they can successfully capture the shark. He's called in a marine biologist who specializes in these animals to assist. But the 4th of July is only a few days away, and this is a profitable time for the island as it means hundreds-to-thousands of beach bums will be roaring into its gates hoping for a nice weekend by the sea; which is why the Mayor insists that the beaches remain open and available to the public. But then, disaster strikes. The famous scene at the beach in which the shark takes the life of a middle-aged woman's little boy. Her hysteria puts the islanders in a state of wide-spread panic; and soon, large groups of fisherman are boarding their boats to set out and try to bring back the dead corpse of the shark that killed the child. It is at this moment that the marine biologist - Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) - arrives.

Within the second act, the boats return and the men believe they've found, captured, and killed the shark responsible for the kid's death. Hooper examines it further and requests that he be able to gut it so that he may see what's currently in its digestive track. The size of the captured shark's mouth did not match that of the bite-marks on the dead girl's corpse - or at least what remained of it. And sure enough; they got the wrong one. It's time for Brody to take the initiative; he assembles a crew - him, Hooper, and the fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) - and sets sail for the very ocean which the shark freely roams. With them they bring explosives, harpoons, guns, and barrels attached to the combination of the last two so that they may track the shark if the harpoon successfully makes contact with its flesh. And there goes the third act.

This is certainly one of the best thrillers there is. The plot is set-up simplistically enough, but the set-up itself works well for the film; the complexions are hidden beneath, and they beckon any viewer who truly loves the film to keep revisiting it again and again. But each act is executed with such utter finesse that you soon stop caring about "simplicity" or even "predictability". Even the great films have their flaws - hell, EVERY film does - but when it comes to the major and logical complaints, there aren't too many to be made in regards to "Jaws". Spielberg proves that he is a fierce and relentless filmmaker; not only gifted with a distinctive style, but also with the ability to stage gut-wrenching tension. I don't suppose this film will ever age as so many of its predecessors - good, bad, or just plain ugly - have. That's why it's so great to wear the title of a true original. Nobody had yet considered staying out of the water before it. But the impact has left its mark on our society and has even inspired other shark movies to reassure us that it's not always safe to take a dip. To say the least, it's made us fear the black-ish jagged fin more than anything else out there.

This film's shark is old-school animatronic. Upon revisiting "Jaws", I can now safely rest on the opinion that animatronic sharks will almost always be more genuinely scary than the fancy CGI ones that we see so much of today. Perhaps the only thing more frightening is a real shark, and oh, that's just too risky by the standards of most modern filmmakers. Spielberg used to make movies into magic; with effects that were - for the time - state of the art, he would draw you in to what I like to call the cinematic experience. "Jaws" is a killer shark movie written in gore, POV shots from the perspective of the swimming shark, and a suspenseful musical score by John Williams that anticipates the approaching animal as it comes full-speed ahead. The whole thing whizzes by very fast indeed. It's an experience, a stimulating one, and no other killer shark movie can even hope to compare (but of course, a few have tried).

It's debatable whether this is a horror film or a thriller, although I like to consider it the latter. I don't know why. The difference often times feels nigh indistinguishable. The emotions that the film elicits are no different from that of most horror films (or at least the good ones), yet it's based on mood and tension rather than blood and gore (although it still delivers in such departments). Then again, so are the best of horror films. It's not worth arguing about. "Jaws" is quite possibly one of my favorite thrillers because it doesn't sacrifice intelligence or its characters for the scares. It still holds up real well today, and is almost certain to fry your nerves. It's 2012, and when the film first made its debut it was 1975; yet we're still gonna need a bigger boat.

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More Jaws (1975 film) reviews
review by . January 31, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
scene
"You're going to need a Bigger Boat..."   On February 11,2008, almost a year ago, Roy Scheider, the actor who said the famous line in this enduring classic monster film passed on to the next life. What better way to wrap up my horror "reviewing streak" than to pay tribute to one of the lead actors in the best monster film ever made. I will review this as a film made in 1975 and not in 2000, it would be unfair to review a classic as modern one.     JAWS (1975) is the …
review by . December 23, 2008
posted in Screen Gems
Jaws 30th Anniversary Edition DVD
-This review pertains to the Jaws: 30th Anniversary Edition DVD-       In 1975, a young up and coming director named Steven Spielberg (Duel and The Sugarland Express) became America's premier filmmaker with his motion picture adaptation of Peter Benchley's novel, Jaws. Upon its theatrical release Jaws quickly became a cultural phenomenon, embraced by critics and audiences alike. It's hard to believe, but it's been over thirty years since the film debuted and Jaws still keeps …
review by . September 08, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
If you want to learn about the movie that created the summer blockbuster phenomenon (I've never understood that, wouldn't it make more sense to release the biggest movies in the winter when people who live away from the equator are trapped indoors and looking for things to do instead of in the summer when it's nice out), make sure you pick up JAWS. One of Steven Spielberg's earliest films and his first true masterpiece from a directing standpoint and a box office success, this movie is rare masterpiece. …
review by . July 29, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
For several summers, my family and I vacationed on Martha's Vineyard where much of this film was shot (renamed Amity Island). You can imagine how eager we were to see the film when it was first released. So many locations were familiar. We also spotted several friends who appear briefly as extras. However, we were certainly not prepared to be as frightened we were by several scenes. (Those who have already seen this film know which ones.) If I recall correctly, this was the first film which Steven …
review by . May 25, 2003
**** ½ Who hasnt heard of Jaws? From the legendary theme from John Williams to the image of a monstrous shark approaching from the depths, Jaws is a classic, a legend, and a masterpiece.In case you havent heard the story, Jaws focuses on Martin Brody (Scheider), the hard-working chief of police on Amity Island. After a girls mutilated body is found on the beach, Brody calls in oceanographic scientist Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss) to examine the body and tell the town whats happening. Whats happening …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #5
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie

Wiki

In the vastly overrated 1998 bookEasy Riders, Raging Bulls, author Peter Biskind puts the blame for Hollywood's blockbuster mentality at least partially on Steven Spielberg's box-office success with this adaptation of Peter Benchley's bestselling novel. But you can't blame Spielberg for making a terrific movie, whichJawsdefinitely is. The story of a Long Island town whose summer tourist business is suddenly threatened by great-white-shark attacks on humans bypasses the potboiler trappings of Benchley's book and goes straight for the jugular with beautifully crafted, crowd-pleasing sequences of action and suspense supported by a trio of terrific performances by Roy Scheider (as the local sheriff), Richard Dreyfuss (as a shark specialist), and particularly Robert Shaw (as the old fisherman who offers to hunt the shark down). The sequences on Shaw's boat--as the three of them realize that in fact the shark is huntingthem--are what entertaining moviemaking is all about.--Marshall Fine
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Details

Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Adventure, Classics, Drama, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: 1975
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: July 11, 2000; June 14, 2005
Runtime: 125 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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