The best shark movie ever, one of the best of all time, and my favorite movie. Jaws is everything I love about movies and is one of my earliest memories seeing a movie and having a life changing experience. Maybe when I first watched it and ever since then I have both loved sharks and hated going very far into the ocean, but either way the movie changed me in more than just that. There are two movies that have put me on the course of my love for movies and all the way up to this point of writing the review and that would be Jaws and Star Wars. Now if you’ve been keeping up with my recent shark related movie reviews or other movies similar in design then you have probably noticed that I compare all of them to Jaws. Watching for the 600th time was sure to give me a new experience though right?
If you thought I was going to come into this review after seeing it as many times as I have and just start saying how I was wrong and how I actually don’t like the movie at all then you are sadly mistaken. Even having seen this movie as much as I have and practically knowing the script by heart isn’t enough to deter my love for it. I guess to start off this review I will go ahead and get into the bad aspects or what I don’t like about this movie for which there are actually a few things.
Again I’m just kidding, I sat and thought about it for a long time and I really can’t come up with anything I don’t like about this movie. I’m sure I could come up with some kind of silly response like how the shark realistically shouldn’t be chasing them or attacking the way it does, but I’m also not an expert on sharks and I really don’t care how accurate that part is because the movie is awesome.
I would almost go out on a limb and say that it all hinged on Spielberg directing the hell out of it while also being completely snubbed at the Oscars that year, but it’s a collection of him, the acting, and the writing. Ultimately it does come down to the directing being able to pull all of that together, but all three of those aspects make up how great this movie is. Who am I kidding, I can’t forget the iconic score by John Williams! Without which we wouldn’t have one of the most iconic film scores of all time. Let alone one that is so simple yet so perfect at the same time.
Going back to Spielberg though. I’m sure many of you know about all of the issues that this movie had while filming and I won’t talk much about how the movie was destined to fail, but the funny thing is that it didn’t fail yet it should of. Destiny was defeated by a young upstart director and came out of the gates not only pulling together a movie that nobody thought would work, but also giving us the birth of the summer blockbuster and a movie that will forever be etched in history for all of these points and more.
Ironically enough it was many of the issues they had on set with the mechanics and the actual water that caused his directing to be even better. The tension was expertly crafted from start to finish with the buildup of the shark. Both because the shark wasn’t working early on and because Spielberg was able to improvise as well as he did. He perfectly captured the fear of the people from the threat of the shark while also giving us fantastic development from our characters from start to finish.
Characters and the actors that play them can make or break a movie as well and the cast of this movie couldn’t have been better. Brody had the best character arc coming from the city to a small town and not liking the water to being the hero at the end of the film in the middle of the ocean. Hooper is the perfect example of a guy who is intelligent but not necessarily street smart yet fits in perfectly with Brody who is like us not so knowledgeable about sharks. Both of them perfectly fit with the final of our trio Quint. He’s the one with the street smarts, the rough edge and experience that teaches both of them while also falling victim many times to his own arrogance.
These characters and the actors that play them are the heart of this movie and it wouldn’t have been as successful had it not been for their incredible on screen chemistry together. The perfect example of this is the scene at night on the boat when they’re all hanging around talking to each other. We get both the heartfelt side of these characters as they laugh and joke about their scars, but in an instant it all changes tone when quint gives one of the best monologues in movies.
The monologue is everything you could want out of an actor, the writing, and the directing. The monologue was captured perfectly on screen as Quint gives us insight into his tragic history as well as deepening the seriousness of what true terror a shark can be. It develops him to the point where we know why he is who he is and why he makes the decisions he does. It’s a moment that not only makes us understand him but also Brody and Hooper which further develops the connection they all have.
I know I have talked mostly about the half of the movie when they’re on the boat together, but the first half of this movie is just as solid. We get fantastic buildup from the opening scene and first attack all the way to the last attack before Brody goes out to sea. The story at this point is the perfect example of a situation where things get worse the longer you put them off. I know a lot of movies have copied this formula or maybe even Jaws copied it at some point, but the point is that we slowly see the terror that is the shark develop with Brody at the same time.
It’s very much man vs monster but they are both playing off of each other despite them not actually interacting till much later on. As the shark continues its attacks, Brody is led more and more to the ocean where he doesn’t want to be. Of course it’s all the mayors fault, but it’s also ironic that the shark essentially lured Brody to the ocean, but then Brody overcame his fear to finally be the one to defeat it.
I could go on and on about this movie for a review that could last several thousand words if not over ten thousand words if I wanted it to, but I’m not going to torture all of you who have most likely seen the movie plenty of times before. This is a movie that as I stated in the beginning is my favorite movie of all time and has been one of the most impactful movies of my life and love for film. I will of course recommend it to anyone and everyone no matter who you are just because I love it so much, but I’m also sure that many of you have in fact seen it already, and if you have then I’m here to tell you to go watch it again because it’s awesome.
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