Posts Tagged ‘Steven Spielsburg’
Why I should have seen it already:
A lot of people claim it is the best movie in the world. Not to mention I’ve been way too confident at the beach all these years.
Now That I Have:
The movie starts with camp fire at the beach. Though it doesn’t seem like the event was all that well planned because one dude is playing the harmonic the same time another dude is playing his guitar. And not even the same song! Wait you turns, fellas.
One guy, who is obviously very popular because all his friends have decided to give him tons of space least they smother him with affection, sits alone drinking his beer. This dude (hereby known as “Stinky”) makes googly eyes at another girl sitting even FARTHER away from the group.
Yes! Even MORE popular! She’s just so chummy with everyone. (FIRST BAD SHARK JOKE!)
Anyway, without saying a word she jumps up and runs towards the ocean. Stinky tries to follow her, but he’s too busy answering questions she didn’t ask and falling asleep on the shore. Being asleep, Stinky doesn’t get to hear the girl scream as she’s pulled under after a couple minutes of twirling around the surface of the ocean like a water ballerina.
Meanwhile Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) is having a rough time adjusting to his new job. Brody’s a New York city cop trying to give his family a better life in Amity Island, a beach somewhere in New England. He does this despite the fact that he has a phobia of water and everyone in Amity Island is the worst. The worst!
Amity Island is a beach community that loves nothing more, not even life itself, than making money off of shirtless vacationers. To add to their sins, they take great efforts to shun those who are not born in Amity Island. Only those with Amity Island birth certificates can call themselves ‘islanders’ which is totally cliquey and lame for a bunch of adults. Maybe later they’ll get together and write a new list of the hottest girls in their grade, but leave Rebecca Stewart out of it because she didn’t invite you to her bat mitzvah. The skank. To top things off, people of Amity Island can only communicate through the act of talking over someone else.
So God decided to punish them with a shark.
And punished they were! The girl from the first scene? They find her bits the next morning. Brody knows it’s a shark attack and starts closing down the beaches. Unfortunately, Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), the mayor of Amity Island wants people to swim and spend money at this sweet beach arcade I only got to see in one scene of the movie. So the beaches stay open. Things are great until a kid dies. They say it was the shark but I’m unconvinced. I think he was pulled under by that red geyser that started at his waist. You know how strong the undertow with those things can get. Even still the beaches are left open. Then a creepy dude on a bought trying to talk to a bunch of little boys dies AND THAT IS THE LAST STRAW. Everyone loved that creepy dude.
Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) shows up and wins the movie by being neither unlikable or stupid. He baffles, confounds, and infuriates the locals with big fancy words like “science” and “shark tooth”. Also making appearances is Quint (Robert Shaw), a dude who is paid 10,000 dollars by the town to hunt and kill the shark. Everything you need to know about Quint you get from the scene where he’s introduced. He loves running his nails on chalk boards. He loves to eat crackers while he talks. He has a weird little man servant who is never acknowledged by the film. That is just Quint being Quint.
So Brody, Hooper, and Quint join forces to get the dang shark. Quint’s there because he’s an expert shark catcher. Hooper’s there because he’s a scientist and has experience tracking and catching sharks. Brody is there because the movie has already committed to his being the main character.
Alright, so the first method for catching the shark is Quint’s method. The oooooold fashioned method. Quint, like the fishermen of yore, sticks giant plastic barrels to the shark. The barrels are there to tire the shark out as well as give the audience something visible to be scared of since barrels are cheaper than unreliable shark puppets.
The second method (Hooper’s method!) involves stabbing and drugs and a cage. It goes poorly and Hooper is assumed dead. Then Quint is assumed dead but this assumption is better made since we just saw him get bitten in half by the shark. Though, science has yet to prove that fatal.
Then the shark blows up and its bloody corpse sinks to the ocean while the movie’s prettiest music plays. Also, Hooper’s not dead. He’s a coward.
Hooper and Brody swim home. Friends forever.
Hype, like a shark, dies once you stop to observe it. Or is that quantum mechanics? Either way, Jaws was way too over hyped to me. It was like a dare to find flaws in every frame and that is the easiest game for a critic to play. For instance, the New England accent that is made fun of during the beginning of the film is never heard from again. It’s like it was shamed out of the movie by Brody’s mockery.
Also, instead of hiring decent ones it seems like the entire town Jaws is set in was used for extras. This really took the ‘umph’ out of what should be great dramatic scenes. One too many people were visibly delighted about being in a movie while children were torn to shreds.
And lets not forget the way all actors talk over each other in Amity Island. It makes any scene with more than two people unbearable. Most scenes include everyone in town.
It seems like items were removed from the Jaws’ script. Maybe this was because of editing and time restraints, but it is never revealed why Brody is so scared of the ocean. To add to the mystery, during a “man-off” on Quint’s boat, the crew starts to remove clothing, reveal scars, and cuddle. During Quint and Hooper’s “Who got hurt more?” battle Brody lifts up his shirt to see a mark on his own body but doesn’t mention it.
There’s good stuff though. Hooper is a lovable adventure-nerd who is the only person not being paid to stop the shark. His laughter and rivalry with Quint makes bearable the movie’s cycle of actions where Quint does something crazy –> Everyone works together to solve it –> Things are Okay –> Quint does something crazy again.
Plus, Director Steven Spielsburg uses a lot of restraint. The shark isn’t seen until the second half of the movie. And he allows shark attacks to be important rare moments. Every time a character gets in the water, Jaws doesn’t pop up. It lets the movie breathe, which is appreciated.
Jaws is a decent movie pulled under by annoyances, all nibbling at your toes.