OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


Jaws (1975)

A group of hippies is hanging out on the beach, gathered around a bonfire, having a good time. Two of them run off to go swimming in the ocean - actually, a girl runs off to do so, and a guy tries to follow her. But man, is he stoned, and he decides to lie down on the beach during this lovely nightfall. The sun is nearly down, and he falls asleep, whilst the young lady is swimming in the fresh, wonderful water.


...but something deadly is coming, closing in from under the water.

And the silence is broken by screams.

Jaws starts out promising. Shame on me, for I have never watched the movie in my whole life. But it already fills me with a sense of nostalgia for those good old times - back then when there were still hippies, when smoking was okay in a movie and didn't automatically make you the main-villain, when people could have a drink. Good old times - with that wonderful 70s hair-do.

No, that's not what I meant by "70s hair-do".

The new Chief (from New York), Martin Brody (played by Roy Scheider) suspects a shark attack after the mangled body of the girl I mentioned above are found and wants to close the beach; but this idea is met with resistance from the town's mayor, Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), as Amity Island is dependent on the summer tourist season - and reports of shark attacks would devastate this much needed income.

After a boy of about 8 is eaten by the shark, Vaughn is convinced, and the beach is closed.

The mourning parents.

The dead child's mother places a bounty on the beast, which suddenly makes shark-hunting a very popular pastime for a lot of brave, courageous men - from all over the States. One of them is Quint (Robert Shaw) - a hardened and seasoned veteran of shark-hunting - with his boat, the Orca.

Meanwile, the marine biologist Matt Hooper arrives in Amity. After having a look at the remains of the victims, he is convinced that the shark responsible for the attacks is a Great White - and, judging from the bite marks, it's a GIANT.

It's a shark!

A big one, even!

...but it's not the shark that attacked and killed the victims - the bite marks are different.

After cutting open the shark that has been caught (and of course, everyone thinks that it's the shark responsible for the attacks, for Raptor Jesus knows that there is only one shark in the ocean), they find out that the animal's intestines hold fish and garbage, but no human remains.

Rummaging around in the gastro-intestinal tract.

A Great White (Carcharodon carcharias) is responsible for the kills - and still, Vaughn intends to open the beaches on July 4th, as he is sure that there is no problem whatsoever left - now that "the shark" has been caught and killed. This is a disaster waiting to happen... for there still lurks the perfect killing machine.

This is what a shark can do to you when he's test-biting you to see if you're tasty.

And this topic also makes for great dinner conversations!

Gods. I've always loved sharks. They are wonderful, fascinatingly beautiful animals. I stand in awe before them - they are evolutionary perfect. Praise the sharks. Underwater-creatures generally make me happy (although I admit to being partial to deep-sea monsters - they are pretty, awesome, nifty and just adorably cute, with those big eyes and big teeth... *wants to cuddle them all*), and sharks are something that makes me more happy than your average fish. They are just... perfect. I admit it, I stand in awe before the Selachimorpha, the most successful predators from the Ordovician on. *happy sigh*...

What a wonderful day to be out at sea...

Closing in...

After a prank goes terribly wrong, resulting in the death of one more person by shark (nearly killing Brody's oldest son in the process), the Chief of Police manages to convince the mayor to hire Quint, the professional shark-hunter - because something needs to be done. And so, Brody and the marine biologist with city hands (I'm talking about Hooper here) join the weathered hunter on his boat, the Orca - setting out to kill the man-eater*.

Dead meat.

There's no way around it: Jaws is a superb movie. Usually, I'm not that big a fan of animal flicks, as I've always felt them to be a cheap shot at humanity's fear of creatures it doesn't understand - but Jaws is different. Everything fits - the camerawork comes natural and easy, showing us exactly what we need to see in order for the movie to work.

Steven Spielberg just knows what he is doing, and it clearly shows that this movie is not some horror flick produced and directed by someone with good intentions (or should that be 'bad intentions', considering the usual themes present in horror?) but not the technical abilities to pull it off, but instead a horror movie that has been created by one of the best directors the US of A have produced - and this is definitely one of his best movies.

Another thing I noticed is the timelessness of the movie. Yes, it's from 1975, and usually I am not the biggest fan of 70s movies, either (granted, there are exceptions, but speaking of decades, the 70s just don't make it to my "favourite decades in the world of horror"-list - might just be that I watched the wrong movies as of yet, though... I definitely plan on extending my experience with that time-period!) - but Jaws just ...works. You don't become distracted by what is, for me, a period long gone (I mean sheesh, I wasn't even alive back then) - the plot and the suspense just draw you in.

And the shark... oh Gods. He is beautiful. We never really see him until we're close to the end of the movie, and this technique of only showing us glimpses of the magnificent beast works out really well (better than in Alien in my opinion - which reminds me that I finally need to write that review *sighs*) - and when we get to see it, it truly is majestic. Estimated to be 25 feet long (~ 8 m) and to weigh in at 3 tons... I think I have fallen in love.

The score by John Williams also adds a lot to the experience that is Jaws. It is perfect (and I usually don't easily call a movie soundtrack 'perfect', unless I am absolutely sure and can detect no single instance of it not contributing to the feeling, ood and effect of the movie in question), and combined with the superb acting by all of the actors involved just adds that certain something that marks a hallmark of a movie.

Speaking of the acting... our three leads are flawless. My personal favourite is Richard Dreyfuss in his role as marine biologist Matt Hooper - a rich, well thought-out character that we care for and understand (well, at least I understood the whole "scientists really love their work with something not just bordering on but surpassing obsession"-thing...).
Roy Scheider (as the main character Police Chief Martin Brody) also does a more than good job - his performance is not over the top, but instead has all the marks of a really good, experienced actor. He is nigh perfect in his role.

On a related note - it made me very happy to see that the actor who played the first eaten child, Alex Kintner, has been played by one Jeffrey Voorhees. Yes, I know - it's easy to make me happy.

I guess what really makes this movie what it is is the fact that Spielberg manages to keep a constant tension in the movie. The water becomes something threatening, something we cannot trust any longer - even bright, happy and inconspicuous scenes of people hanging out at the sunlit beach, swimming in the water gain an underlying sense of dread - for we never know when the shark is going to strike again, dragging down his next hapless meal... errr, I meant "the next poor victim".

The water isn't really that appealing anymore...

Subtle dread.

I fully approve of this movie - in fact, I consider it to be Spielberg's best as of now.

And if you're interested in learning more about sharks... Wikipedia is your friend:


9/10 magnificent apex predators...

*I swear it - I didn't copy Wikipedia. I only noticed the eerie similarity after looking up the details on how much money this blockbuster made back in the days.