For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!
Jaws- another classic film on this list that I have not seen before. Like most of the others like it, I enjoyed this one too.
The first scene gives us a glimpse into the horrors that this massive shark is capable of. A girl is dead in the summer tourist beach town of Amity, and the new Chief of Police Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) struggles to close the beaches. The Mayor (Murray Hamilton) is only concerned about the cash flow that comes in during the summer season. They hold a town hall meeting to tell the locals and merchants of the danger. Sam Quint (Robert Shaw) gives a foreboding speech of what is to come, but the town is focused on its economic needs and having fun in the sun. Brody calls in an expert on sharks, Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), who does research and investigation. A shark is caught, but Hooper discovers the killer shark is still on the loose. All appeals to the mayor fall on deaf ears.
When another victim is discovered the mayor cannot stand in the way anymore. Brody, Hooper and Quint sail off to face the shark on the open water. There are some very cool moments aboard this ship. The characters are expanded further and given real depth. The story line unfolds into a horrible fight for survival from this blood-thirsty shark. The shark itself while underwater is mysterious and frightening. Above water however he’s showing his age. It looks like a well made but half-broken robot shark that was likely incredible in 1975, but by today’s standards doesn’t meet par. As ‘Jaws’ is a thriller and not a comedy, it’s necessary to believe that the shark is actually after these people to be believable, and only falls a little flat in the areas when the shark breaks the surface. All in all the movie does hit the mark- a young director Spielberg creates a classic, and John Williams gives us one of the most recognizable pieces of music in movie history.
I want to note here also that I think sharks are incredible and are creatures to be respected, not feared. Also I absolutely love Shark Week on the Discovery channel, and all throughout this film I was thinking, oh- that statement about sharks is outdated… and so is that one. The film’s key mistake was portraying great white sharks as vengeful predators that would remember certain humans and hunt them to settle a grudge. It is sad and shameful that this film spurred dozens of shark fishing tournaments, based on the thought that they were ‘man-killers’. At least an inadvertent benefit came about in that because of the calamitous drop in shark numbers (this film had only been a part of a growing shark-hunting trend) scientists became aware of the need to learn more about sharks. This resulted in increased funding for research, and knowledge of these incredible creatures . Hopefully with shows like those on the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and other similar programs we are becoming more aware that sharks are just something you need to be aware of like anything else in a natural environment.
In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns: