Day #122: Jaws (1975)

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Jaws (1975) IMDB

Synopsis:

[From IMDB:] When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.

My take:

Honestly, I’m not someone who thinks that you have to have seen particular movies in order to consider yourself a ‘true’ fan of movies (or particular genres), but I do think that people should see Jaws just for the sake of seeing a great example of movie-making.

There are so many good things to say about Jaws. It rides the line between drama and humour with amazing skill. It looks great. It’s so good at building tension where necessary that even a floating jetty manages to feel menacing at one point. And, most importantly, you can tell that the crew and cast – even Robert Shaw, who was obviously sloshed out of his mind during the filming – made Jaws with the love and attention that a story of this kind would rarely get from mainstream movie-makers today.

Jaws is just a joy to watch, even if you’re not interested in the fact that it’s a movie about a handful of people getting killed by a shark large enough, and aggressive enough, to destroy several boats.

Finally, let’s talk about the shark, which – even today – manages to look dangerous. A stiff kind of dangerous, sure – but dangerous all the same. If ever an argument needed to be made about the use of physical special effects in a movie…well. I’d love to see what could be made for a comparable budget (and with a comparably determined director) these days.

Which is not to say that I ever want to see a remake of Jaws. No. Let it be said here and now: if the day ever comes that a Jaws remake is greenlit, that is the day that I will stop watching movies. Because it will be a travesty of such epic proportions that movies will be forever ruined. Because I – we, surely? – just know that they wouldn’t do it justice.

*. Also, if I have to feel traumatised (even as someone who used to be an avid swimmer) by the knowledge that sharks live in the ocean, and have rarely gone into the ocean since I first watched Jaws as a result, then everybody else should suffer, too**.

** Even if I also think that this is a fucking stupid justification to cull sharks, as if they’re somehow in the wrong for attacking people in their own territory.

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