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5 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Steven Spielberg

Written By:
Carl Gottlieb, Peter Benchley

Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Peter Benchley

Buy on DVD
Jaws (1975)
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Movie Review by Seth C
October 17th, 2006

Something funny about me is that even though I love film as much as I do, I rarely check out older films that were released before my birth in 1981. If a film didn't hit the screens until the late eighties then more than likely I've never seen it. It's not that I have anything against older films, it's just that with new films constantly being released, I feel I just don't have the time to go back to the stepping-stones.

This is probably why I just finally got around to watching the classic - and perfect - "Jaws."

If you know me then you'll know I'm not much of a Steven Spielberg fan. I have found his later pictures like "Minority Report," "Munich" and even "Saving Private Ryan" to be wonderful pieces to the puzzle of cinema, however the "Jurassic Park" and "E.T." family-friendly pictures he's helmed I've not felt as being all that amazing. Are they good films? Sure, with no doubt. However, the problem is for me to really respect a director (as if any director needs my respect), they have to do something that really impresses and/or moves me, which sadly an alien wanting to "phone home" doesn't. This why I never felt the need to see "Jaws," which I figured was just going to be another overhyped film from the past that was probably landmark making at the time, however somewhat cheesy when see with a pair of today's CGI amazed eyes.

Thankfully, I was completely wrong in every sense of the way.

"Jaws" is one of the most suspenseful, well-crafted films I have probably seen to date. The right notes are hit every step of the way except, maybe, with John Willams score, which at times seems too light and family-film like for the images we're seeing. There's no doubt in my mind that those famous cords we hear as we're witnessing the shark's P.O.V. sends fear up our spine, however certain other choices Willams makes with his score seem generic, or at least generic by today's standers. Still, the film doesn't lose any of it's gusto because of the dated score or even some of the dated violent shots Spielberg zeroed in on as the villian shark attacked it's prey. For goodness sake, the film was made over three decades ago so I'm sure Spielberg and Willams didn't think that their style would be copied as many times over as it has been.

Of course, the key element to any film is it's story and the story "Jaws" plays out is a terrifying, well-blanced thrill-ride that is brought to life by Spielberg's God-given cinematic eye, and the performances by the film's three main players, Roy Scheinder, Richard Dreyfuss and the outstanding Robert Shaw. I never quite understood why so many people called director M. Night Shyamalan a 'Spielberg hack' until I witnessed the first twenty minutes of "Jaws." Spielberg moves his camera not as if it's a filmmaking device, but instead like it's another pair of eyes in the room. What we're seeing is a part of the story that words don't need to be wasted on while the images of what we're not seeing propel the story and our involement in the story to a whole other level. The style of directing that I've called Night's for so long now, I see is a homage to Spielberg's, which is probably a homage to Hitchcock's and so on and so on.

Of course, the most pleasing attribute of "Jaws" is Robert Shaw. Here is an actor who I have no knowledge of other then the film "The Sting," in which I thought Shaw did a wonderful job. However, here he creates a character like Quint, who may be crazy and/or a over-the-hill drunk, however he is so fascinating and fleshed-out by Shaw that we quickly grow fond of him. I know people in my own life that are just like Quint. Hell, I have love for people in my own life that are just like Quint. The ugliness and anger and hate that it seems the Quint character is filled with seems to be justified before the film's credit's roll. And God bless Robert Shaw who brings Quint to life in what I think may be one of the best performances I've ever seen.

So, after years of having no intrest in this film, know that not only have I finally viewed "Jaws," I've also bought it on DVD, thought about every second since I first viewed and have talked about it in great detail to all who would listen. I am so in love with this film that I am ashamed that's it's taking me all of my life to see.


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Oct 17, 2006 12:48 PM
Well said, my friend. I really need to look at this picture again -- my recollection of it is poor. I do remember the dated music -- awesome point there. And I'm definitely interested to check out this Shaw performance. Great review!

Oct 18, 2006 5:50 AM
We watch this movie at least 3 times a year. It has got to be one of the greates movies made. It does hit every note perfectly. And don't be ashamed, I just recently saw "To Kill A Mockingbird" myself.

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