September 12, 2011

Jaws (1975)

"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."

I wasn't allowed to see this when it first came out in spite of having only a PG-rating but I read the Peter Benchley books and it wasn't too long before it got shown regularly on TV. I can't remember when I first saw "Jaws" exactly but I know that it gave me a dread of sharks or anything underwater ever since.

I do remember how it scared a lot of people at the time and it even affected holidaymakers who were too scared to go back in the water during the hottest ever British Summer of 1976. It's funny how they could even believe that there might be Great Whites off the coast of Devon and Cornwall but they did! Even in 1983 when I brushed a Basking shark with my foot while swimming in the North Sea where it joins Norfolk, I almost soiled myself! Yeah, I could have gotten such a nasty suck from that thing!

Since then I've been scuba diving and seen sharks of all kinds in aquariums all over the world and they still terrify me. That's the impact of the movie more than any logical reasons whatsoever.

As for "Jaws" now that I'm an adult, I am still in awe of the opening scenes, "My legs! My legs!", and the great performances by everyone involved throughout the entire movie.

Of course, Bruce, the fake shark, looks worse every time I see it but it's still a work of genius and very believable if you don't allow yourself to scrutinize every frame which, unfortunately, due to DVD, is far too easy to do.

For the late Roy Scheider, his role as police chief Martin Brody was undoubtedly the highest point of his career and the most memorable.

Even the usually annoying Richard Dreyfuss actually became quite a sympathetic character for me although I can't say that he would ever have inspired me to become a marine biologist. I do still have aspirations to become even more obnoxious than Robert Shaw's Quint one day but not to end up eaten by a Carcharodon Carcharias.

There's nothing else that I really need to say about "Jaws" as I'm sure that everybody is overly familiar with the film already. It's an exciting, almost timeless, masterpiece.

Steven Spielberg got very lucky with "Jaws" and so did we.

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