Stuart’s Movie Catchup – Jaws Review

Some of my friends have reacted in disbelief at some of the films I’ve never seen.

Today for example, I got a text from my best mate saying he was “disgusted” that I hadn’t seen Terminator before this week. Charming.

And when I said that I hadn’t seen Jaws before? Well there was a collective groan of exasperation from all corners. I was even told that my “Film Buff license had been revoked”.

Well Jaws is one of these films that I’m sure I have seen bits of; obviously I’m aware of the music, the setting and the lines “You’re going to need a bigger boat” and “Smile, you son of a bitch”, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever sat down to watch it.

Until now…

Jaws Review: What’s This One About?

A large fish disrupts a local economy and pays for it with its life.Jaws

Jaws Review: How Does It Hold Up?

It holds up well. Here you’ve got a film that is reasonably old – almost forty years in fact – and remains incredibly influential to this day.

Dozens, probably hundreds of films have been spawned from the Jaws formula, and though the gore, cheesiness and titillation have been ramped up to the max in the likes of Piranha 3D or Lake Placid, they lose the credibility of this, the father of the genre.

Yes, the shark could be better realised today, but it’s still believable thanks to how well it’s shot, and John Williams’ iconic musical score will never go out of fashion.

Jaws Review: And Is It Entertaining?

Again, yes it is.

Like I said above, you can compare it to flashier, modern examples of its genre and you realise you’re watching a more entertaining movie overall.

You can keep your man-eating Piranhas, your zombie squirrels or your giant alligators, this one lone shark (hey, that reads like loan shark) carries more of a threat and feels more dangerous than any of them. And I can say that watching it now for the first time.

The reason for that is that Jaws is played seriously, it’s directed seriously and therefore you take it more seriously.

And it’s also well written – unsurprising since it’s based on a best-selling book – and engaging; it doesn’t feel gimmicky and it has a certain amount of depth to it that the knock-offs don’t.

It’s also performed well, with the three main acting leads all turning in stirring performances. The film could very easily have tailed off towards the end with three men on a boat searching for a shark that rarely appears, but it’s a credit to Sheider, Shaw and Dreyfuss that they actually made that into the most enjoyable part of the entire thing.

But as a first time viewer, what I found most interesting and entertaining about it was to see the little things that are so iconic and influential today. For example, the scene with the old fisherman at the town meeting saying he can catch it has been redone so many times in popular culture and I had no idea it was from this.

And now I do. I feel slightly more complete.

Overall then, this is another hit in my catch-up season, and is the movie I’m most inclined to seek out the sequel to at the earliest convenience.

My Other Catchup Reviews So Far

Alien
Robocop
The Terminator
Tron

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