Figure 1: Jaws Movie Poster
Jaws, the movie that sent millions of people feeling from the sight of water back in the 70's. The movie that sparked the wave of Galeophobia that we see today in many of the older and younger audiences of this movie."Enjoyment derived from tension and fear" (Huls,2014) This is a Film that takes great delight in establishing interesting and developed characters then placing them into situations that have the audience biting their finger nails in suspense, slowly edging their way towards the front of their seats.
A pretty basic story, A small sea side town is plagued by attacks on swimmers by a large Great White Shark, resulting in the towns reputation as a beloved tourist attraction to fall and three men going out of their way to put the beast down for good. Jaws blends the usual Horror tropes like tense music and shadowy villains that don't appear until right at then end, with the pacing of an older action movie. Cutting between tense, action sequences with the men battling the shark, and more quiet scenes where we are given insight into our main protagonists and their lives.
Figure 2: Our main characters
Spielberg succeeded in creating a movie that manages to stay within its own universe and contexts. The characters are there to interact with the events that are currently happening along with the audience and are not there to justify the plot, to create a significant reason why the story is unfolding. We get all of the information that we need about the Great White and its reason for the way it is acting from the excellent performance that Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) the resident shark expert, had illustrated. He is there to give the audience all of the information that they need, leaving the other character's to create a believable atmosphere and become something that we the audience are routing for towards the end of the film.
The character's are what make this film as interesting and enjoyable as it is. Brody (Roy Scheider) is our main protagonist, a man who is scared of the water and see's the shark as much bigger threat then everyone else around him. His feeling's reflect the audience and how throughout this movie we are steadily being fed the fear of the water and what can lurk below. In contrast to Scheider's character we have Quint (Robert Shaw) as the self proclaimed shark hunter."Shaw brings a degree of cheerful exaggeration to his role as Quint, stomping around like a cross between Captain Queeg and Captain Hook" (Ebert,1975). A man who lives for the water and doesn't see jaws as a huge threat until the very end of the film, where they are left defenseless in the water, with a sinking boat.
Figure 3: Quint during his monologue
However this doesn't mean that Quint doesn't deserve some sympathy. Later on in the film he delivers a 5 minute long monologue on past events that I don't want to spoil in the review. It changes the way you see this hardened captain and grounds him in Spielberg's world.
Finally we come to the centerpiece of the movie. Jaws himself. Using a mix of real Great White footage and a mechanical shark we see what appears to be a living, breathing killing machine. We get to look into its eye as it ravages the only safe place for out characters and relentlessly kills everything in his path.
Figure 4: Jaws
Jaws is a thrilling mix of Adventure, Action and Horror that blends the tropes from all three seamlessly. Delivering a compelling cast of characters and a story that will keep you hooked from start to finish. "Quite simply, Jaws is a masterclass in blockbuster entertainment -- a tense, exciting thriller that redefined contemporary cinema. They don't make them like this anymore."(Reynolds,2013)
Alexander Huls, Movie Mezzanine, http://moviemezzanine.com/history-of-film-jaws/, December 18 2013
Roger Ebert, RogerEbert.com, http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/jaws-1975, January 1 1975
Simon Reynolds, Digital Spy, http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/review/a387349/jaws-review-steven-spielbergs-shark-classic-returns-to-uk-cinemas.html#~p7TrlwF8zJR3uf, June 15 2012
Figure 1: Jaws movie poster, https://stuartreviewsstuff.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/stuarts-movie-catchup-jaws-review/
Figure 2: Main Characters, http://www.geeksofdoom.com/GoD/img/2014/07/jaws-shaw-scheider-dreyfuss.jpg
Figure 3: Monologue, https://okinawaassault.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/jaws53.jpg
Figure 4: Jaws, http://c534909.r9.cf2.rackcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Jaws-Book-01.jpg