Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Jaws is directed by Steven Spielberg, and it stars Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss. Police chief Martin Brody is under a lot of stress when the beaches of Amity Island, as small summer town in New England, become the victim of a series of deadly shark attacks. As members of the community start to hunt for the shark, Brody along with a marine biologist and a professional shark hunter head to sea to try their luck at finding the monster.
I'm going to start this review by admitting something. You've all probably seen this movie at least once in your life. It's part of the pantheon of Spielberg movies that are considered to be some of the greatest pictures ever to be put to screen. In all honesty, writing this review just gave me an excuse to watch this movie again, because Jaws is an amazing film, and it's one that I've never found myself getting tired of in the many viewings I've had of it.
Jaws is considered to be the first big summer blockbuster in the sense that we know them today. When Jaws was released in June of 1975, it really changed the game as far as movies were concerned. The film was a phenomenon, and it became the highest grossing film of all time (a title taken by Star Wars two years later). Jaws has become a landmark in cinematic history, and for good reason.
Jaws still holds up remarkably well today, over forty years after its release. That's because it targets an aspect of fear that we all have. Innately, most people out there are afraid of sharks. Jaws really preys upon that fear (pun slightly intended). In this film, we see our worst nightmares about going to the beach come to fruition. Since going to the beach is something that many people consider to be their go-to summer pastime, the horrors shown in this film become extra effective. While watching Jaws, people start to inadvertently imagine themselves in these situations, and that's what hooks the audience (again, pun slightly intended).
What pulls the audience in and keeps them on board for the runtime of the film are the characters and the plot. The main characters in this film are simple, yet complicated at the same time. When we first meet Brody, he's a new police chief working in a town in which he believes nothing really happens. Yet, as this situation unfolds, we get to see how he reacts when this simple town suddenly becomes a madhouse. By the end of the film, Brody is not the same person that we initially met. However, I believe the character building in this film is shown best through the character of Quint, the shark hunter. He could've easily become a simple, cliche fisherman, with nothing else to him. Yet, the more we see of him, the more we learn about him. We learn that he has motivations, a vendetta-like determination, but he can also be a good guy. We learn that he's so much more than what we thought he was when we first met him. While the conflict in the film comes from the shark, Jaws is really about what these people do in a situation that they either never wanted to be in, or have been waiting for.
While the entire cast gives really good performances in the film, the real star of Jaws is Steven Spielberg. I do not think this film be nearly as iconic if Spielberg had not directed it. Spielberg gives each scene in this film enough time to marinate and be what it needs to be. Yet, he makes each scene flow together seamlessly, and that's what makes the film cohesive as a whole. This is all further highlighted by Bill Butler's cinematography. The way each shot is crafted makes you feel like you're there on Amity Island with these characters. However, at times, the cinematography also provides foreshadowing into what's going to happen next. In my opinion, the best-used shots in this film were the POV shots from the shark. We see the dangling legs of the swimmers in the water, and we know what's going to happen to them. These shots, fused with John Williams's amazing score, really put the audience on the edge of their seats.
Jaws is arguably the best film in the vast array of fantastic Steven Spielberg films. It's a cinematic landmark, and it's still making people scared to go in the water over forty years later. Everything about this movie is an example of great filmmaking. The shots are expertly crafted, the music has become iconic, and Spielberg's direction is what brings it all together. If you have not seen Jaws, put it on the top of your list. Jaws isn't just the first summer blockbuster, it's also one of the best.
So what do you think of Jaws? Do you think it still holds up well today? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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