DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
It was 40 years ago this weekend, that Jaws opened to theatre goers in the U.S. and with its massive success, propelled Steven Spielberg to to top of his game and bucked the trend of the Summer Blockbuster. With innovation, restraint, compromise, action and story driven by some of cinemas greatest performances, Jaws tapped into our primal fears whilst like a roller-coaster, dared us to confront them and enjoy them at the same time.
In short, this is a classic, up there with the best and is without a doubt an all time great, a bench mark for both budget film making and innovation in the face of potential failure, with Spielberg’s movie being plagued with technical disasters, particularly with “Bruce”, the annimatronic shark.
I first reviewed this film back in 2010 and her is that review.
The movie which heralded the summer blockbuster has never looked so good. At 36, this is a well but gently paced slow-burn thriller, with a mix of easy on eye thrills and gritty human discourse. Robert Shaw may well have made this his film, but he was far from alone. Almost all the lead cast were more than worthy, and it was Spielberg’s young direction along with John William’s iconic score which propelled this from just another thriller into a timeless tale.
Though in many ways it looks dated, it doesn’t feel it. It has a very general sense of a seaside resort, without the gratuitous Baywatch glamour, nor the dinge of the horror genre. The people and locations feel very real and even though the shark itself is a bit of a let down, it is not a total loss and has taken nothing away from the film.
But for my money, the defining moment is the ‘Indianapolis’ anecdote as told be Shaw. The entire scene is played and shot so well and its placement within the film is perfect. This was a real story about an almost fantastical threat, but like he would go onto do later with Jurassic Park, taking you out of every day life without taking you into space is what Spielberg does best.
This is a must see and always will be. This is one of the best films of the 70’s and beyond…
And then there was my less than glowing review of its 1978 Sequel, Jaws 2, which was NOT directed by Spielberg might I add. If he directs a film this bad, I’m so disappointed that I have a lot to more say about it…
I like to think of it more as a Flash review…