Jaws (PG) - 1975 - Runtime: 124 minutes
Starring: Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss
Director: Steven Spielberg
Jaws is the movie that started it all and gave Hollywood its first blockbuster and ushered in the modern movie making business of "high concept" movies: a film that can be sold on a simple premise. It's surprising I haven't seen this movie, it's right up my alley, but we just never crossed paths. It's not like you'll happen to stumble upon it on TV, either. Well, I'm glad I finally sat down to watch it, because this is a good thrill ride of a movie that holds up well after thirty years.
Jaws is a simple movie to understand: one huge ass shark is terrorizing the local beach town that relies heavily on its tourist economy. Of course, the film has all the usual trappings of this kind of genre (probably some of the first!): the reluctant hero, the evil city councilmen who look the other way at their impending doom, the rugged hunter espousing wisdom and the nerdy scientist who just wants to make it big with this new discovery. So it's not really the plot that's the focus, but rather how this rag tag group of different men try to hunt down this giant shark. The movie has its share of suspense, especially when the city isn't quite aware of how dangerous it is to be in the water. Kids are obvious bait for this kind of suspense, but it still works! The best part of the movie is the latter half when all three men take out to sea to see the demise of the underwater terror. There's enough animosity between all three of them, but they share a common enemy and it's an effective way to drive forward the story.
Of course, all three main characters are pretty solid - I think Roy Scheider is so good in this movie. He's the new sheriff in town and has to cut his teeth on this monster. It's pretty ballsy stuff they're doing in the movie and Robert Shaw's characters seems like he can handle three or four of these great whites. And Richard Dreyfuss pretty much personifies the nerd. All three of them have their moments in the movie and of course it's pretty fantastic how it all goes down. The shark is still quite terrifying in my mind even though I know it's just a puppet. I can't imagine what it would have looked now if they used CGI, but the idea of the actors acting with something as big and real as the shark in this movie more than holds its own against any special effects.
It's a great movie and worth owning - the special features on the DVD are interesting and the movie is such good popcorn fare that I can't help but giving it my highest praise!
Rating: Own It!