JAWS – THE OG SHARK MOVIE

How’s everyone’s pandemic movie viewing going? We thought we’d post some of our fave films to re-watch for the ‘rona. And first up is Kernel Elie’s audition review. Way back early last year he submitted this and joined the team not long after. JAWS is the OG and still the best shark movie – it is perfection. And it’s the only movie that the entire team gave a perfect 5. Enjoy Elie’s review……all the best and STAY HOME…….Salty.

Fun Fact. In January this year I swam with sharks at Sydney Aquarium. I would sincerely like to thank the 1975 film JAWS for this opportunity. Now you may be thinking wait…what? A movie about a giant 25ft shark terrorising a little town, chomping on everything from naked girls to dogs to children to even boats has made you choose to swim within selfie distance of the very thing behind these actions!!? What the actual f#@k! Please, let me take the time to explain why so, here me out.

BY ELIE ELKORR

JAWS SYNOPSIS

JAWS released on the 27th of November 1975 and is adapted from the original novel by Peter Benchley. It is Directed by someone called Steven Spielberg. Spielberg doesn’t have much on his resume of films but E.T, SCHINDLER’S LIST, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and JURASSIC PARK to name a few. He’s also managed to nab a few awards in the process.

Anyway, JAWS stars the late Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. The film centres upon a killer shark which begins to terrorise Amity Island – a small community which thrives off the success of summer vacationers to its beaches. Now a killer shark feasting on helpless humans seems to spoil the fun and is not the best advertisement when it comes to attracting tourists to Amity Island’s beaches. So, it’s up to Chief Sheriff Martin Brody (Scheider), a notorious sea hunter/sailor named Quint (Shaw) and a marine biologist Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss) to hunt the beast down and restore peace to the waters of Amity Island.

Jaws Crowd Scene
Jaws Crowd Scene

THE CHARACTERS…..WOW

JAWS is not just a film about a killer shark. Unlike 2018’s THE MEG, JAWS invests a lot of time into its writing/screenplay, and the result is a fantastic culmination of well written and extremely likeable characters. Characters in other creature killer films such as THE MEG or DEEP BLUE sea subdued to one-dimensional ‘oh eat me now’ characters and thus it is difficult to invest in any single one of them. JAWS, however, finds the perfect balance between suspense and providing the viewers with fleshed out characters that are portrayed in fantastic ways by their respective actors.

In fact, my favourite scene in this film does not involve the shark at all. It involves our three main characters singing and telling each other stories about their experiences. The scene amalgamates comedy, drama and suspense all into one sequence thanks to the camaraderie of our lead characters. One story told by Quint is absolutely riveting thanks to Robert Shaw’s chilling line delivery. Spielberg’s decision to not show the shark for the fist half of the film is what distinguishes JAWS from other creature feature films – the audience is provided with well-written characters that are likeable and worth routing for when it comes to facing the titular beast.

Jaws and Roy Scheider image
Jaws and Roy Scheider

THE SHARK – 44YRS LATER AND IT STILL GIVES ME NIGHTMARES. PRACTICAL EFFECTS TEACHING CGI A LESSON?

The reason the Shark works so well in JAWS is that we barely see any of it until the final act of the film. Yea sure this may be because the animatronic shark was unreliable and did not work most of the time. However, Spielberg used this to his advantage and instead used other objects to represent the shark within the film. Ironically, not showing the shark further plays into the audience’s mind about the fear of the unknown and elevate the horror and suspense within the film. JAWS just isn’t your stereotypical creature feature!!

Now lets the talk about the shark. Yes, you can tell that the shark is prosthetic due to the way it moves sometimes. However, the shark to this day still looks magnificent and would give many creatures films a swim for their money when it comes to the realism of creature designs. It just comes to show that even with all the latest developments with CGI, there is always a 1970’s killer shark on the throne.

Jaws Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw image
Jaws Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw

THE SCORE DUNNNN DUNNNN DUNNNNNNNN..

What’s a JAWS review without mentioning John Williams’ score. Whenever I see a piano, I go full Davy Jones on it and start hoping for some good Beethoven shit to come out. Of course that’s never the case. John Williams was able to compose one of the most notorious scores for a villain in cinema history using only two keys on the piano. Let that sink in… two keys. It’s so simple but remarkable and effective. Even throughout the film, John Williams’ fast pace and high pitch score during the more adventurous scenes expertly complements what is being portrayed on screen. I would highly recommend viewing scenes from JAWS without the score. It just comes to show that film is not only character and plot, but it is heavily impacted by its musical score, which can propel it to new heights. In the case of JAWS, it is safe to say that John Williams’ score is truly a classic. Whether it reaches the heights of my piano capabilities is another review idea for a rainy day.

Jaws and Roy Scheider image
Jaws and Roy Scheider

THE FINAL BITE

JAWS is a film I first viewed when I was four years old and to this day, is the sole reason I have a love for the ocean and sharks in general. Although certain scenes within this film truly terrify me of what’s within the deep blue, I cannot hold back my urge to say how fascinated and intrigued I still am about our oceans. Yes, I am nervous about swimming with them, but for the love of JAWS, I will do it.

Listen, if you haven’t seen JAWS by now what the hell are you doing with your life man? Nah in all honesty JAWS is truly an awesome classic filled with amazing characters, a fantastic score and fantastic dramatic and suspenseful characters. JAWS set the benchmark 45 years ago for creature features and is still floating above the depths for films that have come after it.

KERNEL ELIE’S POP SCORE:

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YOUR CRITIC:

Elie Elkorr is a proud film critic and writer for Salty Popcorn. He is a movie fanatic and also runs his own Twitter page for movie reviews and news @TweetEReviews1. He likes calling out movies when they provide social commentary rather than focusing on actual story and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. His views are his own. He is also a Law and Film student on the side and is the heir to being Black Widow’s Boyfriend. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.