Director: Steven Spielberg
Date Watched: January 7, 2017
Category: Film made before 1980
Okay yes, I know I’m incredibly behind on this one, but give me a break it was made fifteen years before I was born. And yes, the reason I never sought Jaws out was that I honestly thought it looked a little lame and not very scary. I was right on one thing, it wasn’t terribly scary, though a good reminder why the people patrolling our beaches should be proactive in their approaches to beach management.
Let’s talk about special effects first, I was almost convinced before I started watching that it would be a grainy mess and even less terrifying as a result. Boy was I wrong. There’s definitely a 70’s vibe to the whole thing, the clothes, the little striped beach huts and the effects are not what you’d expect in a movie made today but surprisingly those chewed off limbs looked vaguely real.
My biggest problem with the entire film is the logic of it. Perhaps this is a case of ‘times have changed’ and I need to just get over it. For me it started early with Chief Brody telling his oldest son off for playing on the swing set that he hadn’t fixed then walking straight out of the house and past his youngest son playing on the same swings. Then is was the hunting patterns of Jaws, attacking first a wayward labrador and then a child in the space of 10 minutes. By far my biggest issue with the film is the very fact that Chief Brody chose to go on a fishing trip with Quint and Hooper despite having zero experience hunting sharks, despite his own duties as police chief, despite his son just barely surviving a shark attack and being hospitalised. I understand that for the purpose of Brody being the star character he needed to go along but it does not make any logical sense.
Honestly, labelling Jaws as a horror movie seems a bit off to me, the film is not particularly scary, the only impending doom comes from those silly enough to go for a swim.
If anything it is more of a cautionary tale of the damages that capitalism can do.
Confused? Let me explain.
Okay, enter dead girl on Amity Island, suspected shark attack. Safety concerns suggest one should close the beaches, alert the coastguard and call it a day. But for the capitalist mayor of Amity Island the main concern is the revenue that will be lost from tourists choosing to go somewhere else if the beach is closed. Money over safety. Capitalism at its finest.
I honestly did like Jaws, I didn’t expect to. It was a little long for my liking, and I wasn’t drawn in by the suspense of it or by the characters. I probably won’t watch it again either. If you haven’t seen Jaws it seems like the kind of iconic movie everyone should watch at least once, but once will probably be enough.
P.S. Be safe in the water. While you’re much more likely to die in a car crash that does not mean you should swim about in the ocean without a care. Follow your local shark watch, don’t swim at dawn and dusk, and pay attention to your surroundings.