I’m going to be doing more Classic Reviews in the coming weeks and months, hence the tag for this as the initial instalment in the series, as I think I am missing out on a number of great films that were created before I could watch them and often before I was born. Therefore, Jaws seemed like a good place to start as: it was a film that I hadn’t seen before, is well-liked by the overwhelming majority and fits the criteria as a classic film. So, finally I got around to watching it- but was I disappointed?
What is it about?
Amity Island is a relaxed, secure and safe, summer town; thriving on the industry it gains from it’s beautiful beaches. The 4th of July is their busiest time of year; however, with two shark attack deaths already confirmed, Chief Brody (Roy Schneider) is adamant that the closure of the beaches must ensue. However, when Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) acts “in the Island’s best interests” and keeps them open, things quickly turn from bad to worse. In Brody’s desperation, he turns to: Quint (Robert Shaw,) a seasoned shark-hunter and Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss,) a Shark Expert and Oceanographer; to help him on his mission to kill the shark.
What did I think?
This film is a hugely enjoyable thriller with truly magical moment. It is the film that propelled Steven Spielberg into the spotlight; so was always going to be something special. Considering this film was made in 1975 it is incredibly made; with every stage of the film executed marvellously. The plot was well written, the acting was brilliant, the direction was superb and most importantly to the drama, it was actually conceivable. Even the CGI, which is rather aged now, would have been something to marvel at upon it’s release. I found Chief Brody (Roy Schneider) to be a very likeable protagonist and was a key reason for my engagement with the plot. In him I saw the inspiration for a number of leading actors that have followed in the 43 years since it’s release. Moreover, throughout the film his lines are of vital importance to the plot and interest to the audience; my favourite, as well as everybody else’s is “You’re going to need a bigger boat”. I have since watched it back a number of times and if you want to do so too you can watch it here. Finally, I have seen hundreds of films with a basis in action and disaster; however, this film unlike any of those was unique and left me shocked with the ending. I thought that a film made 43 years ago couldn’t have any plot points I didn’t already know, but how truly wrong was I.
Nevertheless, unlike other people, I don’t believe this film is perfect. I think it is a little bit too long and stretched the plot thin at points in the middle of the film. Therefore, I found myself a little bit bored from time to time. (However, a contributing factor to this may have actually been my tiredness, as I watched it late at night.) Although it is hard to hold a film’s age against it, there were a couple of things that when compared to modern day film just didn’t stand up. The main thing was the visual effects. At the time Spielberg and his crew would have had to painstakingly manoeuvre a crafted shark; whereas now it would all be more realistically and easily done using computer generated imaging. The other more minor thing was the quality of the image; however, this is to be expected as the cameras just weren’t available to improve this at the time.
My Rating- 7.5/10
This film was great and only really falls down at a couple of hurdles. I think 7.5 may be a little bit harsh; however, I can’t ignore the fact that my interest did wain at points. I was not let down by my first classic film (to review.)
If you have any suggestions for classic films I should watch, then please leave a comment here or on any of my social media feeds. Thank you to Terry Rea for recommending this film to me as this was my main reason for starting my classic film series.
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