Jaws Essay Introduction


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All that Jaws
Throughout the history of modern cinema, we as a people have seen various films that have caused fear, hope, laughter, love, and various other emotions. The movie Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, was a very well-written film, but the insignificant parts made me lose focus on what was occurring. I thought this movie lacked in a few fields such as special effects, acting and background illuminations. However, the special effects were well-organized for being created in 1975. Overall, I did not enjoy Jaws because of the talent the actors displayed and the organization of the scenes.
The movie, Jaws, was based around three characters, a police chief, sailor and a scientist seeking a great white shark. During the beginning of the movie, two innocent people get killed and the police chief, Brody, suspects it is a shark that has attacked them. The mayor of Amity Island hears about the suspicions of Brody’s imagination but does not want to lose holiday tourism and forces Brody to not make any further investigations of the incidents. Brody, however, calls for a scientist, Hooper, who identifies the occurrences as shark attacks. Hooper, Brody and a sailor drift into the massive, rippling ocean in search for the great white who has viciously attacked and may yet again. During their voyage among the ocean, the shark becomes infuriated while several attempts of death are being plunged towards him and he dies soon afterwards. While the boat is sinking because of all the destruction amidst it, the only survivors, Brody and Hooper, swim back thankful to be
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alive. Yet still horrified at what has happened right in front of their eyes, the ending scene
show the two men conversing of the horrible events while paddling through a gigantean ocean back to shore.
     In 1975, Steven Spielberg, made a huge impact on the audience by pursuing reality in a new aspect never before seen. One of the taglines for Jaws, “Do you like fish? Well, he likes you too…” terrified viewers and forced them to shake in their boots. This classic film has everything a movie needs to lure you in; fantastic plot, visuals and necessary music for the appropriate scenes. However, Spielberg used a great deal of energy focusing on the shark being killed, while instead he could have narrowed in on more confrontations with the shark interacting with the innocent people to gain audience’s interest.

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Becoming afraid of the water was the initial reaction for most of this films viewers and the exact same reaction Spielberg wanted to observe from his audience. The shark had nothing to do with the reason people were now afraid of the water; it was the attacks made by the shark that contributed to this terror. Using today’s rating system, Jaws, would still rate PG-13, perhaps even R, with its graphic shots, drug usage and near nudity. The suspense, terror, and fortunately resolution, make viewers give this film five stars.
     Even though Jaws, still makes some viewers petrified, there are many things I can point out that make the film more amusing than terrifying. The unorganized scenes in the film, illumination of background settings, horrible acting and also special effects were just a few of the problems I saw in this classic film. During Jaws, the scenes were either way too long and drawn out with detail or caused anxiety with no time to overcome it. The scene illustrating the girl enjoying her youthfulness while swimming, but readily attacked,
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was only one of the many scenes that were so blatantly dark that viewers had a difficult time enjoying it. I understand that in 1975 the movies portraying these special effects were unheard of and astonished many of its viewers, however, today these special effects cannot even begin to compare to now a days usage of material for terror. Bad acting makes for bad films and Spielberg certainly could have chosen better, experienced actors to be in the short settings that mad a lot of impact on the movie. For instance, the little boy’s mother was such a terrible actress during an emotional scene because she never once even formed a tear in her eyes while she was supposively wailing. These problems were very significant to the movie and made it impossible for me to concentrate on the terror that was supposed to be building up inside of me.
This quote by Martin Scorsese, will constantly make me think of Jaws, “If I leave a film remembering the plot, then it was no good. If I leave a film remembering the moments, than it’s a success.” I believe Jaws was a good movie with only a few obstacles in its way to becoming remarkable. Like a Folgers cup of coffee; good to the last drop, this movie was well-written and directed to the end. The special effects were new and spectacular for 1975 but they do not begin to compare to a horror movie in 2004. However, this will always be a classic film and continue to make people wonder what is lurking beneath that dark, salty water.

Release Year: 1975

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writers: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb

Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider

Never before have two notes been so frightening.

Equal parts monster movie, swashbuckling ocean adventure, political thriller, and bromance, Universal Pictures'Jaws is about an enormous shark preying upon an idyllic seaside resort town and the three very different men who team up to stop it. When it hit theaters in June 1975, audiences had never seen anything like it. It blew box office records out of the water, gobbled up three Oscars—editing, sound, and score—and changed Hollywood (and going to the beach) forever.

Beach attendance was at an all-time low that summer, but theater attendance was through the roof. Jaws became the highest-grossing movie of all time and the first-ever summer blockbuster, drawing kids on summer break into nice, air-conditioned movie theaters for the adventure—and fright—of their lives. It endowed millions of viewers with an unprecedented fascination with—and sometimes hysterical fear of—sharks.

And of course, it introduced the world to a young director named Steven Spielberg.

Maybe you've heard of him.

Even setting aside its colossal cultural impact, Jaws is just an enduringly great film. Though it lost the Oscar for best picture to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, it's been called one of the best movies of all time by everyone from the New York Times to Rolling Stone to the American Film Institute to the Library of Congress. It's a practically perfect potpourri of saltwater, suspense, courage, comedy, blood, boats, tragedy, terror, and teeth.

Did we mention teeth?

As one film analyst put it, "Jaws did for the beach what Psycho did for the shower" (source). It taps into our primal fears and our knowledge that, even though we're pretty high up there on the food chain, we're still on the food chain.

Come on in, Shmoopers; the water's fine.

We've heard it a thousand times: You're more likely to be killed by a bee sting, a cow, or a vending machine than by a shark.

Well, you wanna know what?

We. Don't. Care.

So no, we do not want to go abalone diving. And no, we will not enjoy some seaside cliff-jumping next Tuesday. And we will definitely not be going for any sunset swims—ever—thanks. Know why?


Let's put it this way: Once upon a time there was a ten-year-old boy who wanted more than anything to watch Jaws. His mom said he was too young, but after weeks of diligent and calculated whining, she finally relented. He watched it in his best friend's basement, lights off. He was never quite the same again. That summer, he refused to go in a boat on Lake Tahoe, or to swim his Nana Helen's pool, or even to step on the floor of his bedroom when the lights were off at night. He was afraid that a giant great white shark was circling just beneath his house in a subterranean ocean, and the slightest tremor would prompt the beast to surge up through the floor and eat him. (His bedroom was on the second floor, by the way.)

That's the power of Jaws. It's movie magic at its very finest—Thrills! Chills! Gills! Skinny dipping! Exploding air tanks! Jaws delivers everything a blockbuster should (it was the first one, after all). But it's more than that. This movie swims right into your brain and makes a far-fetched premise seem downright realistic. And it makes you feel like you're right there in the water as that heart-thumping music starts and something brushes against your foot.

What makes Jaws special is just how much it gets to the audience. It's worth studying to figure out how on earth Steven Spielberg accomplished all this. How did he manage to pull such incredible performances from his cast while contending with endless problems with his mechanical sharks? What camera techniques make the audience feel like they are the next ones to become shark food? How can there be so much humor in such a grisly story? Why do we love to be scared?

Decades after Jaws' release, scholars continue to pull it apart to figure out why it works so well. Let's jump in and join them.

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