I thought it was insane, but also kind of funny. (his level of obsession)
At the beginning the shark wasn’t behaving totally realistically, but it still seemed to me it was just an animal instinctively trying to feed.
In the last fight the shark seemed to be using abstract logic. Jaws knew that there was food on top of the boat, and formed an object-oriented plan to get at the food. They didn’t have to be realistic, but they should have kept him at the ‘Feeding instinct’ level.
I have gone through long periods of defending Spielberg from easy pot shots, and long periods of trashing Spielberg, and through out, I always loved Jaws. To use totally out of date terms, Spielberg’s brilliant Id was always more intersting then his suburban super-ego. I wish he would direct a movie that is pure action, without any moral themes, or any children (which always add a suburban moral theme to his work) He should just use his talent, and let his themes develop subconsciously. He is no good at being a pedant or a moral philosopher. He should just go with instinct. wait. he already did. Jaws.
Jirin, you’re the only person on the planet that I’m going to recommend see Jaws IV: The Revenge. Now THAT is a shark that behaves in a completely implausible way, even by the standards of killer shark movies. The original Bruce is a poster-fish for logical consistency by comparison.
It holds up! A masterpiece. There’s no getting around it…some of the best scenes may have been the result of happy accidents (the shark not working, but why show it too early anyway?). It such a controlled, scary movie that you can’t help but be thrilled by it.
Was Jaws IV the one with Ellen Brody going down to Florida? I’m not sure why I saw that film, but that was one the dumbest films I watched without walking away. (I think I was at some party with my parents, and it was the only interesting option.)
That’s the one. Not even Michael Caine could save it.
Oh yeah, Michael Caine. Dang, what the heck was he doing in that one?
“that was one the dumbest films”
and it wasn’t even in 3-D!
It’s an excellent buddy movie, and not a bad road picture, either, considering that the ocean serves as the highway.
Also, like Hitchcock’s The Birds or Psycho, this film is so familiar that it has become less a scary movie than a thrilling place to go.
While watching films of this status, we can also play with them.
Compare the crowd scenes with those in other Spielberg films, and admire the director’s almost pathological repetition of shots.
Yes, Robert Shaw’s salty old Captain Quint is much bigger than life, but it must be acknowledged that Murray Hamilton steals a few scenes, as his Chamber of Commerce puppet Mayor Vaughn is much lower than life.
Queer theorists can navigate their way through the picture with a gay subtext as their guide; a compass, if you will, with Richard Dreyfuss’s character functioning as true north.
Then again, sometimes a shark is just a shark.
By the way, watch for an authentic shot of two meteors just above the horizon during a quiet evening scene.
Is that a signal of close encounters to come?
Quint’s monologue is still one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever experienced watching a film. In fact, however many years later I only have impressionistic thoughts about JAWS – I won’t go far out into the ocean because of it and the feeling of fear from that monologue. I don’t remember any of the details or much of the other character’s performances.
Spielberg always has an excellent sense of pacing … except for Third Encounters which I truly, truly hate. I think people are always a bit tough on Spielberg and let what is usually one false or sentimental scene in his films overpower all the other brilliant craftsmanship that he displays.
Hooper: You were on the Indianapolis?
Brody: What happened?
Quint: Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte… just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that when you’re in the water, Chief? You tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail fin. What we didn’t know, was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin’, so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like you see in the calendar named “The Battle of Waterloo” and the idea was: shark comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin’ and hollerin’ and screamin’ and sometimes the shark will go away… but sometimes he wouldn’t go away. Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark… he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be living… until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin’ and the hollerin’, they all come in and they… rip you to pieces. You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don’t know how many sharks, maybe a thousand. I know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday morning, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boatswain’s mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water just like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he’d been bitten in half below the waist. Noon, the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us. He swung in low and he saw us… he was a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper. Anyway, he saw us and he come in low and three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and starts to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened… waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.
Don’t you appreciate us here, at Mubi. We like to help. :)
It is Spielberg doing Hitchcock and succeeding totally.
Why, it even has a shark that’s wrongly accused!
Seriously, though – what do you mean by “doing Hitchcock”? Because “Jaws” has a lot of suspense? (Arguably the biggest scare of the movie comes at a deliberately unsuspenseful moment). Because of its use of music to induce horror a la “Psycho”? The dangerous compulsiveness of Quint? The “Vertigo” shot on Brody’s head when the shark arrives at the beach? Is there some aspect of Hitchcock’s work that I’m failing to notice Spielberg is emulating in “Jaws”?
(BTW, two Micheal Caine facts about “Jaws IV”. First, in one of the greatest Oscar ironies in history, Caine wasn’t able to accept the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in “Hannah and Her Sisters” because he was on the set of “Jaws IV”. Secondly, he had a great quote about the movie: "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”)
Seriously, though – what do you mean by “doing Hitchcock”?
I thought you sort of answered your own question.
Aside from riffing off comments made earlier on the thread, I like the comparison because both Jaws and Hitch films view the idea of creating suspense more openly than other filmmakers. Suspense, scares, horror, whatever; may be the primary goal, but both directors embraced the chance to incorporate humor, adventure and three-dimensional characterization into what could have been conventional genre works. Instead, they use genre as a jumping off point to open up into simply great storytelling rather than be boxed in by expectations of making films of a particular type.
Spielberg never recovered after Schindler’s torture porn. Whilst it was a very personal semi-“essayist” account, it contains dubious political ideologies and that’s why I’m feeling more Jurassic Park at times since it was his last, last, YES, LAST great Spielberg “touch” and not one will convince me that his later turds are “cinematic gems” of anything.
Jurassic Park is the swan song of Jaws, Close Encounters, E.T. and the Indiana Jones films. Spielberg should have stayed there, instead….he buried his own career firstly with the Color Purple and Empire of the Sun “drama-alert” treshold and subsequently with his most pathetic melos like Private Ryan and A.I.
Spielberg can do Hitchcock all he wants but he remains a skilled entertainer within the spectrum of Art called Cinema. As much as he wants his films to overcome the “genre” stereotype and be pronounced Art, only the true b-movie artists can be proud of such characterizations like Carpenter, Fulci and Tourneur. I adore Jaws as much as I adore An Andalusian Dog or In the Mood for Love but no one can convince me that Jaws’ “suspense” elements are as efficient and artistically majestic like Tourneur’s ability to scare the shit out of you in The Leopard and I Walked with a Zombie with pure shadows…
Spielberg is an entertainer, not an artist. Nothing wrong with that, I love Jaws for those exact entertainment reasons. I’m pretty sure we also have enough Spielberg threads around here and I’ve noticed a lot of repetitive comments in many of those threads varying from Minority Reports to Indiana Jones films.
It is Spielberg back when he was lean and mean, in the best way.
The opening sequence with the buoy and the swimming woman is perfectly timed and executed and sets the mood and approach: wait for what may be lurking in the sea.
(Trivia: Susan Backlinie, the stuntwoman who played the swimmer, repeated her scene for ‘1941’ when she got caught on the emerging sub.)
The film takes its time, paces the shocks and keeps us interested in some colorful characters, not just cardboard cutouts there to fill the frame between attacks.
The sheer universality of its “fear message”, the dangers of the deep, is about as old as time, hence its inherent staying power.
This looks like Spielberg of old may be back
I hope so Dennis, but from that trailer, I fear it could just as easily be the Spielberg of Hook. (and is he really using that creepy Zemeckis animation?)
(and is he really using that creepy Zemeckis animation?)
This is my fear. The uncanny valley seems very strong with this picture. But…we’ll just have to wait and see the movie first.
Trouble is, people will get acquainted with Tin Tin is through a Spielberg film and that’s a damn shame…
Well…we still need to see the movie, but I’d see a new generation being acquainted with Tin Tin as a good thing. A lot of kids will go back and read the books, which might turn them on to other unknown books. At least in America, I knew of no one growing up that read Tin Tin, so there’s room for introduction.
Tin Tin was really more of a European thing than an American thing. Depending on how this movie comes out, I’m not sure that kids will really go back and read the books unless they have enthusiastic parents behind them. Compared to Harry Potter and the vampire craze, not sure Tin Tin books will be “flashy” enough for the average American kid…
It will at least give some exposure, though, which is a good thing if you like Tin Tin.
Spielberg going back to a children’s story is not my idea of the old Speilberg. To me, the old Spielberg didn’t really deal with children or family—and if he did, he wasn’t overly-sentimental and cutesy. I don’t have high hopes for Tin Tin.
Btw, fwiw, I disagree about Jurassic Park being a good film—especially if you compare it to Jaws, which is another monster movie. The characters in Jaws are a whole lot more interesting and appealing then the cardboard ones in JP. The development and treatment of the story in JP was sort of weak, too. I felt like that film got by on showing realistic looking dinosaurs—it was a carnival sideshow and rollercoaster ride all in one. The thing is, Jaws was sort of that way, too, but at least the filmmakers cared about the characters and the story.
i agree with jazz; i never cared for jurassic park either. certainly it had great potential but it was special effects driven and ultimately disappointing :(
“especially if you compare it to Jaws”
No comparison to Jaws either (same goes for the precious pro-Jews “story”) but the comparison is drawn between the GREATNESS of Jurassic Park and the WORTHLESSNESS of Spielberg’s later career. If anything, Jurassic Park does remind the Jaws Spielberg since it’s impossible not to observe those dinosaurs as the mobile sharks of the pro-technological world of today.
A rollercoaster ride done good isn’t a bad thing, especially when you consider the trashy aspect of Spielberg’s post-1993 career and the overt seriousness his projects have since entered the public’s mind (I mean c’mon, who actually takes films like Munich seriously???)
Spielberg remade his own film except with a shark instead of a truck. They are both good, but I prefer Duel.