With Jaws being re-released in cinema next week I think its time to explain why it is my favourite Spielberg film and why it is unparalleled in terms of style and content compared to everything else he has created and probably everything he is yet to create. I will explain below my ten reasons why Jaws will never be forgotten and deserves acclaim as one of the masterpieces of cinema.

 

NUMBER 1 – GENRE PICK’n’MIX

Firstly to define Jaws as a single genre piece is near impossible. It combines areas from so many genres from moments of pure horror (young boy gets eaten) alongside drama, comedy and swashbuckling adventure. All these elements are brought to the forefront in the scenes on the boat where Quint, Hooper and Brody get drunk leading to some great comic moments before the perfectly delivered and famous ‘Indianapolis monologue’, it sends shivers down my spine every time. This mix of genres is hard to create in film and something Spielberg has often attempted within his other films such as Jurassic Park but doesn’t quite manage it as it just ends up becoming a kind of typical family adventure (not that this is a bad thing).

 

NUMBER 2 – OPENING SCENE

The opening scene is a perfect example of tension and horror within cinema, it begins with drunken fun; a girl running away from a guy in a playful manner before entering the water and ultimately being killed by the shark. Her screams resonate throughout the film and of-course it is the first opportunity for John Williams to showcase the famous piece of music discussed later in this post. I strongly believe this is Speilberg’s greatest opening as it sets up the film fantastically. I know this opinion will be frowned on by many who says the best opening must be the entering and escaping from the tomb in Raiders of The Lost Ark however this does not compare in terms of the tension and drama the opening from Jaws sets up for the rest of the film.

 

NUMBER 3 – UNDERWATER CAMERAWORK

All the cinematography in this film is fantastic however the most noteworthy shots come from below the water; the underwater camera is used in a way, which had never been seen prior to create great effect with shots from the sharks point-of-view particularly daunting. It was far from the first use of underwater camerawork with the James Bond’s underwater battle in Thunderball and obviously Dustin Hoffman losing his mind in obviously Dustin Hoffman losing his mind in The Graduate are both noteworthy attempts at this format but what Spielberg and his cinematographer did was re-invent this in a unique way and create stunning visuals that create real anxiety; everyone remembers the shots from underwater of the young boys legs kicking just before he is brutally murdered. The beautiful underwater shots are one of the reasons the film is remembered because they are simply incredible.

 

NUMBER 4 – BLOOD AND DEATH

One thing that never fails to surprise me when I re-watch Jaws is the amount of blood and gore actually seen. There are several scenes which are incredibly gory for example when the young boy is eaten by the shark, blood sprays everywhere above water and all the children are seen running away from the bloody water. There’s also the death of Quint and the floating head sends a chill down ones spine whenever the film is watched.

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NUMBER 5 – Da-Dun, Da-Dun, Da-dun-da-dun-da-dun-da-dun da da da

It is widely agreed that John Williams is one of the best music conductor around in Hollywood and that his musical scores have had a massive impact on the success of every Speilberg film. With Jaws he truly outdid himself and made one of the most iconic pieces of music in cinema history. Ok you could argue that the Imperial March from the Star Wars franchise s equally iconic and obviously he composed the magical music for the entire Harry Potter series; but his music in Jaws is so simplistic and perfectly fits the piece. It has been recreated countless times in both comedy and horror and is beautiful match in the context of the film with its bass echoing adding an underwater effect.

 

NUMBER 6 – EVERYONE KNOWS ‘JAWS’

This point may seem fairly obvious but Jaws is a film which nearly everyone has seen. This point may seem invalid as Speilberg has created many films that fit that criteria (ET, Indiana Jones, Schindler’s List). Despite this I think Jaws is arguably his most popular film and has a loveable feel to it that both adults and children can enjoy (and not in the nostalgic sense that occurs when older people watch ET).

 

NUMBER 7 – FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN

OK, so this is fairly obvious and one of the things mentioned most when people praise the film but that doesn’t make it any less invalid. In most horror films fear is created from the unknown, if the audience don’t know what it is they can’t be criticize the bad special-effects or CGI. This is what Jaws does perfectly even if this is not what Speilberg intended. All the rumors around the film are that when faced with an edit, editor a Ms. Verna Fields removed much of the shark footage that was shot because it looked simply terrible; this was against Spielberg’s plan but I’m sure he’s happy with the results. Also because CGI obviously didn’t exist all the effects where done physically meaning the film has not particularly aged badly as with some of the early CG effects.

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NUMBER 8 – INSPIRARTION, INSPIRATION, INSPIRATION

Without the existence of Jaws, modern films would be a very different place. The only reason Alien received a budget was because it was pitched to the studio as ‘Jaws in Space’. Alien would become Ridley Scott’s breakout film and allow him to go on and make classics such as Blade Runner and Thelma and Louise. All three of these films inspirational in different ways. Jaws of-course also inspired several terrible sequels as well as many low-budget spoofs (Piranahas, Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus etc.) which are highly enjoyable and receive a rather large cult following.

 

NUMBER 9 – THE FIRST BLOCKBUSTER

Jaws was the first film to successfully across America on the same day after a huge advertising campaign, it was an event movie that saw it make millions and would ultimately class it as the first proper summer blockbuster.

 

NUMBER 10 – SHARK….. GIANT SHARK!!!

 

That is all

 

CONCLUSION

So to sum up if you have time to see Jaws at the cinema do so and enjoy what is a true masterpiece of multiple genres and a film which deserves all its acclaim and is by far Steven Spielberg’s greatest directorial effort.