Saturday, 11 September 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 361

5 - Jaws - 5 stars
Duh-Dum. Duh-Dum. duh-dum, duh-dum, duh-dum, duh-dum, duh-dum, duh-dum, duh-duh-dah.
Just a couple of notes but hum it and everyone immediately knows what you are talking about.
Amazing to think that the film's biggest problem became it's biggest asset: A malfunctioning mechanical shark called Bruce.
Due to the problems operating the shark, it forced Spielberg to adapt his filmmaking style and for two-thirds of the film, the threat remains unseen. Its presence indicated by the appearance of John Williams memorable tune. It increases the tension and plays on the theme of the best horror films in that "less is more", and provides that iconic moment on its reveal: "You're gonna need a bigger boat".
The film is as lean and mean as the predator stalking the waters of Amity Island. There is characterisation and plot development with the minimum of fuss, the editing is tight (particularly during the Alex Kitner death at the beach with the reverse zoom and the cross-screen wipes), and the sense of panic on the island is palpable as the shark claims victim after victim until our heroic trio set sail to catch themselves a really big fish.
Once the Orca heads out to sea, the film rests on the shoulders of the three main actors Schieder, Dreyfuss and Shaw, as there is no one else except for Bruce in the final 40 minutes of the film.
They all bring their A-Game and create a real chemistry between them that begins as standoffish and prickly but gives in to begrudging respect during a drunken night as they compare scars and ends with Quint's terrific USS Indianapolis speech.
Now "Smile you son of a bi..." :)
Whilst some bemoan the fact that this film helped to create the summer blockbuster meaning that we have to continually put up with terrible films that are big on budget and spectacle but low on quality and ideas but Jaws still remains a 5 star film.
Part of me would still love to see Must Love Jaws though.

P.S. Jaws is in fact the other film in the top ten that I have fainted during. Embarassingly enough, I fainted when I was about 11 years old during the moment when the shark bites down on Quint causing blood to spew out of his mouth. Seems ridiculous now!

Days remaining - 4 Films remaining - 4

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