It is strange to think about the start of Steven Spielberg‘s career. Nowadays, he is considered a cinematic legend – he has brought dinosaurs, numerous aliens and treasure-seeking crusaders to the big screen. It is strange to think that his big break came in the form of a book adaptation. But then again, it ended up redefining the summer blockbuster and featured a bloody big shark.
(If anyone needs to read a synopsis of Jaws…are you kidding me?). Jaws is set in the fictional seaside town of Amity Island, where Chief of Police Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) investigates a series of shark-related attacks shortly before the peak summer season. Upon realising that a larger-than-normal shark is responsible, he goes after it with the help of rugged shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) and bookish oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss).
Even the premise of a shark terrorising a seaside town sounds simple, the film was initially plagued with budget and production problems – so much so, that the making of the film was almost closed down by the studios. However, Spielberg managed to pull through and the result has blossomed into one of the most popular films of all time. In addition to this, Jaws helped establish summer as the most popular season for big blockbuster films to come out – starting a new era in Hollywood.
Everything about Jaws is fantastic, from John Williams’ minimalistic yet effective score to the well-rounded characters. The film has a great pace and thanks to its opening scene with the young skinny-dipping Chrissie Watkins being thrashed across the water, the tone of the Jaws is set perfectly in a matter of minutes as the plot slowly develops while building on the idea of a mostly-unseen terror, subsequently heightening the fear factor, especially in the last third of the film where it just radiates tension.
There have been many man-eating animal films, such as Lake Placid, Deep Blue Sea and Piranha, but nothing has surpassed the quality of Spielberg’s breakthrough feature – often imitated but never bettered. Simplistic and witty in places, Jaws is unmissable watching.
Blu-Ray extras include numerous featurettes, including “The Shark is Still Working”, detailing the cultural phenomenon and legacy of Jaws, deleted scenes and (unfunny) outtakes and archived behind-the-scenes footage and promotional material from around the world.
Jaws is released on Blu-ray 3rd September 2012.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss
Runtime: 124 min