Jaws-$7-$10 million in and over $350 million out!
Jaws made Steven Spielberg. It’s a simple story. Girl meets shark, girl is eaten by shark. Boy meets shark, boy is eaten by shark. It is the execution of this story, based upon the novel Jaws written by Peter Benchley, that launched Spielberg into movie making history. Much like some of Spielberg’s other works, namely the Jurassic Park films, Jaws is really a horror film that is done very well. There is no reason to candy coat the films success–mean ass giant shark rips people to shreds.
Roy Scheider as Police Chief Brody and Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper are nothing short of fantastic as the men who set out to slay the sea monster. With the shark giving such a memorable performance it would be unfortunate, but somewhat understandable, to forget the solid performances both actors delivered. Neither actor said, “I am in a horror film and I am just here to collect a paycheck.” This attitude is far too common with actors in today’s horror or psychological thrillers (the whipper-snappers) and these solid performances truly contribute to the film’s overall believability and fun.
In what is now a famous incident, the mechanical sharks didn’t always work as planned and in fact changed the film itself. The delay in getting the sharks operational meant that the script was reworked so as to hint at the shark for a longer period of time. This greatly served to heighten the tension and the terror once the “big” shark attacks actually occurred. Essentially, this proves something that is rarely so clear cut when looking at the success of blockbusters–luck. Taking nothing away from Spielberg, but luck played a huge part in both launching his career and the success of Jaws.
Jaws is one of those flicks that had everything going for it. The simple script was executed to perfection and the professionalism of the actors added the production. Jaws consequently pulled in huge numbers passing the $350 million dollar mark on a budget of a mere $7-$10 million dollars. Of course, this really got the attention of the studios and some now regard Jaws as the first summertime blockbuster. A final thought, that could be easily overlooked is the score by John Williams. We all know the chilling music followed by the shark fin. Jaws is one of those films that did not try to be or do too much. It took aim at scaring people, not with a monster from outer space, but with one that lives right here on earth. Sparked by this realistic possibility, the imaginations of the audience did the rest and that is truly what made Jaws brilliant.
Story A- (Simple and straight-forward Jaws proves that one does not have to have a complex story to be successful.)
Enjoyability Grade A
Home Theater/HD Factor A
Overall Grade A