Movie Review: JAWS!

The first movie in our new series: Shark movies! Jaws is a special one, too, since it’s the original summer blockbuster. All right, so here we go: Jaws. There’s a bit of a format change for this genre, since it isn’t straight up horror. Monster Type goes without saying: they’re all sharks. Also, violence goes without saying. So I’m adding Shark Death Total. It may not always be accurate but…

This is a great, classic movie. It’s the king of the B-movies in a lot of ways: while a lot went into this movie and it made heaps of money, it’s the sort of movie that us B-movie aficionados love. It stands the test of time as the ultimate real monster movie and probably caused more shark deaths than any single thing before or since.

This was a big production, and it was the first summer blockbuster the way we see them now. It also captures a bit of time: a lot of stylistic choices, both in the film making and in the wardrobe, hair, and automobiles, stand out as features of their time.

One thing about this that lends itself well to being scary is that we know sharks exist and they attack people. I’m not sure offhand how many of these attacks are Great Whites, but sharks still attack. And once we’re in the water we are no longer the top of the food chain unless that water is pool water: sharks and various gators and the like are always above us on the food chain in their natural habitats. People love getting in the water, too. It’s become one of our favorite leisure time activities.

So this is a really scary, real monster doing damage to folks during a happy time. Yikes: That’s probably why one of the first scenes in the movie is the shark fucking up some skinny-dipping. What more fun can be had in the water than skinny-dipping?

As I mentioned, everything about this movie captures the period it was filmed in, which is also reflected in the production quality. It still holds up despite being quite old, and the effects are limited to the point that they mostly hold up as well. No crummy CGI shark in this, no obvious and distracting green-screening. Just a whole lot of beach shots and close ups of terror.

The acting is about as good as it gets in a disaster/monster flick. I don’t have a lot of problems with the limited gun use in the movie: it isn’t some great portion of the film, but I still don’t think regular bullets make for fireballs like that.

This movie was popular enough to spawn three sequels and is probably responsible for the Sharknado franchise. But this movie itself is an A+, so it might be forgiven for some of that.

Report Card:
Running Time: Two hours and ten minutes.
Shark Death Total: Five by my count.
Acting: Good, mostly.
Shark Effects: Good.
Gun Use: I’m not sure the Garand would do that without special rounds.
Gore: No kidding.
Creepy? Not to an adult.
Funny? Some of it.
Nudity: Full frontal and rear female nudity… if you turn your brightness and contrast all the way up and watch the movie in a dark room maybe.
Pacing: Pretty good for a long movie.

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