Kubrick Award – Jaws (1975)

The Kubrick Award – for Film Appreciation

Recipient #2

Jaws (1975)

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

The poster for Jaws.

The poster for Jaws.

Jaws, the film that put Steven Spielberg on the map, is a fantastic film spanning across any genre one desires.

Jaws is one of the few films that, to some never ages, but to me not only never ages but also gets better with age. The film feels so cohesive and adaptable to just about any city with a beach in the world, that it’s easy to forget this film was made with only $9 million dollars. It’s gripping. And it’s not cheap, either. It’s made in a way so effective, it proves to each and every aspiring filmmaker that they don’t need a big budget to make a great movie. If you effectively ration your action, you can make a hell of a film with any budget you want.

Spielberg does this brilliantly. By only introducing the actual shark in to the main action around half way through the film, and by capturing only a single pyrotechnic event, Spielberg drastically reduces his budget effectively, and adds a second tier of suspense and wonder to the infamous shark.

Looking into the shark’s eye, one sees the cold-blooded killer that horror movies across the years have been trying to replicate. Even though sometimes mechanic, the feeling of real terror and the nagging phobia of sharks resonates in a viewers mind years after watching Jaws. Each time it gets worse, too. Jaws is one of the few films I wouldn’t recommend kids aged 5-10 watch. And not because it’s too scary. But because it is a film that requires a special level of appreciation for the fine art of suspenseful, economic and rationed film making, to truly enjoy.

Watch out, Steven!

Watch out, Steven!

Jaws is the introduction to Spielberg at his finest. In the years after Jaws, Spielberg would wow audiences with Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and E.T. – all fantastic films. Spielberg quickly became the king, and he didn’t become just the king of one genre. With those four films, Spielberg had become the king of everything; horror, thriller, action, adventure, sci-fi, family, and most importantly, storytelling.

Geez. All these great films. I’m making myself consider changing the name to the Spielberg Award.

There are so many great lines in Jaws. The script is rock solid. Every line can be locked in the brain and remember for years and years. Everyone has a favourite, right? From “Smile, you son of a-“, to the infamous “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”, the classic lines from Jaws are both numerous and genuine. The characters are brilliantly relatable and very well developed. Richard Dreyfuss was great, Robert Shaw is enveloping, and Roy Scheider is simply superb. Spielberg helped cast the perfect actors and even the supporting cast added to the film. The ultimate success of the characters is their profound fear of the unknown – something we can all relate to.

Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum da-dum da-dum da-dum DA-DUM DA-DUM DA-DUM!

Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum da-dum da-dum da-dum DA-DUM DA-DUM DA-DUM!

John Williams’ score is incredible. So simplistic, yet iconic. Williams’ chilling theme has become one of the most recognizable scores of all time, smashing through the barrier between great, and sublime. Spielberg once said that 50 percent of Jaws’ success was thanks to Williams. How could you disagree.

Jaws’ incredibly afterlife rivals only that of Star Wars. The cult fan following of George Lucas’ record-shattering film is the only reason that Jaws isn’t the biggest influence on modern entertainment today.

You know what? Forget all the mumbo jumbo. Forget the fancy words. Because put simply, Jaws is brilliant in every way.

* * * * *

Follow me on Twitter (@ElroyRosenberg), on Instagram (gooserosenberg), and on Facebook (/TheSilverScreener)

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