W: Peter Benchley & Carl Gottlieb [based on the novel by
DP: Bill Butler
Ed: Verna Fields
Mus: John Williams
PD: Joe Alves
Roy Scheider (Police Chief Martin
Brody), Robert Shaw (Quint), Richard Dreyfuss (Matt Hooper), Lorraine Gary (Ellen Brody), Murray Hamilton (Mayor Vaughn)
The original, and by far the best, of the Jaws movies,
launched the career of its director Steven Spielberg, spawned three sequels (perhaps more if the 4th film wasn't so terrible) and at the time of its release became the most successful box office
hit of all time (two years later Star Wars knocked it off its perch).
Based on the best-selling novel by Peter Benchley, a rogue
great white shark terrorises a Long Island beach community on Independence Day weekend. The rookie police chief is aware of the dangers, taking steps to ensure the safety of the people, but the
mayor is desperate for tourists to stay on the beaches, since the finances of the seasonal town depend on them.
The real thrills happen when the chief, an oceanographer and a
salty sea captain venture out to kill the predator, and discover the threat is bigger than they initially realised.
The finished product of this film is rather serendipitous. The
(rather unconvincing) rubber shark was meant to feature more, but mechanical problems kept it's appearance to a bare minimum, ensuring that the tension was built by a sense of dread, as well as
John Williams menacing music.
In the spirit of "The Golden Rules of Horror", the scariest
moment in the film comes via way of a speech from grizzly shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw), explaining his obsession to his two sea mates by recounting the real-life horror of the USS
Though the success of the film generated a host of copycats
and a run of sequels, nothing can compare to the original film, and while the shark (when you do see it) may look a little fake, the terror is very real.
JAWS 2 (15)
D: Jeannot Szwarc
Universal (Richard Zanuck & David Brown)
W: Carl Gottlieb, Howard Sackler & Dorothy Tristan [based
on the characters created by Peter Benchley]
DP: Michael Butler, David Butler & Michael
Ed: Neil Travis, Steve Potter & Arthur
Mus: John Williams
Roy Scheider (Chief Martin Brody), Lorraine Gary (Ellen
Brody), Murray Hamilton (Mayor Larry Vaughn), Joseph Mascolo (Len Peterson), Collin Wilcox (Dr. Elkins)
Cash-grab sequel which is pretty much a retread of the first
film, but without the characters of Quint and Hooper, whose chemistry with Chief Brody made the original the classic it rightfully is.
Another man-eating shark is terrorising the holiday-goers of
Amity Island, mostly the teenagers, and the police chief has to tackle it on his own despite the mayor's resitance, who clearly hadn't learned lessons from the first film.
It has a few effective moments, but is clearly aimed at a
popcorn market. Roy Scheider's performance holds up, but the rest of the cast are quite poor. The effects, like the first film, haven't dated brilliantly, but are still streets ahead of those in
the ensuing films.
JAWS 3-D (15)
D: Joe Alves
Universal (Rupert Hitzig)
W: Carl Gottlieb & Richard Matheson [based on the
characters created by Peter Benchley]
DP: James A. Contner
Ed: Randy Roberts & Corky Ehlers
Mus: Alan Parker
Dennis Quaid (Mike Brody), Bess Armstrong (Kay Morgan), Simon
MacCorkindale (Philip Fitzroyce), Louis Gossett, Jr. (Calvin Bouchard), John Putch (Sean Brody), Lea Thompson (Kelly Ann Bukowski)
3-D addition to the Jaws films. This time a man-eating Great White Shark terrorises tourists at a Florida theme park where Chief Brody's son happens to be a member of staff.
The shark looks so fake, it's more likely to evoke laughter
than screams of terror, and the acting performances are well below standard, especially from theme park owner Louis Gossett, Jr., fresh off the back of his Oscar win for 'An Officer & A
In defence, it was intended to be seen in 3D, and with the gimmick it works an awful lot better than without... but the whole exercise sums itself up as a 99 minute advert for
SeaWorld, and really not a good one.
JAWS: THE REVENGE (15)
D: Joseph Sargent
Universal (Joseph Sargent)
W: Michael de Guzman [based on the characters created
by Peter Benchley]
DP: John McPherson
Ed: Michael Brown
Mus: Michael Small
Lorraine Gary (Ellen Brody), Lance Guest (Michael
Brody), Mario Van Peebles (Jake), Karen Young (Carla Brody), Michael Caine (Hoagie Newcombe)
Pathetic and superfluous fourth chapter to the Jaws
movies, in which a great white shark (which growls like a fucking lion!) is seeking revenge on Chief Brody's widow, following her and her sons halfway across the world to the Caribbean
because it's so hungry for vengeance.
The cast just look like they're in it for the pay day,
backed up by Michael Caine's claim that he "hadn't seen the movie, but the house it built was rather fantastic".
The proof is in the proverbial pudding, as it was bad
enough to ensure that no further sequels were made. The biggest insult is that it actually recycles footage from the original movie! Amongst the worst movies ever made.