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Jaws (DVD) Review


Steven Spielberg's breakout film, Jaws is the quintessential summer blockbuster, creating all the horror, thrills, suspense, and special effects you would expect from such a film. Not excessively violent or gruesome like traditional horror films, Jaws nonetheless manages to create an icy frost in every viewer's veins. Based on the true story of a great white shark which terrorized the shores of New Jersey in the summer of 1916, Jaws is an ingenious adaptation of Peter Benchley's best-selling novel inspired by the incident. Jaws tells the story of man's eternal struggle against nature, a story so compelling it captures the imagination of every generation who hears it - from 1916 to 1975 to the present day.

Jaws takes place in the small New England beach resort of Amity Island, the perfect summer getaway for Northeastern tourists. But this Normal Rockwell community paradise is about to be turned upside down. Late one night, a young couple decides to go swimming. But when the woman's mangled body is washed ashore the next morning, it's clear to local authorities that she isn't a typical drowning victim. The medical examiner informs Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) that the woman could have been the victim of a shark attack, but Amity Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) refuses to speculate, fearing that public knowledge of a shark attack would kill the local economy.

When another shark attacks occurs, this time is broad daylight, the incident draws shark expert Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) to the area. Working with Chief Brody, Hooper postulates that a great white shark is responsible for the attacks, and the swimming population is in great danger. Meanwhile, a shark hunter named Quint offers to find and kill the shark for $10,000, but Mayor Vaughn believes that price is too high. More and more beach combers will have to be slaughtered before he'll agree to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem, and when the authorities finally decide to go after the great white, the really danger is only beginning.

With brilliant direction and state-of-the-art special effects (satisfactory even by today's standards), Jaws is a true edge-of-your-seat thriller wrought with suspense. The unknown is masterfully woven throughout the movie with a crescendo effect that keeps the audience guessing until the end. Like any good story, the shark is never shown in the opening scenes. Instead, the movie begins with an attack in near darkness. The shark is alluded to… Even when someone is attacked in daylight, the audience is only privy to an exposed fin and the blood of the victim as it spreads across the water. This approach effectively combines fear of the unknown with the already present fear of the shark to create a chilling atmosphere for movie goers. Is it any wonder then that Jaws was a blockbuster hit?

It's this high level of suspense that I like most about Jaws. Like a fine murder novel, the scenes draw the audience into the setting, forcing you to identify with the characters. In due time, you begin to fear for your own life. After watching Jaws, you may not swim at the beach ever again… And any movie that can have that type of effect must be good! That's why Jaws ranks as a definite must-see film.

Submitted by:

Britt Gillette

Britt Gillette is author of The DVD Report, a movie and TV review site. Source: http://thedvdreport.blogspot.com/2006/02/jaws-dvd.html







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