Thursday, 19 February 2015

"Jaws" movie review

(fig. 1 – movie poster)
“Jaws” (1975) is an example of a great adaptation of a book for the big screen, offering a great sound design and frightening jump-scares. The film also has a general feeling of positivity to it, maybe further suggested by the occasional rise in the mood in the soundtrack, which happens a lot in Steven Spielberg’s movies.

“Jaws” is an extremely influential movie and has been compared many times to classic films. It does provide some jump-scares but in a way that is not too frightening. Roger Ebert talks about the film: “Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" is a sensationally effective action picture, a scary thriller that works all the better because it's populated with characters that have been developed into human beings we get to know and care about. It's a film that's as frightening as "The Exorcist," and yet it's a nicer kind of fright, somehow more fun because we're being scared by an outdoor-adventure saga instead of by a brimstone-and-vomit devil.” (Ebert, 1975)

The most memorable aspect in “Jaws” perhaps is the soundtrack that follows the great white appearance. What is more exciting is the suggestion of the shark, which definitely loses its value when actually shown on the screen.  Peter Bradshaw talks about the sound design: “Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw are the three glorious hombres of 70s Hollywood tracking down the shark, whose presence is signalled by John Williams's orchestral theme, the creepiest since Herrmann's Psycho” (Bradshaw, 2012)

What makes the film such a successful adaptation as well is maybe the time it was made. When CG was not as accessible as today, pushing the creative team into suggesting the danger rather than showing it on the screen. James Berardinelli talks about it: “For the first hour, the only glimpses we catch of the shark are fleeting and indistinct. Even after the beast makes its first, harrowing appearance, the camera doesn't dwell upon it.” (Berardinelli, 2015) (fig. 2)

 (fig. 2 – movie still)
In conclusion, in “Jaws” the shark can be regarded as a metaphor for a fear of the unknown. In symbolism the fear of the dark can be replaced by a fear of deep water, giving the film a different view-point. A lot of it however is pure “Hollywood” entertainment, the way the shark behaves has nothing to do with actual sharks, making the film more of an exaggeration, rather than a real representation.  (fig. 3)

(fig.3 – movie still)


Fig. 1 -, (2015). Jaws: Extra Large Movie Poster Image - Internet Movie Poster Awards Gallery. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2015].

Fig. 2 –, (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2015].

Fig. 3 –, (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2015].


Berardinelli, J. (2015). Reelviews Movie Reviews. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2015].

Bradshaw, P. (2012). Jaws – review. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2015].

Ebert, R. (1975). Jaws Movie Review & Film Summary (1975) | Roger Ebert. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2015].

1 comment:

  1. Hi Vlad,

    An interesting review... you might have also wanted to consider some of the other film theory that surrounds the movie; the idea of the 'vagina dentata' for example, or the idea that the shark represented capitalism, for example. Time to start digging deeper :)