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March 31, 2015

Just when you thought you wouldn’t read any more Jaws reviews…

I like independent film politics, you know, the stuff Lloyd Kaufman is preaching. And Roger Corman has said in some interviews that it was Jaws (1975) that killed the independent genre productions because the majors found out what they were doing and turned into something bigger and better. This reason alone was enough for me to stay away from this evil film by Steven Spielberg. The fact that I don’t like his movies in general didn’t help either. I didn’t even find depth in Schindler's List (1993). And I regret spending my cash to see the boring Artificial Intelligence: A.I. (2001) and the ridiculous War of the Worlds (2005) in a movie theatre.

But now the time has come. I finally decided to watch every film in the entire franchise. As the above paragraph reveals I am not an expert (quite the contrary I would say) so this article should be read as a reviewer’s journey and nothing more than that.

Wikipedia tells me that the first film was based on Peter Benchley’s same-titled novel, which in turn was based on some shark attacks from 1916. The success of the novel and then the first film (considered by many to be the first high-concept blockbuster flick), spawned sequels, video games, theme parks and merchandize of every kind; which generated hundreds of millions of dollars. Go ahead and read the reviews of the four films.
Jaws (1975)

Eh, a giant shark is killing people on the shore, and the chief of police [Roy Scheider from The Punisher (2004)] wants to shut down the beach, but the local businessmen have a different idea for their hot for the summer tourist attraction.

It all does sound very familiar now that I’ve seen dozens of such movies, but then maybe this was a little bit original, even though you can’t really argue with the conception that this is nothing more than a big-budget Roger Corman film.

Did I like it? No, honestly not; and not just because Steven Spielberg directed it. The major turn off for me was the big budget. You see, these creature films were good for many reasons, and one of the main ones was their shoestring budget that delivered a charm that the majors will never be able to capture.

Jaws 2 (1978)

Ah, in the first film you didn’t see the shark much, so it was supposedly about suspense, but in this sequel you see it a lot and the structure pretty much becomes a Slasher, only the killing is done in the sea, by a fish. This was directed by Jeannot Szwarc who has a very successful career in television. Okay, I admit I feel asleep during this one, and I’m giving it no second chance.

Jaws 3-D (1983)

The kitsch in the beginning gave me a rough idea of the awfulness that was about to follow. Maybe they looked cool 30 years ago in a 3-D screening, but they look like crap today.

Although the screenplay was co-written by none other than Richard Matheson there is no actual story to speak of and I had trouble to understand what the film was about. It is certainly not about the shark; and I bet it is about people talking, with the occasional 3-D gimmick thrown in.

The shark makes an appearance halfway through the flick, but do not be mistaken, suspense is not built here in the vein of the first movie. In fact I was trying to think of a worse shark movie than the first and I found one when I watching this little gem.

Just when you see a set up with a bunch of morons that would make good slaughter material, guess what, nothing happens!

Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Just when you thought you couldn’t go lower then you watch this flick by director Joseph Sargent. I mean, who in the world would come up with the idea that a thinking shark is out for revenge on particular people and their relatives from the previous films? The good thing is that there is actually a lot of gore here. And okay, I have to admit that the shark looks cooler than the ones in the movies reviewed above. This title currently has 2.8 stars on IMDb, so it must be a good film, right? Maybe this is the Jaws film that I deserve. Or maybe I’m asking for too little from my entertainment. What was Michael Caine thinking when he accepted a role in this?

Isn’t it weird to get eaten by a fish?

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