Jul 18, 2020

Mini Review--LIFE: Jaws by The Editors of Life

In 1975, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws transformed the Hollywood landscape, sparked a cultural phenomenon and took a huge bite out of the collective psyche, with the public always wondering what lurked just beneath the surface of the water. The first true summer blockbuster was a masterpiece of the thriller genre, following the terrifying ordeal of a beach community under attack by a monstrous great white shark. This LIFE special issue celebrates the 45th anniversary of this iconic film (which earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture) with an in-depth look at Spielberg's revolutionary filmmaking and storytelling techniques, the chaotic making of the movie and its lasting legacy, and why, 45 years later, it’s still scary. Please note that this product is an authorized edition published by the Meredith Corporation and sold by Amazon. This edition is printed using a high quality matte interior paper and printed on demand for immediate fulfillment.

So if you didn't already know, one of my all time favorite movies is Jaws! The cult classic turns 45 this year and while strolling B&N I saw this special edition LIFE: Jaws that's basically an insider's look at the movie, the actors, Steven, Peter, and sharks in a post-Jaws world.

I wrote down a lot of notes and facts, but really, what it comes down to is a summary of the magazine and I don't want to do that. Jaws was phenomenal for so many reasons, Steven Spielberg was a young director at the time and when he glimpsed the script on a desk at Universal he asked if he could take it on. Since Universal wasn't overly interested at the time of Richard Zanuck and David Brown pitching it, they let Stephen have it.

Of course, as you already know the movie wouldn't be much of anything without the book Jaws by Peter Benchley. Peter was inspired by a few things regarding sharks to write this book, there was a shark that was harpooned that weighed nearly 4,500 pounds, he watched a documentary by Peter Gimbel about Great Whites. Soon he sat down to write the novel that would soon start a revelation for the movie business.

Jaws changed the movie business for a lot of reasons. This movie received more promotions than any other had before, Stephen was a young director and not as well-known yet, the actors were even hesitant to sign on because they thought Stephen was too young to make this work. 

What I found fascinating was that Stephen actually had Valerie Taylor film live shark footage before the movie got underway. I guess I thought it had been vice versa, as the mechanical sharks that were built for the movie didn't react well to saltwater. This is why the shark isn't seen until almost halfway through the movie. But Stephen used that fear of the unknown attack from underwater and made it work. But anyway, there were moments that actually required Stephen to need live shark footage, mostly in the scene where Hooper goes into the shark cage. There was quite an interesting backstory to that.

Truly, this is a magazine feature to read for the fans of the movie who may not remember all these delightful hidden secrets of the movie. Like I knew that Brody's famed line, "You're going to need a bigger boat," was improvised, but I was curious as to what his line was supposed to be. Sadly, the magazine didn't mention that which means, but a quick look online basically has it as a behind-the-scenes joke. Who would've thought!

I was also shocked to learn that later on in life Peter Benchley regrets writing the book for all the ill will it's put on sharks. Sharks have since been hunted down and killed heedlessly for no reason...or worse as Peter discovered on a dive, sharks were being killed for their dorsal fin which is used in soup, and after it was cut off, the "fishermen" dumped the shark back into the water. Sharks can't swim without this fin and they basically drown and die when its cut off. Here I thought people feared to go in the water after this movie, instead they go shark hunting.

All in all, this was an enjoyable little read where I learned a little bit of new facts or possibly relearned after watching the 1995 making of the movie that was included in a VHS anniversary set. Either way, it was an enjoyable way to past an hour or so.

Overall Rating 4/5

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are an award all on their own! So my blog is an award free one! Thanks for any consideration though!