What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although the small screen lessens its impact, this movie can terrify as much as it entertains. It's not as gruesome as today's horror movies, but it may be too intense for sensitive preteens, especially those who have a fear of swimming in the ocean.
What's the story?
A tourist disappears late one night while swimming at the beach. When her remains come ashore, Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) believes it was a shark attack. Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), though, is worried about the effect such news might have on the tourist trade. After a few more attacks, some local fishermen catch a shark. The Mayor ignores warnings from ichthyologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) that shark the fishermen caught was too small to have been the one in the attacks. Another fatality sends Brody, Hooper and local fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) off to find the Great White.
Is it any good?
In 1975 JAWS became as much an American phenomenon as the Peter Benchley novel that inspired it. The movie had summer moviegoers screaming in their seats and became the first ever to gross $100 million. It was a thrilling and surprisingly funny piece of entertainment back then, and age hasn't done it any great disservice. It has what no other movie in the Giant Vengeful Animal genre has since managed to produce: a witty, believable, and compelling script; notable performances by humans; and the directorial gunpowder of a young, ambitious Steven Spielberg. Any one of those attributes can pull a mediocre idea out of the chum bucket; JAWS has it all.
While stars Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss are standouts in their roles, the movie is impossible to imagine without Robert Shaw. Three parts Ahab, two parts Long John Silver, he redefines the term "salty" with his performance, and inspires the movie's greatest dread in a speech that he himself rewrote. "You know the thing about a shark," he says. "He's got lifeless eyes, black eyes--like a doll's eyes." Seeing all those uninformed vacationers bobbing in the ocean like so many fish food flakes is gripping stuff -- certainly to be avoided by children wrestling with water phobias. Three less accomplished sequels followed, the last one fun only in its absolute ineptness. If only National Lampoon had gone ahead with their proposed parody, the boxed set would be complete; supposedly it was to be called Jaws 5, Tourists 0.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the fact that this movie is considered the first official "summer blockbuster." What other blockbusters can you think of? What do they have in common? Also, how does the movie build suspense?
What's scarier -- a monster you can see, or one you can't? Why?
|Theatrical release date:||July 1, 2000|
|DVD release date:||July 1, 2000|
|Cast:||Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider|
|Topics:||Adventures, Book characters, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Ocean creatures|
|Run time:||125 minutes|