Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reflections on "Jaws"

Photo via Original copyright Universal Studios
Over the weekend, Mr. ShellHawk was channel surfing and happened to land on one of my all-time favorite movies, Jaws. Jaws, of course, was based on the book of the same name, written by Peter Benchley.

I'm of the opinion that Jaws is one of the most perfect films ever made. It's got action, scares, family interest, tension, naked girls and blood--pretty much everything you could want in a film. The pacing of the film, in my opinion, is perfect, the dialogue and interplay of the actors easy and unpretentious.

I love it. I own it on DVD and pull it out every so often while I'm glazing or sculpting to keep me company.
Iconic image of the poor hippie girl about to get eaten. It still scares
the crap out of me! Image via
Anyway, Mr. ShellHawk and I watched for a while, and I mentioned-not for the first time-the film's perfection. Then another thought struck me:

"This is one of those films that they could never re-make to be as good as the original."

He looked at me for a minute, then nodded in agreement. He knew where I was going with my thought process, a side benefit of having been together for eleven years.

You see, if this perfect movie were remade today, it would be utterly and completely ruined. First, we'd likely be stuck with Michael Bay as the director, and the film would be so effects-heavy that the story line would be incidental. And the story itself? Completely rewritten to make it a senseless teen flick.

Quint's character, for instance, would likely be completely different. He'd be made over into a thirty-something hottie like Adam Levine. He'd be in a twelve-step program, deeply sensitive, and he'd cry at the drop of a hat.
Quint's landmark "Indianapolis" speech would be made over completely, having been deemed too old fashioned and inaccessible to today's teens.

The motivation for his obsessive hatred of sharks would stem from a story about how he knocked his fiancee-who was pregnant with twins- off his luxury yacht in a drunken display of clumsiness, where she was eaten by a shark within seconds of hitting the water. This would be told with tears rolling down his face and would spell out for us why he's in a twelve-step program, because we wouldn't be considered smart enough to figure it out for ourselves.
The shark, itself, wouldn't be the mechanical monster, Bruce, that we all know and love. It would be a CGI extravaganza, and would appear in every scene, even photobombing police chief Martin Brody in his living room. We would see him so much and know so much of his tortured upbringing by his single mother shark that we would identify with him and feel that the persecution of this poor creature is nothing short of cruel.

(Those of you who know something about the trouble Spielberg had with Bruce's mechanical malfunctions will remember that those problems, themselves, made the shark more threatening, as his presence was, perforce, suggested and not seen until much later in the film.)

Brody, himself, would, of course, be divorced and trying to start life over with his twin girls. They would be slutty-looking teenage nightmares, giving poor old dad a hard time about moving away from Los Angeles and all their friends to this little podunk town in, say, Arkansas. (Yes, I know there's no ocean in Arkansas, but Hollywood people would invent one, anyway!) 
Click on the pic for Chrissie's last swim. Be warned! It is uncut!
One of the twins, Chrissie, would be a meth addict and fall in the water and consumed at the beginning of the movie, replacing the original Chrissie's death scene and giving her surviving twin, Ashleigh, a reason to be the one on the boat when she kills the shark with a diamond-studded tube of Guerlain lipstick. We would see all of Chrissie's "charms," as the scene would take place in broad daylight so we can watch her strip tease.

In the closing scene, when Ashleigh and Brody get rescued by a grown up Jeffrey Voorhees (he played Alex Kintner, the boy on the yellow inflatable who got eaten by the shark.) doing a cameo for the film dorks who might actually show up to see this new piece of garbage, she would tell her father that she knew that $62,000 lipstick would come in handy, and wasn't he sorry that he gave her such a hard time about wanting it? Of course, he would agree with her and offer to sell both kidneys to help her buy another tube.

Poor Matt Hooper would be the comic relief/annoying environmentalist who keeps nagging at Quint and Brody that the shark must be caught alive and transported to a marine sanctuary for re-conditioning and released back into the wild as a vegetarian. We are relieved when he is, at last, eaten by the shark, sans carrots.

The studio would then feel obliged to make ten more movies for the franchise, each of them more costly than the rest...
Ape, frolicking with Robert Shaw's model at last
month's Monsterpalooza.
I guess you can tell by now that I'm not into remaking old film for the sake of it. Movies like Jaws, in my mind, are sacrosanct. Remaking them, particularly in today's found-footage and laborious exposition-heavy movie-making style, would just kill the whole thing. Most of today's audiences who are not fans of the movie would laugh at Bruce, because he wasn't CGI, and all other manner of disconnects would occur. 


Hmm... I have some glazing to do today. Perhaps I'll have to plug this in for another watch!


  1. Great post . A remake of Jaws would be terrible , but your version is so funny that I kind of want to see it .


  2. Amen....and yes, one of the funniest posts I have read in ages.

    1. Only because it's true...

      BTW, congrats on the new studio space!


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