Jaws: the essential horror movie of the 1970's. What a rush back then! A quaint little town in New England ravaged and bloodied by a 25ft Great White Shark. It's the stuff nightmares are made of. I myself have lost numerous body parts to dreamt-of sharks.
In 1973, JAWS was a major undertaking, and made careers for both Steven Spielberg and Richard Dreyfuss, who are today Oscar winners and well-respected men in their profession. JAWS also spurned the idea that psychology is the biggest tool in your belt to scare your audience. It's nearly a perfect movie, and was a major part in my inspiration to attend film school. In fact, I once had aspirations to be the director who would take on the challenge of JAWS and really making it what it was meant to be.
If you look at the original screenplay, you would see that Spielberg had many more ideas he wished to accomplish, but simply did not have the time, money, or technology to make it happen.
Now, it would seem that someone stole my idea and is putting JAWS through the polish-and-update machine and is getting ready to expose the carnage to an entirely new generation. This has me both excited...and hesitant.
I'll go over the reasons why I'm excited first:
1) The Story
I fell in love with this movie and it's story. For the only time, I can honestly say I liked the movie better than the book. It inspired me to go to Film School, and is one of the best adventure stories to date.
2) Advanced Technology
Modern tech could really...and I mean REALLY put some new shoes on this old bad boy. I mean, come on! Check out the animatronics of "Deep Blue Sea"! The robotic shark this time around could look like a shark instead of...well...a muppet.
3) Live footage
White Shark population is once again booming, and it would be more than simple to get as much real-life footage of White Sharks than ever before...in HD!
Now for my concerns:
1) Great standards = high expectations
I fell in love with the movie. This means that anything that doesn't meet my already high-expectations will fall short. This happened when I went to see "The Avengers" in a 2nd run theatre...the movie didn't live up to the over-hype from all my friends, so I was underwhelmed. Not to say I didn't enjoy it...Avengers was great! But not as awesome as everyone told me it would be. A new JAWS I think would have the same effect for me.
Modern tech could ruin the movie as much as it could help it. The original JAWS forced Spielberg to show the shark way less than he wanted. This forced the audience to envision the shark within their own minds, and that made the beast even scarier. Today we have CGI, Animatronics and 3D technology.
CGI is the big kicker here. In 1993, the first Jurassic Park movie came out, and to this day, sets the bar for Computer Generated Monsters. I have yet to see a movie since then where I have been ah blown away by the CG Creatures. Even Star Wars didn't come close. CGI has diminished in quality...mainly due to budget...since Jurassic Park, and while Deep Blue Sea had some of the most amazing Animatronics I have ever seen...it also had some of the WORST in CGI. I could easily see this being repeated in JAWS: THE REBOOT.
What about 3D? IMHO, this tool has become a gimmick and is in no way needed for many movies that have it...just to have it. Movies like Tron: Legacy and James Cameron's AVATAR were the kinds of movies 3D was made for! Despicable Me 2 or The Dark knight Rises on the other hand? Not so much. I wouldn't even have had Star Trek: Into Darkness in 3D. It just wasn't necessary.
JAWS would not warrant 3D tech, but will see it anyways, because let's face it...all movies are in 3D now...a sad, sad truth.
It is far more than likely, that a new JAWS would be a catalyst for a director and/or studio to wanna "show off" what they are capable of...and show the shark 5-6 times more than it was seen in the original. This would take away from the psychological freak-outs that are attainable only by showing the beast as much as needed...and ONLY as much as needed...not as much as WANTED.
Man oh man. Nothing can compare to Robert Shaw's performance of the Shark-Ahab. This salty sea-dog who comes off as scary-psycho at first, but then becomes heartfelt and loveable...could only have been mastered by Shaw. I remember in acting class in highschool, I had to do his monologue as part of an exercise. This long, epic monologue about the Indianapolis Massacre was written by Shaw himself, replacing the one already found in the script...and was a work of pure genius. Whoever is chosen to replace Robert Shaw as the "Quint-Essential" (yes, I went there) Quint...would make or break the movie. The entire success or failure of the movie would rest on the shoulders of "New Quint".
There is a difference between a remake and a reboot. A remake is just that...something remade. A great (and yet poor example) is Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO (subsequently, #2 on my all-time-faves list...second only to JAWS). Redone in the '90's with Vince Vaughn portraying Norman Bates. While it stayed true to Psycho...it was TOO true...and didn't seem at all different. Shot for shot, line for line, the original and the remake were one and the same...the difference? New actors and the addition of colour. A reboot is like Tim Burton's BATMAN vs that of Chris Nolan. A different twist, take, cast, script...the works. The only thing that's the same is the overall concept.
JAWS warrants a remake...not a reboot. Reboots often take the original and place it in the here and now, and often plan on an entire saga or series. JAWS needs to maintain its 1-movie standing (all sequels since the original were pure abominations by comparison), and needs to maintain its status as a 1970's timepiece. Why? Because of Quint. His motivation for hunting the shark was largely in part due to his experiences with the 1945 Indianapolis Massacre wherein "...1100 men went into the water, 316 come out and the sharks took the rest..." Any later than 1973-1980 and Quint would simply be too old to hunt the Shark...of far too young to remember the Indianapolis. This plot point of him being there, watching his shipmates torn apart by sharks, is the crux...the catalyst if you will of the entire plot, and to ditch it in favour of a "more modern take" on the story would just be blasphemous.
Furthermore, sharks and shark hunting are a delicate issue today, and to once again show a movie that portrays Great White Sharks as villains in the here and now could spawn more controversy than it did in the 70's and 80's. Personally I'm a big fan of White Sharks and the guys at OCEARCH, and would hate to see that reputation demolished once again.
5) Just another B movie?
Ok let's take a look at "Killer Shark" movies of late: Deep Blue Sea, Sharkweek, Sharknado, Two-Headed Shark Attack, Ghostshark, and I'll even toss in Piranha 3D and 3DD. On the whole, these movies are getting worse and worse and even worse. Hopefully JAWS: THE REMAKE will restore the reputation it's genre once had. (Granted, I didn't hate Deep Blue Sea.)6) Just another Jurassic Park?
I referenced this earlier...and JP was a great thriller...but didn't give too many people nightmares. Well...not since the first one of the now-quadrilogy anyhow. How do we make JAWS, once the scariest movie of all time, scary again? That's the main challenge. With today's bloodbath of horror movies ranging from 4 SCREAM movies, to nearly a dozen FRIDAY THE 13th movies and almost as many NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET movies and even a HALLOWEEN reboot (I bow to your talents, Mr.Rob Zombie...way to show how to truly REBOOT a franchise!), society is inundated with blood, guts, gore and thrashers. It just isn't scary anymore. Today, it's all about the Paranormal. Ghosts, Demons, Possession. But even that type of fear is losing its flavour. Without really having the ability to really SCARE your audience, the new JAWS will just become another Jurassic Park, PG13 fun adventure flick. So good luck on that one, movie-makers! I don't envy that challenge!
What are your thoughts? Who do you think could pull off the ultimate "New Quint"?