Some of our SpoilerFreeReviews contributors are younger than others – and because of that, there’s a long list of movies that they haven’t seen. This is a SpoilerFreeReviews Catch-Up edition.
I was mildly intrigued when I found out JAWS was returning to theaters for a limited time and in IMAX for the first time. I’m not sure if everyone has this predicament, but I know I have a lot of movies to catch up on. It’s hard to sit down and watch something to progress my movie education when there are so many topical films to catch up on. But in theaters, I get a sense of urgency and an opportunity to check something off my list. I did the same for JURASSIC PARK in high school, and I’m happy to add JAWS to my knowledge base.
JAWS swept me off my feet. I’ve been hesitant to watch this movie because I love sharks and was so worried that JAWS would portray the shark negatively. Growing up, one of my favorite places to visit was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Sharks are oft misunderstood, and I was concerned that I would have to blame the film for popular culture’s view of them. Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) quelled those fears. He loves sharks, and having a scientist who wasn’t particularly nerdy (although, maybe that’s just a modern take), was a great addition.
The movie was solid; the final boat excursion felt like it went on a bit too long, but that’s okay. The film has aged so well; I don’t remember any scenes or lines that are incredibly offensive or discriminatory. Watching this movie in 2022, I realized that so many films draw on the tone and structure of JAWS, most recently, NOPE. In the context of JAWS, NOPE almost felt like a remake or tribute, following similar character archetypes, plot points, and climaxes.
For another example, the mayor of Amity Island’s firm inability to shut down to prevent economic loss when people were literally dying – where have I heard that before? JAWS feels timeless; its portrayal of complex people with forces of nature is a timeless formula executed with finesse.
I’m glad I saw the inspiration for Baby Shark, the ARTHUR theme gag, and countless other media in theaters. I’d recommend you do the same.
JAWS is available for a limited time in theaters and on VOD.