harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

Jaws Review Part II of II

Scene 40: We get more shots of people swimming and boats patrolling, including several shots of a POV from underwater seeing kids treading water (in an echo of the shots used to set up Alex's attack). In the meanwhile, between these shots, we see Mayor Vaughn speaking to a reporter and stating that they've caught a predator which 'supposedly injured some bathers' and invites everyone down for a great time because 'Amity, as you know, means friendship!".

As we cut back to the ocean and the swimmers, a woman sees a black fin in the water cruising toward her... mass panic breaks out as everyone rushes to get out of the water.

Commentary: This scene is so clever, because no where during it do we hear the JAWS theme hinting to us that it isn't what we think.

With the panic, kids are trampled, the old Councilman the Mayor pressured to get in the water lies face half in the water, obviously injured by the retreating crowd and pandemonium breaks along the coastline (including one extremely stupid woman who stands there in chest deep water holding her kid in her arms and screaming and crying, but making no moves whatsoever to GET OUT OF THE WATER! Surely Darwinism attempting to do its duty to the gene pool).

Mayor Vaughn looks on and you can see the "oh shit, there goes our summer" look on his face. At the same time in the chaos, Ellen is frantically yelling for Michael, echoing Mrs. Kintner crying out for Alex earlier.

Fortunately for everyone in the water, the 'shark' turns out to be two kids with a cardboard fin, both of which should be whipped until their butt cheeks are crimson and they can't sit down for a week. As they're hauled out of the water by the coast guard patrolmen, and Martin is dealing with the injuries on the beach, a hippie/artist type woman strolling away from the crowd, spots the real shark and starts yelling for help.

Scene 41: As the woman starts yelling the shark is going in the pond, Chief Brody tells Ellen "now what?" until Ellen reminds him that he told her that Michael is in the pond... both of them race for the inlet.

The kids in the pond aboard Michael's little skiff are having problems with the sail rope and a creepy (but I'm sure perfectly nice) guy offers his help (but he's got a creepy vibe)....

The shark, however, interrupts everyone by hitting the guy's little rowboat. The boys also go into the water as they're boat flips over....

Scene 42: After Michael bobs to the surface, the guy in the red dingy gets yanked under. He quickly surfaces screaming in pain as he loses his leg and blood erupts over the water.

Michael watches as the shark retreats back toward open water, the guy eaten. He's hauled to shore by his friends and Ellen panicky cries that he's dead, but Martin tells her he's in shock....

Scene 43: At the island hospital, Sean is in Martin's arms sleeping as Ellen follows her son's bed being rolled into his room. The nurse let's them know that Michael is fine, mild shock is all, and he'll be released in the morning.

Commentary: And the young doctor is so cute! But he can't keep himself from glancing at the cameraman as he passes by....

Martin hands off Sean to Ellen to take home. "Back to New York," she asks.

"No. Home, here," responds, before going to find Mayor Vaughn.

Commentary: I love the way Martin is holding Sean here, his hand up the back of his shirt and rubbing his bare back. I don't know if Roy had kids at this time, but these very small details that can go by unnoticed paint the picture of a warm and devoted father and his chemistry with Lorraine Gary as Ellen here is spot on and only adds to all of their scenes as a couple who has remained deeply in love through their years together. It's far, far better than the relationship in the novel, in which they're treated with the stereotypical strained marriage in which the monster draws them closer together through adversity trope. I don't remember much of the novel, though I know I've read it during the JAWS-mania that swept the country. I remember being disappointed that the characters weren't anything like in the movie, and I appreciate Steven and the screenwriters ditching the entire subplot involving Ellen's affair with Matt Hooper from the movie. These are people we can like and want to know.

Scene 44: Mayor Vaughn is in shock, himself and apologizes for not listening to Martin to begin with. He tries to justify that he was thinking of the best interests of the town, while Brody tries to convince him to sign a contract to hire Quint to kill the shark. He becomes exasperated when the Mayor is still trying to convince himself that there is a way to save the season and yells at him, but the Mayor gets a very human moment here that his forebears will be denied:

Vaughn: "Martin- Martin, my kids were on that beach, too...."

Brody gets the Mayor to sign the contract for Quint.

Commentary: And, amazingly, the Mayor, the newsman, none of the Councilmen nor the Medical Examiner are forced to pay their Karmic debt by ending up shark food..., how can the granddaddy of the killer animal flick avoid the very cliches that the movies following in its path are enslaved by?

I guess the quick answer is the difference between real film makers and knock off artists....

Scene 45: In Quint's shack the following day, he makes a bunch of demands that seem to get more outlandish but the Chief just tells him he'll get what he wants....

Quint is the sort of tough old salt, clearly blue collar, and spends his time hunting sharks, collecting their jaw bones and making homemade moonshine. And although Hooper is all smiles when he sees the inside of Quint's shack, his white collar upbringing is going to put these two men at odds for no other reason than Quint seems to have a chip on his shoulder...

... which he immediately proves by basically being a huge dick toward Hooper and to a lesser extent, even toward the Chief, himself. He forces Matt to tie a sheepshank to prove he knows what he's doing, and he grabs his hands and then berates him for having "soft hands", hands that have been too used to counting money all of his life. Hooper takes it for a bit, but finally yells at Martin that he doesn't need this "working class hero crap".

An accomodation is reached wherein if Quint wants the bounty he'll have to take on both Hooper and the Chief, which is accepted but not until after Quint makes it a point of telling them on the water he's captain of the ship.

Scene 46: Shortly after, their loading aboard the ship with Quint's man loading netting, a rifle, and little else while Hooper is contrasted by loading all sorts of electronic gear, an anti-shark cage, scuba tanks, etc.

Commentary: This scene is actually directly related to the preceeding as it extends the working-class fisherman (hard work using Quint's own two hands) vs. Hooper's priviliged background (he relies on tools and gadgets to do the work for him) and only serves to exacerbate the tensions already between the two men - wholly because of Quint. Hooper never seems to look down on Quint for his background or 'working for a living', but Quint seems to want to read some sort of class warfare into everything - as we sort of got a hint from with his monologue to the townspeople back in the meeting room following Kintner's death. We also have Quint slyly berating the shark cage idea in an exact echo of scene 02 from 'Revenge of the Creature'....

In the meanwhile, we also are clearly shown that Brody is just as ill-prepared for this trip as Ellen worries over packed extra socks and his Dramamine pills. Quint makes some crude comments, apparently just for the hell of it to upset Ellen.

The Orca pulls out, which we see from shore through the jaws of a shark hanging in front of the window.

Scene 47: Some time later, the Orca is drifting with the tide as the Sheriff chums. Quint takes the opportunity to slyly verbally bash Hooper again about all of the equipment he's brought aboard.

We get a fade cut, indicating time has passed and there is boredom aboard ship. Quint talks Brody over learning to tie a basic seaman's knot. Suddenly, as the Chief continues with his knot tying practice, the line starts clicking and Quint slowly gets himself belted into his chair and grabs the heavy duty rod, putting it into its hold.

Suddenly, the line starts running....

As Hooper runs the ship to Quint's yelling orders at him, he figures out that the fish has gone under their boat. Hooper insists that he doesn't have a shark on the end and tells him to let it go, but Quint yells at him and berates him telling him he knows what he's doing and insisting it is a shark (implying he'd know that if he did more than hanging out in a lab with his fancy white-collar job).

When they attempt to haul whatever it is onboard, the piano wire snaps - causing Quint to insist that proves it was a shark, which Hooper denies. Quint insults him by telling him that college boys don't know how to admit their wrong. Hooper makes faces behind his back, and complains to himself about Quint's attitude.

Scene 48: Time passes again, with Quint looking from the crows nest for any sign of the shark. He orders Brody to start another chum line, and when Brody insists Hooper can take a turn, Quint sternly tells him that Hooper drives the boat.

Brody starts the chum line, muttering to himself that anyone can drive a damned boat and Hooper should try "chumming this shit". Over his shoulder, the shark pops up through the blood filled water, shocking Brody away from the edge.

The Chief backs away into the cabin where Quint is and utters one of the most famous movie lines in history, "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

As Quint orders Hooper to stop the engine, all three watch the shark approach the boat and swim past, shocked and awed by its sheer size. 25 feet and over 3 tons, according to Quint's expert opinion.

There's a sudden flurry of activity aboard ship, with Quint assembling a harpoon rifle while Hooper tries to get some photographs of the massive fish.

As the others are out of hearing shot, Ellen calls the boat through the Coast Guard, but Quint quickly reports that they haven't seen anything yet and the Chief is fishing and hangs up without giving Ellen a chance to say a word. He proceeds out onto the rear deck.

Quint has the Chief take the helm, while he and Hooper prepare to shoot harpoon line with large yellow barrels attached to force the shark to remain at the surface.

While Quint is setting up for his shot, though, Hooper is below decks grabbing a transmitter to attach to the barrels. This angers Quint who wants to get a shot at the beast's head, but because of the delay, he'll end up putting it into the dorsal fin, instead.

With a barrel in the shark, Hooper takes the helm again and gives chase, but the shark goes under and they lose it. Hooper is frustrated, while Quint just silently looks at him, letting him know that he screwed up again....

Commentary: The music here is again very good, adding an exciting sense of adventure to the scene. I like how Brody can't let go of his 'bigger boat' plan either.

Scene 49: That evening, Hooper is drinking along with Quint. The tensions that have been plaguing the trip out finally start to be alleviated in a fun scene where the two men bond over their various injuries. It starts with Quint proofering an olive branch (in a very macho way) by telling him to fell his permanent bump on his head from some brawl he was in as a young man.

Hooper tells him he has that beat, and shows him a moray eel bite that penetrated his wetsuit and left a long scar. This leads Quint to point out that he can't extend his arm because of a huge Chinese guy in an arm wrestling championship match... and they're off sharing, comparing, drinking to each other's wounds and laughing. The Chief, amusedly, pulls up his sweater and briefly considers sharing his appendix scar, but wisely thinks better of it.

Brody notices a scar on Quint's arm and asks about it. At first Quint blows it off as a tatoo he got removed. But when Hooper jokes that he guesses it said, "Mother", Quint solemnly tells him it was from the Indianapolis, that he was aboard when it was sunk by the Japanese in WWII right after they had delivered the H-bomb to where it would be loaded aboard the plane that would drop it on Hiroshima.

A silence fills the cabin as Quint tells the story of what happened, and we get an insight into what makes Quint a shark hunter.

Commentary: The details of this story however, are completely at odds with historical fact, alas. But I will say that this scene is amazing as Robert Shaw does a fantastic job with the monologue. You can find the true history of the Indianapolis disaster HERE. For the movie purposes, though, I can overlook the wrong details and just enjoy the performance. Robert Shaw is nothing less than brilliant here, nearly bringing tears to the eyes with his intensity and utterly commanding attention to his tale of the men who went into the water, only to be torn to pieces by the sharks that stalked the survivors.

With the mood turned somber, Quint starts to sing and Hooper joins him, turning the song to the more light hearted "Show Me the Way to Go Home"... a song which often gets lodged in my brain and repeats over and over....

Anyway, the raucous singing is interrupted when the shark makes its return and being slamming itself against the hull, causing leaks to appear!

Scene 50: As Matt Hooper struggles to get the engine running, and water starts filling the lower compartment, Brody immediately goes for the radio to call for help. Quint calmly loads his rifle and when a kerosene lantern falls to the deck and starts a fire, he just a calmly asks the Chief to put it out.

When the cabin lights go out, Quint orders everyone on deck (and I'm pretty sure this is more day for night photography which isn't entirely successful). Quint tries to shoot the shark with a rifle, despite Hooper telling him not to waste his time. With the memory of Quint's experiences fresh in our mind, I think this is the first hint that he's actually afraid of the sharks he's been hunting all this time. And afraid of none more so than a shark as massive as this one, who has actually attacked the hull of the boat.

Martin grabs his police revolver, but the shark disappears again. We get a shot of the boat looking small and vulnerable out on the very large ocean....

Scene 51: The rest of the night passed without incident and in the overcast morning light, Quint and Hooper work on repairing the boat's drive shaft, trying to clear water from the fuel lines. Brody is at the helm, trying to spin the wheel as Quint directs.

Behind the boat, the barrel suddenly pops up into view with a huge splash. Brody calls the other two out of the below decks engine area and the men watch the barrel floats to stern. Thinking the shark has finally tired out, Quint has Hooper grab the boat hook to bring it in and wrap it around the cleats to haul the shark to the surface.

And I didn't notice it before, because it's not where your eyes naturally go, but if you look at the side of the boat, close to the waterline you can see the damage to the hull that is causing the boat to take on water. Hooper first mentions here that he's brought poisons aboard that will be enough to kill the beast, but Quint thinks it's pretty much defeated already.

As the two men are pulling in the barrel line, the shark suddenly lunges from the surface yanking the rope from their hands and tearing Quint's palm open. He bites through the rope holding the barrel to him. The shark goes back under....

Quint tells Brody to start up the engine, but he's heading toward the cabin to "make a phone call". Quint, suicidally, follows Brody in and destroys their only means of calling for help, clearly obsessed now with defeating this shark and making it irrationally personal. Brody throws a temper tantrum that Quint has gone certifiable, but their interrupted by Hooper telling them that the shark has surfaced again and is heading directly toward them.

The shark does a slow cruise of the Orca, lifting its head enough to check them all out, while Hooper readies a barrel for the harpoon gun. Quint takes the gun from him and lines up a shot to send another barrel into the shark.

With adventure music playing, the Orca, with Matt at the helm, goes after the shark as they follow the barrel. As the pull up on top of the shark, Quint sends a second barrel into him. Brody gets out his police issue and shoot at the shark as it swims along side the Orca.

Scene 52: Again, the shark seems defeated by the bouyoncy of the two barrels and Quint pulls the boat along side. Brody and Matt use boat hooks to grab the barrel lines in order to try to wrap around the cleats again. This time they manage it. But the shark shows he still has fight in him by making a run for it, even after Quint fires a third harpoon into him, dragging the boat and causing even more water to flood the engine compartment as Hooper yells out that they're starting to break up!

The shark manages to yank the cleats right off the boat and to submerge with three barrels, a feat that he's never seen before in all of this years of sharking.

Scene 53: Even more unusual for a shark, the beast seems intent on targeting the Orca and those aboard. As Brody struggles to pump water out of the boat, Hooper tries to get the motor running so they can get out of there before they sink. The shark head directly for them, dragging the three barrels.

And, despite Quint's insistence that no shark can go under water with three barrels attached, the shark does just that. Quint and Hooper are clearly scared now, because this shark is not acting as any has before. On the deck, Brody gives up on hand pumping as the deck is now ankle deep in sea water. As he climbs up toward the helm, the shark hits the Orca causing the whole thing to list over.

It surfaces once again....

Commentary: And it's at this point we have some major continuity issues with the shark. While the remainder of the movie is exciting and nerve-wracking, the barrels that the shark is hauling around comes and goes depending on whether we're seeing it, or if the barrels are needed to tell us where it's located. This remains an issue throughout the rest of the movie, as when Hooper goes into the water later, we'll see a distinct lack of barrels, but there is no indication that the shark was supposed to have divested itself of them....

Anyway, Quint revs up the motor and informs the other two that they're going toward shallower water, much to Brody's relief. In the meanwhile to Hooper's disbelievement (new word!), the shark actually starts chasing them in!

Quint, clearly afraid, drives the Orca faster and faster, despite Hooper's insistence that he needs to throttle back because it can't take it. When Matt tries to throttle it back himself, Quint angrily pushes him away and shares a grim laugh with Brody.

Scene 54: Matt is correct and heavy, black smoke starts pouring out from the engine room just before there is an explosion that kills the Orca's drive, leaving the men stranded aboard a sinking vessel with the shark still stalking them. (When Hooper goes below decks, we can see there is waist level water already and that is before the engine blows, likely putting another hole in the hull.)

As Quint takes in the damage aboard the Orca, on the aft deck Brody and Hooper watch as the shark manages to go under again. Quint grabs life preservers for the other two, but refuses to wear one himself because of watching men from the Indianpolis eaten alive so long ago.

Scene 55: With his way failing, Quint turns to Hooper's modern equipment asking him what he can do with the things he's brought aboard. Hooper plans to take down a spear, poison and the anti-shark cage. With luck, he can jab it in the mouth when it approaches and pump enough poison into it to be nearly immediately fatal.

Brody yells at him that he'll take the cage apart, but there isn't any other good choices to survive and the plan is put into effect.

Matt, literally scared spitless, gets in the cage and is lowered down....

Scene 56: To the rapid JAWS theme, Matt gets a good look at massive size of the shark as it slowly cruises by him....

Commentary: We get an inserted shot of a real great white, and while he's a beautiful animal, he's nowhere near 25 feet long in these shots. In addition, the vanishing/appearing barrels remain a continuity problem.

Matt readies himself, but is taken by surprise when the shark comes at him from behind and rams the anti-shark cage, causing him to drop the spear!

The shark rams the cage over and over in an attempt to force its way inside as Matt fights back with a tragically inadequate knife.

Commentary: There is another problem here that will be repeated most aggregiously in JAWS III in that the shark moves backward, something that real Great Whites are unable to do. It wouldn't be able to 'fall away' from the cage as it does here, allow Matt to escape....

Hooper goes up through the top of the cage and then makes an emergency dive toward the ocean floor.

The shark starts spinning atop the cage, making it impossible to lift it out of the water for Brody and Quint. The transom above their heads starts to snap under the weight being bared, and all looks lost for Matt Hooper.

Commentary: And this is another scene that had to have come from Steven Spielberg seeing the Creature... movies. Specifically, this is a scene seen in Creature From the Black Lagoon when the Gillman accidentally gets tangled up in the ship's large fishing net....

By the time the shark moves off again, and the broken transom can be rigged to bring the cage up, it looks like a broken piece of tin leaving the other two men to assume that Hooper has been killed. We've seen that Matt is currently on the ocean floor, however, and is hiding behind an outcropping.

Scene 57: With Brody distracted with grief over Hooper's lost, Quint watches the shark made a run at them. It (very fakey-lookingly) leaps out of the water and onto the aft deck of the Orca, causing everything to fall back toward the rear of the ship. Brody and Quint both try to back up into the cabin area, where they're knocked off their feet. Quint is holding a cabinet top to keep from slipping down the deck, but one of Hooper's air tanks rolls onto his fingers and with a yell of pain, he has to let go. Brody grabs his wrist, but can't hold onto him and he slides down toward the waiting shark!

Brody also starts sliding down, but is able to grab the door frame and pull himself up and into the cabin. Meanwhile, Quint desperately kicks at the shark, but is unable to drive it away. It clamps down first on his legs and then on his waist. As Quint screams, it chomps down hard onto his chest and drags him, dead, under the water to be consumed.

Brody struggles in the cabin as the Orca quickly lists on its way to sinking for good, when the shark rams through the windows and launches itself at him....

Brody is able to drive it out (again, it impossibly moves backward to acheive this) by throwing an air tank into its mouth.

Commentary: Grossly, there are chunks of Quint stuck in its teeth. Gross.

Scene 58: The Chief climbs out of window and finds Quint's rifle next to the wheel. He grabs this and a pike and climbs the crow's nest which is very quickly approaching water level.

As he climbs, the shark makes an attempt to reach him, trying to chew at the crow's nest pole, but has difficulty biting down because of the air tank still clearly caught in its throat. Brody is able to drive it off temporarily with the pike, but the pike pole snaps and he loses this weapon.

The shark vanishes beneath the surface again as Brody gets set up with the rifle in a last ditch attempt to save his own life.

Commentary: Yes, yes, the shark very conveniently heads toward him close to the surface, with the air tank sticking partially out of the corner of its mouth and at the perfect angle for Brody to shoot at it (rather than say coming up from beneath his feet, or the opposite direction from the way he's facing).

We have to accept this as a movie conceit if the good guy is going to win. Also conveniently, just as Brody shouts his signature line, "Smile, you son of bitch!" he doesn't then completely miss.

The rifle bullet hits the air tank and blows up spectacularly blowing the sharks head clean off.

Scene 59: After loudly cheering, he remembers Matt and Quint and sighs, as he nears the water line now, still stuck out to sea.

Matt returns to the surface and heads for Brody who laughs in relief. Matt questions after Quint, but Brody only replies, "No."

They manage to rig some barrels together with some lumber from the Orca deck and use them as a flotation device to head back into shore.

The Good: The pacing for one - this movie is two hours long, but I never feel like it's dragging or stretching things out unnecessarily. The tensions begin slowly and then constantly build up toward the sinking of the Orca. Also as part of the pacing, I never get the feeling that a scene is being rushed through in order to get to the 'good stuff'. Each scene is allowed to breathe by Spielberg and the actors are given the room they need.

The characters are fantastic. Not only do the actors do a fantastic job of presenting real people having real relationships, but the writing doesn't take short cuts by presenting archetypes. Instead, everyone is given very real reactions and warmth, even Quint ends up having a friendly relationship with Hooper and Brody - no one is deliberately hateful so we'll 'feel good' about seeing them slaughtered. Even Mayor Vaughn ends up all too human when he realizes that he put his own kids at risk by keeping the beaches open and encouraging everyone to go swimming on the 4th's weekend.

Both the deaths of Chrissie Watkins and Alex Kintner are nightmarish and suspenseful, rather than by rote. And, NO ONE JUST FORGETS THEM once the scene is done. These aren't characters there for no other reason than to present a body count. In fact, we spend several minutes (especially Chrissie) with them before they become victims.

The music, especially the famous JAWS theme that only hightens the tension of every scene in which it plays.

The domestic scenes with Ellen and Martin were all nice rather than feeling like we're just stretching out the run time, and his interactions with his kids were wonderful scenes.

The powerhouse scene of Mrs. Kintner confronting the Chief was just amazing... the actress completely nailed it, and the scene isn't rushed so she has the time she needs to inhabit the moment of the scene, if that makes sense.

Actor chemistry cannot be overrated, and here the actors do a great job of connecting with each other appropriately.

The Bad: The shark effects are dodgy in some places if you really want to scrutinize them, especially when they switch back and forth later between actual shark footage and the mock up.

The disappearing/reappearing barrels, I've mentioned.

Also, as mentioned, the day for night photography creates problems - especially where we're meant to think the moon is bright and full, but the sky is heavily overcast.

The Score: I love this movie. I can watch it over and over and never be bored by it or FF through it. 4.50 out of 5 stars.

Read another obsessively detailed review at from Jabootu!

Tags: recommendation, review jaws

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