Can any shark movie compare to Jaws?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Sarah, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

    Message Count:
    2,988
    Trophy Points:
    5,327
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Ratings:
    +3,794
    Member Since:
    1998
    So my feeling is no. But I want to hear your thoughts. In the past while I have watched:

    The Shallows
    Sharknado (I mean please)
    The Reef
    Deep Blue Sea (I do love it)
    Open Water
    Adrift


    NONE of these compare for me to either Jaws or Jaws 2. There is just something so special about Jaws - maybe it's the 1970's, early 80's simplicity or the really high calibre of actors. Just unbeatable in my opinion when it comes to the old shark.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,432
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,658
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    Jaws is my all-time favourite film. It was the first film to completely terrify me and made a huge impact.

    It holds up well. There's so much to love: The chemistry between the actors. The natural-feeling overlapping dialogue. The warm, hazy, mid-Seventies glow. The pacing is brilliant - it's a VERY fast moving film at times, and feels even more so because of the deliberately choppy editing. And in the middle of it all comes the Indianapolis monologue which is so lengthy and wordy.

    Bruce is the most dated aspect of the film, but by the time he appears I'm totally immersed in the film.

    The legend of the difficulties that were endured when making the film adds to its substance - Bruce not working (which worked in the favour of the film); the Edgartown locals getting all uppity about the film crew; the boat sinking - all add to the layers of enjoyment when watching.

    It's a tough act to follow.




    I haven't yet seen The Shallows. I'll be getting the blu ray very soon. But I like what I've seen - apart from all the butt shots and the woman appearing to lose her clothes as the film goes on (at least Chrissie Watkins was up front about her nudity).

    Of more recent shark attack films I've seen, The Reef is far and away the best. It shares the documentary-like realism of Jaws and has a great combination of gripping suspense and action. I was riveted. Maybe I'll do a rewatch over Christmas. Black Water, the killer croc film from the same production team is also really impressive

    Open Water was a grower for me. I enjoyed a recent re-watch when my expectations were lowered.

    I loved Deep Blue Sea when it came out and watched it a lot, but I've kind of outgrown it. It's enjoyable but has no real substance. It's like watching Jaws and fast forwarding to the sharky bits.


    Adrift doesn't have sharks in it, by the way. I was disappointed, as it's since been marketed as a sequel to Open Water. But it turned out to be not a bad little film.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

    Message Count:
    2,988
    Trophy Points:
    5,327
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Ratings:
    +3,794
    Member Since:
    1998
    @Mel O’Drama Completely agree. No other shark movie compares. I can happily, yes happily, watch Jaws once a week and never get bored. I just love Chief Brody and there are so many funny things in the film that I keep finding - like this dude:

    [​IMG]

    He just comes out and stands there - it cracks me up :crazy: And Hooper is also very funny at times - as is the Chief unwittingly.

    I enjoy Deep Blue Sea but the sharks are incredibly scary looking - but in an evil way that Jaws isn't. But I have to be honest thinking about it all - these movies do go against everything I stand for as an animal lover. I disagree with going into the water to kill a shark. I don't understand why if Hooper loves sharks he wants to kill this one but I go with it, because it's Jaws. Weird.

    Of the others mentioned I do like all of them but they lack the impact that Jaws has for me. I think we were very lucky to be from a generation where sometimes the simplest things in film making turn out to be the greatest.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,432
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,658
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    He's brilliant. The way he just looks round in amusement at everyone scurrying round.

    I also love the guy in the green jacket here:



    "A whaaaaa?!" lol



    The scene where he crushes the styrofoam cup in response to Quint's macho can crushing is so funny.

    And then there's this...

    [​IMG]



    I definitely feel the same way. Jaws could get away with it because there wasn't the public awareness of shark ecology and vulnerability, so the audience believed what they were told. When I watch it I have to take it in that context.

    I appreciated how Hooper started out wanting to study the shark. His wanting to kill it was a bit of a stretch, but I also think him going from wanting to study the shark to wanting to kill it was important to the story. It gave the audience the understanding that the shark was too dangerous to live. Which is not true of any creature, of course, but I think it's important to remember that people still believed in the idea of "rogue sharks" back then.

    Ironically, I think the reason people understand so much about sharks today is because of that generation that grew up with Jaws having a huge impact. I'd say a lot of marine biologists would put their fascination with sharks down to Jaws.

    Peter Benchley himself got into shark preservation and awareness big time years after he wrote Jaws. He felt that his book had given them a bad rep, so he did all he could to undo that.



    It's the same for me. I was seven years old when I first watched it and it terrified me. But at the same time I had to know what happened next. I can't imagine I'll ever have such a profound and intense film-watching experience again.
     
  5. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,432
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,658
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008

    Last night I finally got round to watching The Shallows on blu ray. I'm glad I waited until summer to watch as it just feels more right.

    I'll comment on it as generally as I can without going into plot spoilers.

    In many ways it was exactly what I was expecting having seen the trailers and read a couple of non-spoilery reviews. I knew what the premise was; that it was beautifully shot; that there would be a lot of Blake Lively; that it was limited to pretty much the one location; that the shark looked quite realistic. From a couple of comments I read I also fully expected that things would get a bit more OTT towards the end. And all of those (for want of a better term) expectations were realised.

    As I'd suspected from the trailers, the sharky stuff is basically the first and last five minutes of Jaws - Chrissie's swim and Brody alone on a precarious, temporary perch with the shark circling - stretched out to feature length. While it's quite a different film to Jaws, the powers that be here - including the director - seem to have been shamelessly inspired by Spielberg's film in many ways, most notably the subjective way things are filmed at water level and the fact that they held back on showing the shark for most of the first two acts.

    It was a lot less bloody than I expected, which is a good thing. Yes, there were some ER moments - lovingly shot close ups of relatively minor wounds and whatnot - but I appreciated the "less is more" approach to the most horrific moments. One moment in particular which suggested an act of appalling violence - really got inside my head and left me quite horrified in a way that lingering on the detail would have completely diluted.

    The shark itself looks pretty good, though I think they did a Deep Blue Sea and went a little overboard trying to make it look a bit more monstrous than the average Great White. They've given it a distinctive character with all the scars and the hook in its mouth. It worked OK here (after all, Bruce from Jaws had a very distinctive appearance) but I couldn't help lamenting that they could have got The Shallows' shark photo realistic and they were so close, but did the classic Hollywood thing of trying to improve on nature. It did look suitably fearsome, though, and was still recognisable as a Great White. This is the kind of look that would have worked for Bruce.

    What made Jaws so successful was the interpersonal relationships, and that's not as evident here. I didn't really care about the contact with her family back in Texas (her little sister was rather precocious and annoying. Thank god she was only briefly featured), but the backstory of her medical background served to help buy later events. The backstory with the dead mother wasn't hugely necessary and felt like trying to force feed motive for survival where none was necessary (I feel this is an element Spielberg would have discarded in a heartbeat). I haven't seen Lively in anything before and found her personable enough here. She had enough character that even having her in a skimpy bikini for most of the film didn't feel as exploitative as it could have.

    The film was more suspenseful than I expected. I found myself lifting my knees up a few times when it felt like the shark could appear at any moment. But to balance it out, it did indeed get a bit OTT in the last act. Perhaps a little more so even than expected. Or at least it was OTT in a different way. But certainly not a deal-breaker.


    At the moment, I'm thinking this would probably come third below Jaws and The Reef for good shark films. But I'd need to re-watch The Reef and Open Water to confirm that. Maybe I'll do just that very soon.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,432
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,658
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    A couple of new sharky films out this summer. Curiously, the premise for both is identical: cage diving with Great Whites goes horribly wrong (so they're basically a dumbed-down version of Hooper in the cage). They both seem to be found footage films, which I have mixed feelings about.




    47 Metres Down




    Open Water 3: Cage Dive





    Even though they're pretty much the same film, 47 Metres doesn't appeal to me at all, while Cage Dive does.

    47 Metres Down looks quite brainless - full of skinny, orange bimbos with Tipp-ex teeth and vocal fry. It lost me at the moment where the flare lights up to reveal the shiver of huge Great Whites hovering around them in a circle, which is just too silly for words on so many levels.

    Cage Dive looks more promising. I'll be watching this one on blu ray. As I suppose the blu ray won't be out until the cooler months, it'll probably be this time next year before I watch. Which is fine - I can wait.
     
  7. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,432
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,658
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    Last night I watched The Reef for the second time. It was just as gripping and intense this time round. Even though I could remember the sequence of events, I still found myself getting edgy during the water-based scenes. The subjective way it was shot made just being on the water feel very threatening before the shark was even thrown into the equation.



    There's a moment on the capsized boat where the characters are faced with two options: One is to stay on a small, overturned, damaged vessel that is slowly sinking and drifting further out to sea in the hope that they will be found. The other is to swim for an island which is estimated to be some twelve miles away, is out of sight and in a direction that they are only fairly sure about. It's a literal choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. It's also the start of a journey into agoraphobia as a viewer, where one can't help wondering what decision you would make in their position, with that niggling vacillation between two horrible choices.

    I can't swim very well at all. To me, staying on the boat would be pretty much a no-brainer. But that's pre-empted by two of the characters who say just that and good arguments are put forth for them to leave, which adds to the feeling of pressure. Now I'm relating to the characters who are going into the water almost against their will, wondering if they will come to regret their decision. It's a very subjective experience which creates a nightmarish reality to being in dangerous waters against all better judgement.

    Like Jaws, I enjoy how The Reef played on those uneasy feelings that many people get in the ocean about what might be out there and then reinforced them when it turned out those feelings were intuitive:






    There's a lot of very human interaction. I remembered there was an on/of romance dynamic between two of the main characters and thought it may hinder my enjoyment the second time round. All the main characters are connected through friendship, familial bonds or romantic relationships. It sounds trite, messy and unnecessary, but it actually works here. Because they're connected in meaningful ways it adds to the jeopardy. And the horror.

    The acting, the dialogue and the look of the production all feel very unfussy, lacking in gloss and melodrama. It's un-Hollywood and very Australian.


    The Reef has far less gore than Jaws or The Shallows, which is no bad thing. It's very much a psychological thriller in which the shark feels almost incidental. This is very much about exploiting people's fears - in the best possible way.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

    Message Count:
    2,988
    Trophy Points:
    5,327
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Ratings:
    +3,794
    Member Since:
    1998
    Absolutely love your posts Mel and the detail around them. You share my shark love.

    I've watched The Reef a few times - I'm not a huge fan of Australian films, but I did enjoy it for what it was. The Shallows as you say is more glossy and unbelievable.

    Overall these movies do give sharks a really bad name. I'm not afraid of sharks in the slightest - they aren't likely to kill, but mistake us for seals. They don't seek out people. That's what I believe anyway. Really looking forward to 48 metres down.

    But in the end, nothing beats Jaws.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,432
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,658
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    Last night I re-watched this one. I seem to enjoy it a little more with each viewing, and really enjoy the documentary-like realism. It's incredible that they had the actors swimming with these real sharks bumping into them.

    The depiction of shark behaviour is really quite chilling and I suspect comes close to what could really happen if pelagic sharks saw people floating on the surface that far out to sea and were curious to know what it was. Rather than the usual film depiction of huge monstrous sharks dragging someone down, these sharks circle closer and closer and test the unusual object first by bumping it and then by having a little bite. And the blood would naturally draw in other sharks. It feels quite natural in this kind of situation, with deep sea sharks being scavengers that would feed on carrion. It's all part of nature out there.

    The two main characters aren't the most likeable to begin with. The first impression is one of those godawful narcissistic power couple types that just radiate entitlement and superiority. Watching the scene of them on the plane yakking away, laughing and chewing gum I found myself thinking what a nightmare it would be to have them sitting behind me. But with that starting point, the only way to go is up and as I was forced to spend time with them and get to know them their insecurities coming to the surface I lost a lot of that initial dislike. I can't say I loved them by the end of it, but seeing them in a more vulnerable situation for a sustained period allowed me to invest into caring about their situation.

    I'm still a bit boggled about why the full frontal nudity needed to be in the film other than fan service. On the one hand it wasn't particularly salacious, and was perhaps intended to add to the naturalism. But it's like they were in two different films. She displayed everything - arching her back and making a show of turning the light off to ensure the camera got a good peek at everything (all in the best possible taste, naturally). Meanwhile, he seemed to think he was in a PG film and quickly hopped into bed while ensuring his bits were hidden until his modesty was covered by a sheet. In the way one would if they knew they were being filmed. And then he was suddenly wearing shorts later in the night when the situation called for him to be outside of the sheets. It's the kind of double standard that leaves one in no doubt that the director is a heterosexual male. And that imbalance actually detracted from the naturalistic feel.

    Rather than being a shark attack film, this is very much about the relationship. It's essentially a two-handed play, and it's not all existentialism. There's some almost cliched domestic strife, such as their argument about her working too much and them having to compromise on their choice of holiday. "Can we just drop it?", sulks Susan after giving Daniel the silent treatment. The visual of this very prosaic conversation happening in the most extraordinary setting almost made me laugh at the ridiculousness of it. And that's exactly the point. Just what topics of conversation would a couple that have been floating on the ocean for a day talk about? At some point the situation becomes almost normalised for both characters and audience. And with nothing to distract them, they're left to continue their conversations.

    Likewise, Daniel's response to being bitten on the leg by a shark allows the audience to empathise. "I can't believe it. I've just been bitten by a shark. We don't know anyone who's ever been bitten by a shark", he laments. In a nod to the couple's established self-involvement and competitiveness he goes on to remind Susan that they'll have stories they can dine out on and out-do everyone else for the rest of their lives. It's moments like this that make me root for the sharks.

    The characters' names being a tribute to the first two shark victims in Jaws is a nice touch. She's Susan Watkins (after Susan Backlinie/Chrissie Watkins) and he's Daniel Kintner.

    Confession time, I've never actually been able to watch all the way through the scene that plays with the end credits where a very real dead shark is dissected on screen. It doesn't sit well with me at all. Using a real, dead animal this way might have been viewed as acceptable in the Seventies for films like Jaws and The Godfather, but there's just no place for it in the 21st Century.





    Shamefully I've seen very few but I like pretty much every Aussie film I've seen. Muriel's Wedding is a favourite of mine. Priscilla is funny too.

    And then there's the killer croc film, Black Water from the same people that made The Reef, which is easily the best of its kind. It's so dark, grim and suspenseful. I'm due a re-watch very soon...





    Yes, but I feel better about watching shark films knowing a whole generation of young people were inspired to study and protect sharks because Jaws made them fascinated by sharks. And then there's Discovery's Shark Week. There's so much information out there now that even laypeople like us can understand shark behaviour. I like to think that most people watching newer shark films understand that the information in them is usually quite inaccurate.
     
  10. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,432
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,658
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    Not a shark film, but I re-watched Lake Placid last night for the first time in years. I'd forgotten how many setups were lifted from the Jaws films almost frame-by-frame in some cases. Here are a few (which contain some spoilers for anyone who hasn't seen LP):

    • Walt the diver leaving the Sheriff Hank alone in the boat to explore below was reminiscent of Hooper leaving Brody to check out Ben Gardner's boat
    • While underwater, Walt had a few fake scares combined with some long-distance POV angles which was very similar to Overman welding the sea gates in Jaws 3-D.
    • Walt being pulled across the water and slamming into the boat was very similar to the attack on Eddie in Jaws 2 (which in turn took its cues from the Chrissie scene in Jaws).
    • The close up of the croc's teeth munching was similar to the attack on Overman in Jaws 3-D and Sean in Jaws The Revenge.
    • Hank pulling Walt out of the water to discover he'd been bitten in half below the waist echoed Quint's Jaws story of bumping into Herbie Robinson after the Indianapolis was torpedoed. It's also almost identical to a scene in the original script for Jaws 2 where Brody pulled Sideburns out of the water but only the top half of him came onto the boat.
    • The debate between Hector and Hank over whether to trap or kill the croc was very similar to Kay and FitzRoyce in Jaws 3-D, as was the ensuing night-time operation to try to trap it.
    • The croc grabbing the pontoon of the helicopter, of course, completely ripped-off the helicopter attack in Jaws 2.
    • The croc coming after the crashed helicopter again after the cow incident reminded me very much of the shark attacking Hoagie in Jaws The Revenge. In both cases, the characters were climbing out of the vehicle and delivering dialogue.


    Here's a scene which shows some of the first five similarities above (a word of warning: it gets quite graphic):





    And...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,432
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,658
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    And the narration at the beginning of this trailer...






    Is clearly a "homage" to...

     
  12. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,432
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,658
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    7,321
    Trophy Points:
    8,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +13,882
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    Fabulous trailer, it's been a long time since I've seen the movie.

    There's one thing I forgot to say about JAWS in the other thread (there's a strange sense of continuation about this movie, it's almost like the Dallas of the movies)
    The death scene of the first victim looks like what we call nowadays "torture porn".
    Keep the victim alive for as long as possible, let the audience know how much it hurts. And doesn't the girl scream "it hurts!"?
    That's one particular thing I don't remember seeing in other classic horror movies. Characters got killed, yes, but being eaten alive is something...else.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    3,432
    Trophy Points:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +6,658
    Member Since:
    28th September 2008
    I completely get what you mean. That's a great way of putting it.



    I think the key difference is that you don't actually see anything with Chrissie's death. It's all under the surface, fired by our imaginations. Aren't most "torture porn" films very graphic in their depiction of violence (I've avoided the whole genre. It just doesn't appeal)?

    Spielberg was very careful with where to draw the line with violence in the film. The scene with the death of the estuary victim was meant to go on for longer. After his leg was bitten off he was originally shown being carried across the surface in the shark's mouth and then grabbed hold of Brody's terrified son who was almost dragged under with him. Spielberg himself felt it was too bloody and in poor taste so he cut it out.

    [​IMG]

    Quint's death near the film's climax is probably the bloodiest death in the franchise, but it didn't feel like it was there for shock value. It was almost the natural conclusion to these two forces of nature going head to head.



    I think that's why these films are so popular. They tap into something really primitive. No matter how much we learn and achieve in our lives, in a situation like this we're just viewed as an animal's food source and that will never change. It's a great leveller.
     
  15. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    7,321
    Trophy Points:
    8,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +13,882
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    I think you're right about that. But I find the suffering - clearly expressed by the victims, especially if it goes on and on - far more sadistic than the graphic images.
    If I was going to be killed by a shark I'd hope he'd kill me with one effective bite, rather than being toyed with like JAWS' first victim:D

    The Meg monster looks too large, I think. It doesn't really need to bite anything, all it has to do is open its mouth and a small country would disappear in it. And that's terrible too, except that it misses the food chain approach.
     

Users Who Have Read This Thread (Total: 3)

Share This Page