You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

Welcome friends, to The Scarecrow Blog.

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water”. That was the tagline for Jaws 2. In honor of it being Shark Week, let’s take a look at the “Original Summer Blockbuster,” Jaws. The 1975 film was based on the 1974 New York Times Best Selling novel of the same name, written by Peter Benchley.  Benchley’s story was inspired by the July 1916 real life shark attacks in New Jersey at Matawan Creek. Over the course of twelve days, the shark claimed five people as victims. Four of the victims died as a result of the attacks.

I grew up the next town over from Matawan, New Jersey. I was probably about eleven or twelve the first time I had heard of the 1916 attacks. That was very scary for someone who loves the water as much as I do. I still love the water, and going to the beach but I reserve swimming for the pool. For more on the 1916 attacks check out the Richard Fernicola book, “Twelve Days of Horror”.

Jaws, the movie is much different than Jaws the novel. I found this out about five years ago. I’ve been a huge fan of the movie since I first saw it. I decided to read the book because I know that there are always some differences in the transition between print and screen. To say that the novel disappointed me would be an understatement. The characters and the scenes were very different. The novel had a weird subplot where Hooper was having an affair with Brody’s wife. Utter crap! In this case, the movie is superior to the original source material.

The film can be broken into two parts. The first part revolves around the initial attacks and how the powers that be react to them. The second part encompasses the hunt for the shark. The pace of the film is consistent and the characters are all likeable. Not to mention the soundtrack by John Williams, whose theme has become a staple of how to strike fear through music. The movie also has some of the most memorable lines. One of my favorites is the line Quint says, “Here’s to swimmin’ with bowlegged women.”

The scene where Quint tells Brody and Hooper about being in the water after the sinking of the USS Indianapolis alone is worth watching the movie. It is a very haunting scene, and Robert Shaw plays it so well. Another scene that is very appealing visually, is when they are out at sea during dusk and a few shooting stars shoot through the sky. One of the most memorable scenes is where Brody is throwing chum over the side of “The Orca” and the shark (which was named Bruce) gets its first up close shot. Brody backs away from the side of the boat and walks backwards into the cabin and says to Quint, “I think you’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

As with most movies that have a successful box office intake, the sequels were soon to follow. The second one was not bad, but the ones that followed that were abysmal. For the most part, with the exception of the ride at Universal Studios and iPod games, this series is done. Well for the time being, so I guess we won’t be seeing Jaws 19 like they showed in Back to the Future part 2.

Until next time, I think you’re gonna need a bigger boat.

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