Jaws ★★★★★

A rousing and rollicking piece of adventure/horror that never loses its' ability to thrill and entertain. Spielberg takes a book that was not much more than a piece of pop melodrama, and turned it into perfect example of film functioning at a high level artistically and popularly.

An art professor of mine once said in response to a query about 'rules' for a project, "By taking something away from you, I am forcing you into directions of creativity that you may not have otherwise found". The well documented troubles with the shark certainly bear his words out. Even casual fans know of the troubles with 'Bruce', and the effectiveness of teasing the shark has been echoed in many films since, from Alien to Jason X

Beyond the shark though, what makes Jaws most effective are Vera Fields editing, John Williams score, and a camera crew led by Bill Butler and Michael Chapman. Having very few credits to her name, Fields cemented her place in history with one of the preeminent works of film editing, a true touchstone in cinema. Williams score is menacing, foreboding wonderment one minute and swashbuckling and lighthearted the next. It is one of the most iconic scores recorded. Butler and Chapman handle both land and water elements fantastically, and later trademarks of each DP's style show up occasionally throughout.

Roy Scheider as the new chief of police a little out of his depth, and Richard Dreyfuss as an moneyed young oceanographer are excellent in their roles, with Scheider providing our in as the relatable protagonist. The showcase role though is Quint the Sharkhunter, played by Robert Shaw. His Quint is a huge presence, letting everyone know HE swings the biggest three-piece-set and chews up scene after scene highlighted by one of the more famous movie monologues.

Sure, in the bigger picture, Jaws was a game changer in many ways aside from being a impeccably crafted film but without that quality we would not still be watching it, talking about it, heralding it, emulating it and enjoying it. Let us never forget that there is no game without players like this.

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