Jaws ★★★★★

I thought I was going to miss the current IMAX release of remastered Jaws, but managed to squeeze in a morning screening. I was the only person in the theatre - slightly disappointing, since this is a movie made to be shared by an audience.

I know the film so well, knew what was coming next a lot of the time despite not having seen it for a few years, but its power has never diminished, and seeing it for the first time on a big screen was a tremendous experience. Even though I know they are coming, Ben Gardener’s head and the ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat’ moment are still brilliantly effective jump-scares. The IMAX sound system also does wonders for the innovative sound design - Shaw’s nails on the chalkboard introductory moment genuinely made me wince - and, of course, for John Williams’ glorious score.

Above all, on this viewing I appreciated, more than ever, the chemistry among the three leads - how many blockbusters have allowed room for characterisations as indelible as sturdy Scheider, salty Shaw and wisecracking Dreyfuss? - and the genuine feeling of community within the little town of Amity. Perhaps using mostly non-professional locals was what gave it such authenticity but even the tiniest roles are memorable - a personal favourite is the bitchy woman with glasses on the town council, a nasty piece of work indeed.

I’d have regretted not catching this screening. The print is clear, the sound immaculate, and I was enthralled right from that legendary opening attack. I can only imagine the power this film must have had over audiences seeing it for the first time back in 1975.  We have not seen its like since. 

1975 ranked
Spieberg ranked

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