Inevitable Remakes: “Jaws”
Inevitable Remakes is a series of articles here on the blog that pose the question: what if a classic or popular movie was first released in today’s film world by a big Hollywood studio? What would it look like? Would the story be any different? Would it be any good? The answers to all of these questions and more await inside…
Jaws, for those living under a rock for the past forty years, was a 1975 action thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg starring Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss. The film was based on a novel written by Peter Benchley. An unusually large shark has made its way to the quaint town of Amity Island and it is hungry. Police chief Martin Brody (Scheider) must find a way to stop the monstrous menace from killing citizens with the help of oceanographer Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss) and the grizzled and veteran shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw). Jaws was an instant success on release. Within 11 weeks, it became the highest-grossing film in the United States, surpassing The Godfather. Before ending its run at the box office, it managed to make $470 million. The film was the highest grossing film of all-time until a little movie called Star Wars surpassed it in 1978. Jaws currently sits at #59 on the global Flickchart rankings. With numerous sequels that never managed to come even close to the critical acclaim or box office numbers, would a full-on remake succumb to the same fate? Or would this new Jaws film go down as one of the greatest films based on a killer shark ever? On this 40th anniversary year of the original film, let’s hypothesize, shall we?
Could It Be Made?
Not meaning to sound like a broken record, but there’s just very little chance that this re-make/re-boot/re-whatever could be made shot-for-shot today. Today’s film industry is fully invested in the use of computer-generated effects. The original Jaws used animatronics to create the killer shark, now considered a more expensive, time-consuming and archaic way of rendering fantastic objects to the big screen. Another aspect of the original film that has become foreign to blockbuster films today is the idea of “less is more”. For the majority of the original Jaws film, the audience barely saw the shark. This added a lot of tension and wonder about the huge, sharp-toothed hulk that was circling the waters around Amity Island. Finally, parts of the plot could very likely change. In Jaws, the heroic trio set off in Quint’s boat to take down the shark near the end of the film. The new film would likely opt to add more manpower and boats in order to provide a more “action packed” conclusion. Let’s take a more in-depth look into how this new Jaws movie might play out.
The new Jaws film would feature a fully computer generated shark. The 50-foot long, animated monstrosity would dwarf the 1975 version’s 25 feet. This would allow the shark to do much more destruction throughout the movie. The filmmakers would also inject more kill scenes. There would be decapitations galore, as well as a few scenes in which the shark swallows some citizens whole along with their surfboards. Unfortunately, because there are so many visceral kills throughout the film, any of the scenes in which a major character is eaten will not hold as much weight.
More is More?
Having the power to render a fully formed killer shark will be very appealing to the movie studio. The beginning of the film would start off similarly to the original. Audiences would not see the shark for the first kill. However, shortly thereafter, every attack would feature either a partial or full view of the shark. By the time the movie ends, viewers will have seen every angle of the shark, especially close-ups of its mouth. In an attempt to create the ultimate epic moment, the shark jumps up out of the water and lands on a large fishing ship – breaking it in half and killing everyone on board.
With the shark being way more destructive in this 2015 version of the film, the characters realize they are going to need a lot of bigger boats. Brody (Adrien Brody) has Quint (Michael Fassbender)call in his fellow shark hunters before setting off to slay the beast. With an armada of boats at their disposal, they head out – scouring the waters for the killer. After eventually finding their prey, the boats encircle the shark and attempt to harpoon it. Being more intelligent and agile than they expected, the shark deftly dodges the harpoons and manages to take out two boats in quick succession. Brody has the idea of attaching explosive C4 to the harpoons. After a long fought battle, the hunters manage to stick four explosive harpoons into the shark including one inside its mouth. The shark explodes with extreme force, raining down guts and innards on the victors. Thinking they had won the day and Amity Island is safe, Brody and Hooper (poor Quint still didn’t make it) head back home. The last scene of the film pans slowly down into the depths of the sea, where viewers feast their eyes upon not one but two large shark-like silhouettes, setting up Jaws 2: The Reckoning!
Would Today’s Jaws Be A Good Movie?
When one thinks about Jaws, one doesn’t necessarily consider its plot. The movie was strictly a popcorn film filled with tension and action. But, the movie was also smaller in scale. There were intimate moments with the characters, allowing viewers to connect with them. The 2015 version of the film is mostly thrills and action. Relying on wowing audiences with the computer generated shark means there is little time to focus on character development. Just like the Jaws sequels, Jaws 2015 would be entertaining on the big screen or IMAX, but would never reach the acclaim of the first film.
Let us know how a Jaws remake could be awesome! What do you think would be the essential elements to make it a great film? Let us know in the comments!