Jaws Review

Figure 1: Poster (1975)

Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975) is a very well done monster movie, it follows monster movie tropes; the most noticeable trope being to hide the monsters appearance as long as possible. By not showing the creatures appearance, it can insight a somewhat panaphobic response from the spectator. It is a while before the spectator finds out that the creature is a shark. To explain the danger the shark poses, the film introduces Matt Hopper ( Richard Dreyfuss) an oceanographer captivated by sharks. Matt serves two main purposes, the first is as literary device to move the story along; and the second is he is the “voice of dramatic information”(Ebert, 2000).
Figure 2: First attack (1975)

Vincent Canby makes an interesting point when he says “characters are simply functions of the action”(Canby, 1975) we as a spectator are not expected to feel sympathy. “Characters deliver information when it's necessary” (Canby, 1975) through death we are given needed information about the shark, because of this we see the deaths that occur in the film as a necessary evil to triumph against the shark. To get the “action” which we desire, the characters must die. Some spectators lack sympathy for the characters, this may stem from a cathartic feeling we get knowing that we are safe as a spectator, or our lack of awareness for the subject matter. Not to say the movie will not Scare the spectator, the fact that the movie is somewhat realistic, in terms of its subject matter might be the cause of some phobias like Thalassophobia( fear of the ocean) and Galeophobia (fear of sharks).
Figure 3: Cast (1975)

The film uses Vladimir propp’s character theory in an interesting way. Brody (Roy Scheider) is seen as the hero and protagonist, being that he is a sheriff this is to be understood. Matt is the helper assisting brody in tracking the shark. Quint is the donor giving them a boat to use to kill the shark. It becomes interesting when you think about the villain, the first thought would be the shark, no not entirely; the villain can be seen as “the face of bureaucracy, as personified by the mayor”( Berardinelli) whose money grabbing ways allow innocent people to die. The mayor loses his mantle as the villain when he has seen the error of his ways and becomes the dispatcher, who sends the hero on a quest to slay the shark. The shark is more of a antagonist, being a force of nature and doing what is natural, it would be difficult to call a shark a villain.

Illustration list 

Figure 1: Poster (1975)[Poster]. At :http://www.motherjones.com/files/imagecache/top-of-content-main/2806004-jaws.jpg (Accessed on 23/02/2015)

Figure 2: First attack (1975)[Film Still]. At thttp://moviocrity.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/jaws-01.jpg (Accessed on 23/02/2015)

Figure 3: Cast (1975){Film Still]. At: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-J_Ub-ofvwl4/UfWvNLirX-I/AAAAAAAAJQg/xgIK57a2Wh4/s1600/Jaws+3.jpeg
 (Accessed on 23/02/2015)

Berardinelli, J. Jaws. At:http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_template.php?identifier=57 (Accessed on 23/02/2015)

Canby, V. (1975) Entrapped by 'Jaws' of Fear. At: http://www.nytimes.com/1975/06/21/movies/moviesspecial/21JAWS.html?_r=0 (Accessed on 23/02/2015)

Ebert, R. (2000) Jaws Review. At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-jaws-1975 (Accessed on 23/02/2015)

V.; Scott, Laurence (translator); Wagner, Louis (editor) Propp, 2003.Morphology of the Folktale (Publications of the American Folklore Society). Edition. University of Texas Press. (Accessed on 23/02/2015)


  1. Hi Ryan,
    Interesting discussion around the use of characterisation in the film. However, if you are going to introduce a theory and its exponent, you have to make your reader aware of who the theorist is - you shouldn't just drop Vladimir Propp in, without an introduction.
    Also, a brief conclusion is always useful, to bring your ideas together.


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