Author Archives: Monk Monkton

Jaws 2: Revolutionary for Sequels

Variation has always been the source of much debate during this much scrutinized era of sequels. Before Jaws 2, sequels were primarily made for two reasons: to continue the storyline that was not initially concluded in the first film (Planet Of The Apes, The Godfather), or in the design of the episodic serial (Frankenstein, Dirty Harry, James Bond). Universal decided to do something that seemed improbable– make a sequel where most have failed (French Connection II & Exorcist II). This leaves a crew’s work cut out for them.

Chief Brody is now a disillusioned, paranoid man

Chief Brody is now a disillusioned, paranoid man

Chasing demons from the past in a darkroom

Chasing demons from the past in a darkroom

In 1975, director Steven Spielberg’s Jaws became the most successful picture of all time. The success of the film created a phenomenon that Universal felt somehow had to be continued. Enter Jaws 2, a film that proved more things than the general public knows today or when it was released in 1978. Only this time, no Spielberg and no Dreyfuss, for both were working on Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. So who was going to take over? What was going to make this film special in its own way? French director Jeannot Szwarc was brought on board by production designer Joe Alves who worked with him and Spielberg on Rod Serling’s TV horror show, Night Gallery. Upon winning the director’s chair, Szwarc decided upon a very meticulous and crucial design on how to make this film and what it exactly needed to be.

1. The main character must be emotionally enhanced, more matured, learning from previous film’s events; continuing arc. (you’ll see this later in Aliens, T2, etc)

2. Introduce new conflicts for the characters to face (nobody believes Roy Scheider’s character’s suspicions of a shark).

3. Nostalgia for the previous film must be established giving the character’s history.

4. The story structure and certain elements of the first film must remain in order to keep the audience’s familiarity of why they loved the first film (shark POVS, action elements)

5. Different cinematography or visual look (shooting behind the shark fin, different lighting).

6. Different editing style gives the film a different pace and/or energy.

7. Introduce elements that were not included in the first film or create different situations for the characters (shark is shown a lot to prevent duplicating the first film).

8. Bring back the characters that the audience fell in love with in the first film as long as it respects continuity.

9. Bring back the same musical themes from the original film (John Williams returns to enhance his Academy-award winning themes with new compositions.)

10. Enhance and extend the themes from the original film to bring new life and feelings for the film (Szwarc introduced sophisticated visuals giving an art history appreciation).

A glaring paradox can be noticed. For it all to work, such a film requires to be somewhat similar to its original source of inspiration and yet be different enough to reveal new storytelling possibilities and interpretations. Not easy…

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it

"Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it"

Read more of this article at Mouthshut …

The Visual Language of JAWS – JAWS Shot by Shot

Jaws. The defining film in my life. The first film I remember seeing as a child remains my favorite film of all time. Steven Spielberg was a Wellesian 26 years old when he directed this masterpiece and it forever changed the landscape of the Worldwide Box Office, the film formula and Hollywood’s marketing machines.

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Based on the novel by Peter Benchley, Jaws tells the simple story of a small New England town terrorized by a great white shark but it’s in the 2nd act with what starts as a simple horror story turns into a Moby Dick tale at sea fueled by the 3 archetypes of Chief Brody, Matt Hooper, and Quint, our salty Ahab.

As much as it’s been compared to Melville’s Moby Dick, I don’t recall Dick giving people true fear. What Hitch did with Psycho and shower curtains, Spielberg to this day makes me think of what’s underneath me whenever I step foot into the ocean.

The film is perfect and I chose a very simple sequence too look at. A sequence which on the page was 3 sentences long. Keep this is mind all of you ‘page a minute’ sticklers. How would you have shot this? How many cuts? You know the drill. Read the quick passage from the script and then let’s have a look at it, shot by shot:

See the shot by shot analysis at Cineobscure …

NoFest – JAWS Fans Recreate Beach Party Scene

In 2006, a group of JAWS fans returned to Amity (Martha’s Vineyard) for another celebration of JAWS. There wasn’t an official JAWSFest in 2006, so the gathering was dubbed “NoFest” instead. One of the
things we did was try to recreate the opening beach scene from JAWS. Photo taken and photoshopping done by Erik Hollander (click for full size version):

Jaws: The Revenge Review [Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension]

If you keep slogging through life’s more unpleasant tasks, you’ll eventually see them through. This is a lesson I have recently relearned. I’ve spent the last several years—I’m pretty sure that’s right—reviewing the four movies that constitute the Jaws series. These sojourns have taken me from the Olympian peaks of the initial film to the Stygian depths of, well, this one. I’m just beginning the final leg of that epic journey, but I can see the sun stretching and yawning as its fiery pate edges over the horizon, bringing with it a new day. (Admittedly, I’ll probably spend this new day reviewing a Steven Seagal movie or something.)

Still, I’m not taking our current subject lightly, as it is marked by a rare distinction. The gulf in quality between Jaws and Jaws: The Revenge may well be the widest between any two such films in the entire history of cinema. This is not meant to be a hyperbolic claim. While I’m sure others can suggest competitors for this dubious crown, I’d be willing to defend our featured pair against all comers.

For instance, let’s look to the AFI 100 Best American Films list. Admittedly, that’s hardly a definitive reference, but it’s not a bad place to start. By my count, only the following films on that list have been by followed by sequels: The Godfather (#3), Star Wars (#15), Psycho (#18), 2001: A Space Odyssey (#22), The Godfather Part II (#32, just to be safe), King Kong (#43), Jaws (#48), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (#50, and technically, it was a prequel), All Quiet on the Western Front (#54), Raiders of the Lost Ark (#60), The Silence of the Lambs (#65), The French Connection (#70), American Graffiti (#77), Rocky (#78) and Frankenstein (#87). (Actually, Bride of Frankenstein should have made the AFI roster instead, but what are you to do?)

Among the cited pictures, and not counting TV movie follow-ups (sorry, Psycho), only one film has a sequel within shouting distance of Jaws: The Revenge. That sorry cinematic progeny would be Rocky IV. I can actually see a reasonable debate over which one of the respective offspring was worse. I myself would still go with Jaws: The Revenge, but I could respect somebody arguing for Stallone’s Folly.

However, even putting that issue aside, I’m still going with Jaws: The Revenge as being the most unworthy follow-up. This is because I remain unconvinced that Rocky deserves to be called one of the 100 Best American Films. It’s certainly a memorable picture, but among the best hundred ever? In contrast, I fully believe Jaws to be worthy of that designation. Therefore, I maintain that the greatest gulf lies between Spielberg’s film and this one.

Jaws: The Revenge—they stopped numbering the entries at this point, despite it being a direct sequel to the initial two films—remains most famous for two points:

1. It’s the movie with the Roaring Shark.
2. It’s the one where the Shark is out for, well, revenge.

Read more at Jabootu’s JAWS The Revenge Review …

JAWS 2 Begat JAWS The Revenge [Shark in a Bottle]

The concept of a rather large great white shark (or any shark) out seeking revenge against the people that killed one of his own was not “born” with 1987’s “Jaws the Revenge”. This rather unique idea was introduced in the first sequel to the classic “Jaws”, 1978’s “Jaws 2”.

In “Jaws 2”, the town of Amity is once again terrorized by a large great white shark. This time the shark is responsible for killing two divers, a water skier and the woman that was piloting the water ski boat. Chief Martin Brody is the only person that thinks there is another shark problem. Everyone else on the island, including Ellen his wife and Mayor Vaughn, think he is crazy and overreacting.

When a good looking group of teens find a dead orca whale washed up on the beach, they call Chief Brody. Brody calls in marine biologist Dr. Elkins (Collin Wilcox) to help him investigate the cause of death. Brody assumes a shark killed the whale and asks Dr. Elkins about the bite radius. For some reason, she seems shocked that he knows what a bite radius is.

Read more on Shark in a Bottle …

2008 on track to break ‘Year of Shark’ record

The morning sun shone off the incoming surf like the reflection of a mirror, giving no hint of what swims beneath the surface.

But New Smyrna Beach resident Tim Baker believes avoiding a potentially painful encounter with a swimming set of teeth can be as simple as paying attention.

“I stay away from bait balls and diving birds,” the 38-year-old wave rider said while watching the rollers lap the shore recently.

And, if conditions aren’t to his liking, “I will go elsewhere.”

Not everyone is as observant or concerned, which might explain some of Volusia County’s 22 shark bites this year, tying the record of 22 shark/human encounters set during 2001’s “Year of the Shark.”

A Tennessee visitor became the 22nd victim of 2008 while swimming Sunday off the beach in Ormond-by-the-Sea.

But, why this year has equaled the record is something no one has been able to quantify.

“There is nothing that corresponds,” Beach Patrol Capt. Scott Petersohn said. “The conditions are no different than in 2000 or 2007.

“There is no rhyme or reason,” he said.

George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida, would agree.

If one looks at human population growth, logic would dictate as more people venture into coastal waters, the number of bites would grow annually, but the data does not always support that.

“There are variations,” Burgess said.

Bad weather or the down economy can result in fewer tourists, thus fewer people in the water. There are also conditions affecting sharks. For example changes in ocean conditions or resource management practices that have allowed species like black tips, which frequent Volusia surf zones, to increase in number, may be part of the equation. And while differences arise year to year, a comparison of decade to decade shows the growth rate of bites tends to mirror the growth of human population in a particular area, he said.

“They are all factors that come into play,” Burgess said, adding more people and more sharks increase bite odds. “It is like buying 100 lottery tickets instead of just one.”

Peterson said one commonality he has found between 2001 and 2008 was the higher than normal number of human-shark encounters during the month of April. In 2001, 10 people were bitten between April 5 and April 28 — three on April 12 alone. This year, six people were attacked between April 3 and 28. Most years, he said, April sees only two or three interactions.

But he can only speculate on the cause.

“Maybe the baitfish came in early,” he said. “Or the surf may have been good in April.

One obvious difference between 2001 and 2008 has been the news coverage generated by such attacks. Seven years ago, national media lined the beaches in a feeding frenzy of activity, particularly after that fateful day in April. However, this year a story of sharks in Volusia County was on front pages of newspapers worldwide because of a quick-fingered photographer who was able to snap an image of a jumping shark caught in midair amid a group of waterbound surfers.

“That has not dampened business,” said Steve Dennis, executive vice president of the Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce.

Lake Mary surfer Jason Donaldson, 35, isn’t going to let the possibility of a shark encounter stop him from enjoying the sport he has participated in for the last 15 years.

“The sharks (out here) aren’t big enough to hurt you yet,” he said.

(via News Journal Online)

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