Sunday, December 8, 2013

I Can't Wait for Shark Week



Jaws
Peter Benchley
(1974)

Last summer I found myself in the midst of a reading slump.  This wasn’t typical of me, since I usually go everywhere with a book in hand.  But, months seemed to go by.  Nothing caught & kept my attention.

Until I picked up my mum’s worn copy of Jaws.

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From the very opening scene, I was hooked.  Many modern day suspense thrillers feature non-stop action, over-the-top dramatics, twists & turns… I mean, there’s a lot to be said about shock value… but too much excitement can often turn into implausibility.   

Jaws was different.  It was straightforward and believable.  The characters were people I could meet in the grocery store. Not secret agents.  Not affluent, top-of-their-field specialists.  Brody and Hooper were average, relatable guys.  They had motives that were clear and realistic.

And, honestly, how can you not be fascinated by sharks?  I learned that sharks can’t stop swimming.  They have to constantly keep moving so that water (and thus oxygen) continuously passes over their gills, allowing the shark to breathe.

Next, I had to check out the movie.  I loved that it was filmed in Martha’s Vineyard – I think I’ve seen some of those buildings! – and I was impressed with 1975 movie magic, but overall, I was disappointed.  The ending was completely different from the novel! Hollywood just had to add in the big shocking finale.  Why change the book? 

That kind of thing drives me bonkers.


On a side note:
I love making connections.  My family and I used to watch House, M.D., and I loved the little production company ‘vanity card’ at the end of the show, featuring two guys sitting on the beach & the line:  “That’s some bad hat, Harry.”  Bad Hat Harry Productions got it straight from Jaws. You can even see the shark fin in the water. 

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