Tuesday, February 01, 2005

"You're gonna need a bigger boat."

First day of class. "Contemporary Cinema."

First movie of the class. JAWS.

I remember Debbie saying she watched it in her first day of the same class last semester. I knew what it was the moment he said "first ever blockbuster."

I had not seen the movie in its entirety in a really long time, probably more than 10 years. Before showing the movie, Michael Moore (our instructor, not the director of propaganda documentaries) asked who had never watched the movie before. About eight students raised their hands. That same group would later on scream like little girls when Richard Dreyfuss finds a severed head inside a small boat. You know you've got a good movie when it can still scare the bejesus out of people 30 years after it was made.

Watching the movie as a film student, I realized just how awesome Spielberg was/is. Here he was, barely making his second theatrical picture, adapted from a nationally bestselling book, shooting on water (which is the most difficult place to shoot), going over budget (from 8 million to 10 million), going over the shooting deadline (from 55 days to 150 days), under tremendous pressure, and still learning on the job. And to make it even harder, Bruce, the damn mechanical shark wouldn't work.

So what does he do? He pulls a Hitchcock.

He edits the film and barely shows the shark until very late in the movie, which turned out to be far more effective and made it scarier. He turned a lemon into a lemonade. Not just any lemonade. The sweetest mother freakin' lemonade anyone has ever had up to that point in time.

And don't even get me started on that beach scene when that little boy gets eaten. The editing as people pass by Roy Scheider, the "forward tracking, zoom out" shot... wow. I salute you, Mr. Spielberg. You sir, are a genius.

1 comment:

  1. that's so cool!!! so in addition to the movie, you watched the making of it??? :D


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