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Letter to Empire Magazine

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Introduction

The Editor 4 Nickclegg Drive Empire Magazine Cameron 21 Holborn Viaduct York London YO41 543 EC1A 2DY Dear Editor, It's funny how three strokes of a violin can instil fear skin deep; 30 year old screams of terror can still be heard today. The absolute fear of a great white shark delves deep into the depths of the human mind... 'Jaws'. The name speaks for itself: a pure classic! 30 years has proven that 'Jaws' has lost none of its power to terrify - a classic film of immense, visceral and psychological power. 'Jaws' undoubtedly deserves a place in 'The Top 20 Classic Films of the Twentieth Century', what other film can boast of such longevity and regard? Despite being filmed well over 30 years ago, 'Jaws' is still apparent in modern day popular culture - the theme tune alone triggers a snap reaction in the mind! Not only this, but the film has been produced on DVD, and is still bought world wide to this day - in the last year alone, the 30 year anniversary edition of the cult classic sold 5,000,000 copies in it's opening week alone! Every time that you watch the film, the sheer suspense compels you! An age old, arguably irrational, fear of sharks underpins the frightfully dramatic action scenes! That music. Those screams! The gut-wrenching feeling that paralyses you to your seat! ...read more.

Middle

Silence in the ocean. Nothing can be seen, or heard, other than a girl skinny dipping in the ocean, the sounds of the waves crashing up against the beach, and the sea bell attached to the buoy swinging from side to side. This in itself is a fantastic dramatic device: the lack of sound here draws attention to the idea that the victim is about to see their demise and is also in a situation of extreme vulnerability, also, a long shot is used in this particular scene - which is especially effective as it shows the magnitude of the ocean and how incredibly alone the girl is. And suddenly, without warning... 'duuh-dum, duuh-dum duuh-dum'. You're gripped! Hook, line and sinker. A low angle from the ocean sees nothing but the mindless skinny dippers bare body undulating in the water, perhaps to suggest the helplessness she faces, followed by a track shot, that shows the shark is following the girl; a relentless effort that will lead to a gruesome death. Next, a zoom in; this emphasizes the helplessness of the situation that she is in. Finally, our relief! A high angle from above the ocean shows the girl being pulled under and bitten from below. Her screams, along with the thrashing of the water around the shark, are the only things that can be heard! Pure brilliance on the big screen! ...read more.

Conclusion

people claim that Jaws is simply a shoddy excuse of a horror film packed with even shoddier special effects. Such 'film fanatics' are clearly clueless as to the pristine production that went into making this cult classic. Were you aware of the fact that the first attack scene was shot using the actress wearing cut off levi jeans, attached to long ropes that were attached to men on the shore, who strategically ran about in a bid to create the jerking affect seen on screen - a feat that proved extremely successful in the shot? I think you'll agree that such low-budget special effects are 100% successful in creating a 'first of its kind' classic. Aside from the story itself, and the innovative visual effects (of which Spielberg is an expert), I think you'll agree that what the screenplay represents is outstanding: how the audience can relate to chief Brody, feeling out of place in a new setting, having to balance a new job around a frustrated wife, and two children. Also, the presence of Quint is important in the story line; not only do we have a sense of admiration for Quint, because of his mysterious demeanor at the beginning, but the fact that he recalls such a heart rending account of his own experiences with sharks back in the war makes us empathize with him. For this reason, in the high action scene where Quint is actually eaten ALIVE, by the shark, we actually mourn the death of him, along with the other characters on board! ...read more.

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