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USA 1974
Directed by
Steven Spielberg
124 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


Steven Spielberg's iconic 1975 shark adventure yarn based on Peter Benchley's best-seller became a blockbuster, indeed, initiated the modern blockbuster with its appeal to a teen audience looking for visceral excitement and became the biggest grossing movie to that date with the theme song from its Oscar-winning John Williams score becoming a pop cultural staple.

Recognizably a difficult film to shoot in a pre-CGI era when special effects had to be done for real, stories of the problems that Spielberg and his team had in getting their mechanical monster to function and look convincing abound. In the end they decided on the tried and true principle that less is more and the result is effective (the film also won Oscars for its sound design and editing), albeit a good deal less remarkable than its reputation would suggest.

Overlong and for a more demanding audience, suffering from its overall narrative and characterological simple-mindedness (not that that's ever been a problem for the legions of Spielberg's fans) it entertains in part rather than as a whole. It was followed by three sequels including a 3D version, none of which were directed by Spielberg and all, unsurprisingly, which were of a disposable nature.




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