Almost like a shark attracted by the call of the blood, tonight on RTVE 2 is issued ‘Shark‘(Jaws, 1975) Steven Spielberg’s classic as if drawn to the noise around him last week, thanks to News in which the director expressed his refusal to the proposal of a reboot out of Universal.
Beyond Spielberg’s refusal in the year in which he presents himself un remake de ‘West Side Story’46 years after its release, it is as difficult to find any reason to justify a remake as it is to decipher the reasons why the film that changed Hollywood’s business model remains this fresh, vibrant and modern even today. today.
It has been shown many times that cinema can turn an immovable classic into a great film with its own language, the example of ‘The thing‘ (The Thing, 1982) o ‘The fly‘(The Fly, 1986), which made both Carpenter and Cronenberg authors above any source material, both changing the horror genre with their own tools. But,who is going to be able to do something that transforms cinema after Spielberg?
Spielberg’s classic style transformed cinema, but unless there is a new and radical filmmaker, it is difficult that returning to everything achieved in ‘Jaws’, it would have to be considered as an investment of the blockbuster concept, but such a great studio and how the current film market is planned you will not take the risks with an already established franchise, so the big names being considered would probably get a spectacular blockbuster, but something that would not cause the impact of the film that unleashed the fashion of animal terror.
Of course, the mechanical shark, Bruce, has room for improvement, since his anatomy is not exactly that of a great white shark, so it would probably happen to be a CGI animal, an option that is not as bad as it sounds, seen the results of ‘Blue Hell‘(The Shallows, 2016) and the most likely effort to achieve it. Even advances in documentary filmmaking would make Ron and Valerie Taylor’s work in 1975 had a strong echo if you opt for a combination of techniques.
Heart of Darkness
But let’s not fool ourselves. Technique is not everything, and if ‘Jaws’ remains inimitable is for its ingenious direction, its iron conception of the panoramic and the epic gaze, with its magical two-act structure, almost like a double feature of pure horror and marine adventure. If a remake is difficult to do, it is because the film is largely a revolutionary update on Moby Dick itself. Going back to this is only possible if they can surprise us with current oceanographic techniques with which they would approach shark fishing.
It is also risky that updating of the old against the modern, the analog against the digital. There may be even a much more powerful discourse today, but putting National Geographic in front of a traditional fisherman can only create ideological conflicts with the current reality of white sharks. It’s hard today not to demonize the beast unless you take a lighter attitude, something that in 1975 did not generate any concern, since the sensationalism of “off the beaches” was something new, but not replicable in a world in which the great white shark is a protected species.
But it is even scarier to imagine who they could put with the face of their leading trio. Inimitables Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper, Roy Scheider as Brody and Robert Shaw as Quint. How can they ever get a moment like the scar duel? They are scenes that work by an alchemy that has no possible recipe, there is no formula that will give you back that glory on the big screen, so, despite all the possible advances, we resign ourselves to the fact that the original creator is right, because he himself is aware that even he is not clear on how he could do something up to the task.
Neither Schindler’s lists, nor Jurassic Parks, nor Normandy landings, ‘Jaws’ is still his best film along with maybe the ‘Indiana Jones’, because they have that magic that unrepeatable characters and actors give. Maybe the only option is to raise the story from scratch, do something that has nothing to do with the original. Perhaps a good prequel could work with Quint, rescuing Spielberg’s wish about the possible sequel (“I’ll do it if it goes over the Indianapolis“) what he denied the study back in his day, but it seems like it’s too late even for that. Either way, ‘Jaws’ will always be waiting to get back on the Orca and live the most gripping and hair-raising journey in 20th century cinema.