The film that truly launched Spielberg into the public eye, a film which overachieves and overcomes the odds stacked heavily against it. A story about a seaside town attacked by a shark would not seem to be the basis for one of the most loved, respected and successful movies of all time, but Spielberg and the cast make it happen-scares excitement, laughs, good characters and great acting all contribute, along with fluid direction and a now infamous score. The budget was low, the filming at sea extremely troublesome, the shark wouldn’t do what it was supposed to, but through all this the story prevails and we are left with a true classic.

Scheider stars as Sheriff Brody, an ex-city cop with a fear of water who moves with his family to Amity, a popular sea-side holiday resort. There have been a number of deaths recently, and young shark expert Hooper comes to town to long at the bodies. He believes the deaths have been caused by a Great White Shark which will not leave the are while there is still plenty of food around. He advises Brody to close the beach, but the Mayor thinks it should be kept open for the July 4th weekend, the time when the town makes a real profit. When attacks continue, Brody and Hooper decide to track the shark and catch it. Local fisherman Quint who has met one or two sharks in his time also comes. The three set out on the tiny boat, and the shark soon finds them.

There are scenes which have since become the stuff of legends- the opening night attack, the ‘need a bigger boat’ scene and others. The shark may look unreal now, especially as we all have a far better knowledge of sharks with all the documentaries and underwater technology. However, the tension is still high, and like Alien, we only see it near the end. The relationship between the three men on the boat, their arguments and jokes give the film a unique feel, ensuring the viewer is on the boat with them, and other touches such as Brody’s son mimicking him are now a Spielberg staple. The death scenes are gruesome and real, thanks to the acting, and the score will is one of the best anyone has done, suiting the film perfectly. By the last few minutes, as the ship sinks, we are with Brody, waiting for the shark’s inevitable return. Much has been made of the ‘jumpy’ moments, and every part of the film has since been dissected. It remains a film which everyone can enjoy, and one which will stay with you forever.

This 2 disc special edition has plenty of trailers, interesting deleted scenes, a good interview with Spielberg and a good documentary charting the history of the film. A piece of history which everyone should enjoy.

Feel free to leave your comments on the movie- is this Spielberg’s best? And don’t forget to check out my other Jaws reviews in the DVD section.

From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love

Another dark outing for Connery, FRWL sees Bond lured by SPECTRE into their territory as revenge for his interference with Dr. No. Along for the ride is Donald Grant (The cooly ruthless Shaw) who is not what he seems. Naturally Bond realises what is happening just in time and, in a brilliant fight sequence (one of the best in the series) he takes one Grant, who may be his match in every way. However, SPECTRE will not give up so easily and will stop at nothing to make the Secret Agent pay.

This has probably one of the best scripts for a Bond film, full of twists and surprises, not pandering to any audience, and before the time when every Bond film had to have very certain themes planted into it. It seems like a thriller with strong action elements, rather than an action with strong comic elements as the series would progress to, but unfortunately the film is not as good as it should have been. The Bond girls are instantly forgettable, the theme song is awful, and there are few good set pieces. What lifts it though is Rosa Klebb (another strong performance, by Lotte Lenya), helped by a couple of shoe gadgets, and the pre-title sequence which, although not one of the best, would continue in all following Bond movies. The introduction of Q, rather than Boothroyd sparks the beginning of Bond’s use of gadgets and another good relationship in the films. Not memorable enough, difficult when Goldfinger was next, but scores points for being gritty and realistic.

This DVD has a wonderful restoration job in terms of sound and picture quality, making the film seem like a modern action flick. The extras include interviews and commentaries, and are equally as interesting as each other in the series.

As always, leave your comments on the movie and the review- is this one of the more underrated Bond films? Where does in place in your Bond list? Don’t forget to check out my other Bond reviews in the DVD section.