Jaws 3D (1975)

Jaws 3D Chum

Jaws (1975) was recently converted into 3D and IMAX formats, providing a refreshing and immersive experience to audiences old and new. With 3D being the presentation that really adds something new to the film.

Considered one best movies in cinema, Jaws is a mastery in filmmaking. Composed of elements of drama, horror, and comedy, filmmakers crafted one of the best and simplest stories ever made. Add in the diverse atmosphere, attention to realism, and score by John Williams, and you have an eternal classic. But why is Jaws so compelling after all these years? And is the 3D conversion of Jaws worth the cost of admission?

The Story

Taking place in the quiet and quaint town of Amity, the locals are laidback and rely on tourism to bring in business. When a girl is found dead, Chief of Police Brody determines the cause of death is due to “shark attack”. Then takes the next steps needed to begin closing down the beaches going into 4th of July. But if the fear of danger wasn’t enough, Brody is also challenged by local leadership who seek to prevent any impact to their businesses.

What ensues is a failure of leadership in protecting the people. As the attacks continue and fear escalates to catastrophic levels. When faced with closure, leadership again fails. As various huntsmen seek to capture or kill the shark behind the killings. But for a fish that seems unstoppable, it’s up to the persistent Chief of Police Brody, skillful oceanographer Hooper, and crackpot shark hunter Quint to bring in the beast.

Dangerous Hubris

Amity Leadership vs Brody
amity leadership

Chief Brody is a city man now living in a small island town. When he presents the sound decision to close the beaches down, townsfolk immediately counter his efforts. Exclaiming such an act could ruin the town and their critical 4th of July weekend. A time the city sees business spike. The Chief seen as an outsider to locals, they exercise their prideful hubris in stating the Chief knows nothing about the town’s waters. Believing in they are safe and secure.

“we will be open this weekend!”

Since Amity hasn’t observed a murder or major crime in over 25 years, it’s easy to see why they’d turn a blind eye to such an issue. As they brush it off as an isolated incident and on focus their pocketbooks at this much needed moment of income. Unfortunately, bad decisions by leadership almost always come at the cost of the people. And Amity is no different in learning what it means to deal with a new and previously unheard-of issue. In this case, a large shark swimming in their waters, attracted the splashes of beach swimmers.

Ultimate Apex Predator

Jaws Mouth
A mouth over 8 feet wide

Great White Sharks have been found reaching up to 21 feet (or 6.4 meters) in size. With jaws being around 8 feet (or 2.4 meters) wide. In the movie, the beast we know as Jaws is found to be around 25 feet (or 7.6 meters) long. Making the maw even larger than what we’ve found. And if that wasn’t terrifying enough, Great Whites can live as long as humans and can weigh nearly 3 tons!

Size of Jaws

With jaws that large, a body that massive, the news only gets worse when you take into consideration the intelligence of a well-aged animal. As older Great Whites observe prey for weaknesses and then strike at the right moment. When you’re far from shore and something brushes up against your feet, it’s easy to see why someone would be frightened by the experience.

Steven Spielberg took great care in not only demonstrating how this shark is scary, but also highlighting some moments from humans’ experiences in the horrifying incident from 1916 and the infamous USS Indianapolis shark attack. Making the story Jaws 3D beyond an ordinary tale of fiction, but one you could categorize as science fiction!

Jaws 3D Presentation

Under the direction of Steven Spielberg, Jeremy Carroll and SDFX Studios handled the film’s conversion from actual film to a 3D product. What they brought to audiences is the most compelling and immersive way to experience the story. Which does come with a few new flaws. But let’s start with the good.

3D – The Good

a jump scare that visually moves towards you

There are certain scenes where the depth of the details onscreen are perfectly captured. Especially when it comes to foreshortened objects, such as the boat Orca. But one fine touch they managed to do well are transparent objects, such as windows or the black veil worn by Mrs. Kintner when she slaps Brody. You also have the well-executed jump scare that still makes audiences literally jump in their seats. Which is always a crowd pleaser.

the best 3d shot i’ve ever seen

My personal favorite 3D moment is during the “vertigo” shot of Brody on the beach, as he witnesses the 2nd shark attack. Captured brilliantly in Real D (3D), the shot has a certain pop that you could only understand by seeing it with your own eyes. If you’re able to see Jaws in 3D, I hope you enjoy the subtly in this brief shot and how well it captures Brody’s fear. Great stuff!

3D – The Bad

Jaws 3D - Motion Blur
Motion Blur

Jaws 3D has issues with soft edges and anything motion blur. Unable to focus on the subject properly, your eyes strain on these blurry objects. Meanwhile, soft edged objects are hard to focus on. They have a tendency to disrupt the immersion of the story. There were also a handful of frames where you view a shifted black picture. Perhaps due to cuts between original reels which 3D conversion couldn’t fully correct. But these are a few single frames across an entire movie.

Overcoming Fear

Jaws vs Brody

For all of the focus on the beast we know as Jaws, the true lesson of this tale is to overcome our fears and do what is right. When Brody failed to pushback and close the beaches, irreplaceable lives were lost. To atone for his mistakes, he joins Quint and Hooper on the Orca to make things right. What ensues on their journey is a tale of community and the need to overcome the obstacles ahead, no matter how high they go. By the time the movie ends audiences will be relieved that the story is finally over, and that any beast or fear we find can be overcome.

If you can view Jaws in 3D, be prepared for a wet and wild ride!

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