A lone, naked figure swims in the deserted ocean. The ominous, two-note score stalks the ears. The camera floats at the sea level. Then, sudden as a lightning bolt, the swimmer is jerked violently down. A shriek of terror fills the screen as she is mercilessly attacked by a...shark. With this shocking intro, Jaws begins and the summer movie blockbuster is born. 1975's groundbreaking shark thriller is the prototype modern mega-grossing action film. Steven Spielberg literally created a monster with this flick, effectively ending the distribution practices of the big movie studios by opening in almost 500 theaters instead of starting small and expanding according to ticket sales. The big difference between Jaws and most blockbusters that followed is that Jaws is a great film. The characters have depth, the action never fails to shock and the effects have a fresh quality that seems timeless. Jaws doesn't use the action as a crutch. On the contrary, the best scene isn't one of a shark attack. It's the drunken tale spun by Quint recounting the fate of the U.S.S. Indianapolis in shark-infested waters during World War II. It's a classic film that paved the way for hundreds of lesser pretenders to the throne of awesome, and it plays 9 p.m. Friday at Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Circle Drive, as part of the Cinema in the Circle series. Call 800-233-4766 for more info.
Fri., June 26, 2009