Once a year you should revisit Jaws and remind yourself of how it’s done. A perfect movie, Jaws is just as effective and amazing today – on my hundredth or so viewing – as it was when it was first released. There’s very little in Jaws that has really aged, but if the movie were made today it would be a completely and totally different beast.
What if Jaws were made today? Not a remake or a reboot, but what if Spielberg’s movie had never happened (but the world of cinema it inspired somehow still did), and somebody took a shot at Peter Benchley’s novel in 2010? This is what I think it might look like:
– There would be a new title. Jaws is too minimalist these days, so Universal would probably rename the film Jaws: Rise of the Great White.
– JJ Abrams directs from a script by Kurtzman and Orci. While the writers insist that they grew up on the novel, Abrams says that he always preferred The Deep
– Sam Worthington stars as Chief Brody. He has an extensive backstory where we learn that during his time as an NYPD cop he killed a kid on the Staten Island Ferry. Since then he has been afraid of water, and unwilling to use a gun.
– Michael Cera stars as Matt Hooper. He has an extensive backstory where we learn that his connection to the shark is deeply personal.
– Samuel L. Jackson stars as Quint.
– Zoe Saldana is Ellen Brody. As in the book, she has an affair with Matt Hooper.
– Justin Bieber stars as Michael Brody, who stows away on the Orca before the main trio take off.
– This movie wouldn’t keep audiences questioning where the shark came from, or why it’s so smart. An extensive shark backstory is developed and included, helping bring the film’s runtime to a solid 2:40. It turns out that Hooper’s rich dad paid for extensive bioengineering experiments on sharks, and the result is a Great White like we’ve never seen before.
– Amity Island is too square. The action is moved to Miami Beach or Ibiza (depending on what sort of upfront foreign investments there are).
– It’s in 3D IMAX. But it wasn’t shot in either format. Duh.
– Of course there’s a CGI shark, but this CGI shark will be doing things no other CGI shark has ever done, including insane acrobatics. But more importantly this is a character story, so Andy Serkis will be hired to do the mocap for the CGI shark.
– The shark is loud. Every time the shark glides past the camera or jumps out of the water it’s accompanied by a massive outpouring of foley work – whooshes and crashes thunder. Whenever the shark opens its mouth there is the sound of all the animals in the zoo, smashed into one noise.
– The score is by Hans Zimmer, or a member of his factory. It will play over every single second of the motion picture.
– All of the Orca scenes are shot against a greenscreen in a water tank. It’s just more reasonable on the budget.
– Producers will boast about the SharkVision scenes, explaining that new FX technology has allowed them to truly recreate the vibrational way that sharks see the world. This is where all that budget went.
– Quint doesn’t die. That’s too big a bummer. Michael saves him, and the crusty old seaman learns a valuable lesson about friendship.
– The shark is defeated when Brody, remembering a passage in one of the old books he flipped through, realizes this is his Destiny. He is finally able to pull the trigger, exploding the oxygen tank in the shark’s mouth. This, of course, happens after a 20 minute aquatic chase through a marina, an off-shore oil platform and a water park.
– The last shot of the film is now a slow pullback to reveal a whole school of Great Whites, closing in on the sandy white beaches of Miami.
– Webisodes are released revealing the important missing moments, like what happened to Ben Gardner, what Hooper did after the cage was destroyed, and how Michael won his school talent show with an original song.
– Producers announce that Jaws: Rise of the Great White is just the beginning of a trilogy. Coming in 2012 is Jaws 2: Red Waters of Vengeance, and in 2013 is the prequel, Jaws: Fall of the Indianapolis. TI is cast to play the young Quint in that film.