Book & Movie Review: Jaws

We all love our books, and there are times we wish they could come to life on the big screen. Sometimes our wish comes true and those beloved stories soon hit theaters. Yet as excited as we are for the movie version to come to be they are not always good experiences. Perhaps a character is portrayed incorrectly, important scenes are left out or changed completely, or that wonderful story has been reduced to something with no plot but amazing CG effects. And then there are times when the movie is absolutely stunning and you are left with such an amazing feeling after watching it.

How I First Encountered Jaws

I was twelve or thirteen years old when my uncle bought a new 40″ TV and invited me over to watch Jaws for the first time. I think I was more excited about the size of the TV than watching the movie but none the less that day has stuck with me. With copious amounts of snacks on hand we settled in and started the movie. I can’t say that I felt any fear watching it, even back then I could tell the shark was fake but the story was pretty interesting. Throughout the movie I was cheering on the shark wanting him to kill more and more people. Overall I enjoyed the movie back then for what it was and a few years later I found out it was based on a book.

The Book

Pretty bland. At least I can say that I read it. Didn’t care about the characters at all. Didn’t find it scary or suspenseful. In fact it was fairly boring. The little side plots didn’t help to make me like it either, they just seemed to slow things down. Like honestly I don’t care if someone is having business issues or an affair, I want to see a shark terrorizing people in the water and there was very minimal amount of that.

I don’t know if reading the book back when it was first released would have made any difference but reading it now I just felt it was lacking in everything that people claim make it such an amazing story. I am glad that I did take the time to read it to see how it compared to the movie, but really I feel that the book left very little impression on me. I think reading the synopsis pretty much summed up ninety-five percent of the books content. And what little was added on within the pages really didn’t help the story’s appeal.

The Movie

By today’s standards this movie is kind of terrible. But back when I first watched it I thought it was pretty good. Yes, I could tell the shark was fake, but there was lots of attacks on the beach and people, lots of blood and deaths and of course the theme song along really made the movie. I feel that even for it’s outdated special effects this movie really is a classic and I do enjoy watching it now and then. To me, though, the best part of the actual movie was near the end where the shark gets blown up. That was just great, even if I was sad to see the shark die the first time I watched it, because honestly I wanted it to get one more kill in before the credits rolled.

How They Compare To Each Other

Well there’s a decent amount of similarities between the book and the movie. There’s a problem shark, the beach is important to the small community so they don’t want to shut it down, but the shark doesn’t go away and even the expect has problems dealing with it. The movie though stands out as the better of the two, simply because the shark seems to be a much bigger problem than in the book. The shark doesn’t just pick off people who are alone in the water, he openly attacks the waters when there’s lots of people around which helps to spread the panic and fear over the shark and puts pressure on the experts and officials to solve the problem.

Overall these two are similar yet different stories. If anyone has watched the movie but not read the book I’d recommend they do so simply to see the origin of the movie, but know that it is likely not going to blow you away. It’s just a book about a shark and what must be done to rid the waters of it’s presence.

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