You’re gonna need a bigger budget…

(Nicholas Dye, Staff Writer)

1975, the year that ruined it all. A new director named Steven Spielberg had landed the job of directing the film adaptation of the novel Jaws, the story of a killer shark terrorizing the sleepy vacation town of Amity Island. As history would write it, Jaws packed theaters and cleared out beaches worldwide as the very first summer blockbuster and the film responsible for ruining beach trips FOREVER. With an ominous two-note lead in, Jaws’ theme, brilliantly crafted by John Williams, would become the most recognizable soundtrack ever and be used by millions of older siblings to scare the shit out of their kid brothers/sisters every time they set foot in even a bathtub.

Yet, as iconic as that film is to american cinema, changes were made by Hollywood that altered the original story of Jaws. Some of these changes were subtle and some were quite significant. Granted, the screenplay was adapted and written by Peter Benchley but the execs at Universal ultimately cut a lot of the sub-plots. The finished product is something that is cinematic gold and really didn’t hurt the heart of the story in any way but, in this age of reboots, I would like to propose a remake of the fateful events of Amity Island, one that is much truer to the equally legendary novel. Since the novel is over 40 years old, I hope I don’t need to post a spoiler alert but in this day an age of everyone being upset and angry about something…SPOILER ALERT…

I firmly believe that if a remake of this film is to be made then it needs to be set in 1975. Although the novel was released in ’74, I think it would be a nice homage to the film as well as eliminating any Michael Bay-esque modern day technology bullshit. In the book, Mayor Vaughn of Amity isn’t under pressure by the economy to keep the island open but the mob who has several real estate investments on the island. Now, admittedly, this is minor and has no impact on the overall film and the guilt that overwhelms Vaughn after the attacks happen is compelling, so this could remain a cut from the final product. Martin Brody and Ellen Brody aren’t the picturesque couple they were in the original film. Ellen is a bit younger than Martin and actually comes from an aristocratic society. She also harbors resentment towards Martin for being stuck as the wife of a small town police chief. This actually plays out further into the novel when Ellen meets the dashing Hooper. Now, Richard Dreyfus, who was Hooper in the film, may be a lot of things but I don’t believe dashing would be one of them. Hooper, we learn, is also the ivy-league younger brother of a guy she once dated. Because he comes from the money and society that Ellen misses, Ellen and Hooper have a very intense affair one night that Martin ultimately finds out about. Martin, then does what any sensible husband would, he chokes the living shit out of Hooper but lets him live. Just like the film, Hooper wants to bring his shark cage along and the grizzled captain of the Orca, Quint, puts up a fight…until he is given $100 extra bucks. I believe this should stay in the film just to get this amazing scene again…

The outcome is MUCH different though as the egotistical, wife fucking Hooper is eaten alive as the shark tears into the cage. Vengeance is sweet however it comes. Another key point is that the Orca leaves port and comes back several times and Quint with it. They do not remain out at sea. I think this would do well to illustrate the frustration in trying to track the shark as well as give the shark that sense of toying with our hunters. Captain Quint’s demise is not the grizzly affair that had people in theaters shitting themselves. His demise in the novel is much more in the vein of Ahab from Moby Dick. He makes several attacks on the shark with a harpoon and the shark, much like we have learned that great whites do, leaps from the water and crashes down on the stern of the Orca, mortally wounding the mighty fishing boat. In this instant, Quint plugs the shark with another harpoon and the shark sinks back into the dark waters with Quint in tow due to the harpoon rope becoming entangled around his foot. I would kill to see this played out cinematically because Quint doesn’t go out in a spew of blood and terrified screams but he goes down fighting the demon fish. The conclusion sees the Orca sinking fast and Martin Brody clinging to a flotation device. He begins paddling to the shore only to see the shark coming for him. As he lets out an involuntary cry before his ultimate demise, the attack never comes. He turns to find himself face-to-face with the shark. He stares into it’s black, lifeless eyes as the shark rolls over, finally succumbing to the harpoon wounds and sinking into the sea with Quint still being drug behind. How bad ass is that!!? Quint ultimately wins the fight!! Now I realize that is not as iconic as “Smile you sonovabitch!” as Brody fires his M1 Garand, hits the oxygen tank and blows the shark to pieces, but it does, even to the end, leave Brody feeling helpless against this monster.

Sadly, I doubt we will see a remake anytime soon but I can hope. The only thing I insist stay in the film is Quint’s retelling of the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis. Robert Shaw, the actor who played Quint, heard this tale from Craig Kingsbury, the real-life inspiration for Quint and the man who played Ben Gardener in the film. Shaw, being an accomplished stage actor, put his own spin on it and it was perfect. Whoever would fill his shoes would have his work cut out for him but this has to be in the film:

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