Film fans, hold on to something. What’s to follow is liable to make you want to throw something. Ready? Okay, good.
Richard Dreyfuss, the legendary actor known for roles in “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “What About Bob?” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” was recently asked about one of his most famous roles in the Steven Spielberg classic “Jaws.” In an interview with Deadline, the actor was asked what his thoughts might be if “Jaws” was re-released today, as a special edition with brand new special effects. And what he said will chill you to the bone.
“I think they should do it, it would be huge and it would open up the film to younger people,” Dreyfuss said. “Is that blasphemy? No, no, I don’t think so. The technology now could make the shark look as good as the rest of the movie.”
Respectively, Mr. Dreyfuss, that is, most definitely, blasphemy.
When film fans and critics talk about thrillers and horror films that give away too much or show the creature too quickly, “Jaws” is always referenced. The shark movie defined what a summer blockbuster is, and did so by keeping the effects simple (out of necessity due to budget and failed effects). For most of the film, the audience is left to picture what the shark might look like, and that created a level of fear that made it so audiences back in the ‘70s were scared to go swimming.
So, no, a special edition with CGI effects is not a good idea and would almost certainly not “make the shark look as good as the rest of the movie.”
But Dreyfuss wasn’t done. He continued, “There are people who say ‘Jaws’ is a perfect film otherwise and it is amazing what Steven accomplished with the challenges he had. But you’re dead-right, I think you’re on to something. They should put the money into CGI [to replace] that beast and make it come alive.”
No, no, no. People don’t say that “Jaws” is a perfect film “otherwise.” People say “Jaws” is a perfect film, period.
We’ve seen directors (including Spielberg himself with ‘E.T.’, which he subsequently regrets) go back to beloved films and ruin them with tinkering too much. Obviously, George Lucas and Ridley Scott come to mind. And younger people, more than seasoned, cynical adults (like myself), have a better grasp of imagination and probably think “Jaws” is just as scary today as it was 40 years ago.
Sorry, Richard Dreyfuss, you’re an incredible actor, but please don’t touch “Jaws.”