Looking at JAWS From a Modern Day Point of View
by Bret Dorman
One of the things we here at Cinema Punch are proud of is our contributions to Hollywood via our favorite segment on the podcast, Genre (s)Mash. Our ideas are always improvised, usually fun, and generally pretty marketable (after some generic watering down of uber violence and touchy subjects).
Our work has prompted one of the Big Wigs at Universal to email me, asking for my thoughts on re-booting ‘The Original Blockbuster’.
Back in the summer of 1975, JAWS was creating a national movie phenomenon. JAWS was a top notch film starring real, proven actors, and a prodigy behind the camera. Something as simple as a shark attacking an island and then being hunted seemed both literarily intellectual and down-right entertaining. Extrapolating JAWS to today… Summer Blockbusters are not just happy mistakes, but pre-planned years in advanced and carefully researched and marketed. You no longer need a good movie to make a smash hit, you just need lots of money to market something.
Hopefully this background will give some insight into this email I got:
Subject: ATTN Bret: You’re Gunna Need a Bigger Budget
Dear Bret Dorman,
We first would like to state that we are huge fans of your podcast and website. We have listened to your complaints about such movies as Larry Crowne, Cowboys & Aliens (we were pleased to hear your dog LOVED it!), The Change-Up, Dream House, The Thing, and Tower Heist and we agree with you completely.Thank you for your kind words on Bridesmaids and Fast Five. We agree Kristin Wiig is funny and The Rock is badass. Would you like to see them in a movie together? Let us know.
The year 2011 has been rough for Blockbusters. We saw the final Harry Potter movie and Part 1 of the final Twilight film, leaving a hole in the ‘Next Big Franchise’ to be filled. Pirates of the Caribbean, Thor, Transformers, and Captain America all did fine, but seeing as how much cost went into them and how much they are making back is kind of distressing us. Green Lantern and Cowboys & Aliens were duds. We can’t afford more duds, especially on our big tent pole movies. We really need some help.
We’ve all decided that reaching into The Vault (if Disney can have one so can we! We just don’t keep ours locked) and remaking some of the movies at our… disposal, would be good for profits. And what better movie to remake and choose for our next huge tent pole than the original?
We are currently planning for a Summer 2014 release and have some concerns before starting the script. Those issues are as follows:
-The opening scene takes place on a beach, with kids sitting around a fire smoking pot and drinking booze, while one strums on a guitar. This might have been ‘rebellious’ back in the 70s, but this is an average night for your average teen (maybe minus the beach part). We suggest a rave with ecstasy. Kids would respond well and look up to that.
-In the opening the girl sheds down to nothing. Whoa!!! A pretty lady naked is one thing, but its pointless if you can’t see her. Besides, we want a PG-13 rating. The more ticket buyers the merrier. If we can get a hot lady in a bikini we can show much much much more and really highlight her body. Bikinis that barely cover anything are still considered clothing and acceptable. Naked ladies are unacceptable. That’s just tasteless.– Sheriff Brody is just an average cop who is afraid of swimming? That doesn’t make ANY sense. He should be a SWAT officer with a long and valiant military track record. Also he should be a good swimmer so he and Jaws can have an underwater fight at the end. We respect Roy Scheider but feel someone like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson would be better suited for the role.
– The actress who plays his wife spends too much time clothed. Remember, if we can show a lady in a bikini, we should. Young males react strongly to that. We are currently trying to get Olivia Wilde as we still have her under contract.
– The first half of the movie we barely see the shark. Modern audiences would get frustrated with this. It doesn’t matter how good your movie is, if you call a movie JAWS there better be a shark. The last thing we need is some crazy lady suing us like those guys who made Drive. What were they thinking? They had a hit on their hands! All they had to do was have more Car Scenes! Mr. Gosling, if you want a re-do, let us know. Fast/Furious 6 is currently in Pre-Production. The title we were originally going to go with, Fast and Furious: Route 66, we are currently reserving for the actual 66th installment of the franchise.
Anyways, there needs to be more shark attacks. We realize the mechanical shark wasn’t working, so they reduced its screen time. This accident might have gone over well with critics and film students, but we have an obvious way to fix that. CGI! So there’s no reason we can’t see more shark. But, just because we see more shark doesn’t mean the attacks should be gorier. The shark attacks should be brutal (legs bitten off, people drowning while being dragged under water, children eaten on screen), people like violence, but they should remain blood free. That way we won’t traumatize anyone.
Also, the shark in the original is just a shark. That’s kind of boring. Is there anyway we can make this shark mutant, ancient, giant, other worldly, or robotic in any way?– Matt Hooper is a fine character, he knows a lot about sharks, but he is a bit too nerdy. We suggest that he go to a lot of nightclubs (perhaps that is where we first meet him) and always be fending off advances from bikini clad ladies. Richard Dreyfus was good at the time, but we want someone younger. Perhaps Taylor Kitsch? We’ve seen the footage of Battleship and he looks great! Plus he has boat-filming experience!
– Quint is supposed to be a mean old man. But there’s one problem with that. Since we are changing Brody and Hooper to tough guys and ladies men, we need some comedy relief! We suggest Christopher Walken. He can play a more bumbling goofy eccentric old sailor who is constantly giving the two well meaning but wrong advice. Also he shouldn’t die at the end. Perhaps meet a mermaid and open an underwater bait shop?
– We are all for action scenes, but would like to ‘lighten up the mood’ without loosing any visceral momentum. Perhaps there is a scene where Brody is watching his son play a rough ‘n’ tough rag tag group of older kids in a pick up game of lacrosse? Lacrosse is popular up in… what state is Amity Island in? Oh well. Brody can see his son getting ‘schooled’ and then steps in to show his son a few moves and his son scores the game winning goal. Pick up games of sports always make for great action scenes without actually doing anything. People love sports!– There is a scene where the crew trades battle scars and talks about the USS Indianapolis. They should talk about their scars, but the reasons should be really funny. Also they shouldn’t talk about war, that’s a touchy subject. Perhaps instead Walken gives a monologue about his old baby sitter. We can flashback to her in a bikini on a boat. That explains why he loves boats so much!
– In the end, Brody should kill the shark, and perhaps as him and Hooper swim off in the distance we see a group of fins chasing after them. After all, JAWS isn’t just a good idea for a remake, its a good idea for a franchise!
– There is a scene in which Brody plays a fun, touching game with his son at the dinner table. This scene can go.
All around we need more shark, more explosions, more guns/harpoons, and way more bikinis. We know you have a good eye for this stuff. It boggles our mind how JAWS was such the hit it was when it lacks most of the stuff we’ve mentioned. All we want to do is recapture that magic and make the best possible version of JAWS we can. Spielberg gave us a great launching pad, but its about time we really make the movie everyone wants to go see!
Thank you for your help and advice on this matter. Anything you have to offer is greatly appreciated, since you obviously care so much for films and know a lot about them. If you help us out we wouldn’t mind giving you one free pass to any one of our theme parks should you ever find yourself already in Orlando or Hollywood with some spare time.
The Universal Family
Subject: Re: You’re Gunna Need a Better Idea
I’m saddened to hear you are asking advice on how to write this upcoming remake when you should of asked a more important question… should we remake JAWS? Then my answer could have been much shorter:
PS If you need any help on Jurassic Park 4 though let me know!