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Headscratchers / Jaws

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  • Why is it that pretty much everyone, from Spielberg to film critics to the average person, refers to the "You're gonna need a bigger boat" scene as the first time we get a good look at the shark? It's plainly visible in the estuary attack scene.
    • In the estuary attack we see Bruce twice, and both times we don't get that good of a look at him. First time he's seen underwater, his mouth agape, and the second time we see him literally for about two seconds as he drags the boat guy to his doom.

  • Why does nobody think of using dynamite? Once they've got the shark located, "depth charging" it would seem like a sensible way of dealing with the problem. Chief Brody, being a policeman, can probably lay hands on enough explosives to fight World War II so why not try "dynamite fishing" instead of relying on harpoons to kill a creature that's notoriously tough and tenacious of life?
    • Because of Quint. He's got a serious hatred of sharks, and isn't altogether stable. Hooper prefers his own scientific theories, Brody has no clue about fishing or boats. Even if they suggested depth charging the shark with dynamite it's Quint boat and Quint's rules, and he wants to kill it in person.
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    • Quint also wants to be able to prove he killed it by bringing in its carcass. He's after the $3000 bounty from the dead boy's mother, not just the payoff from the town. Killing the shark with dynamite would either destroy the carcass or cause it to sink to the bottom.
    • It seems you're overestimating the ability of the police chief of a tiny Massachusetts town in the 70's to acquire explosives, or to know how to safely use them.

  • The "Tiger shark/A whaaaaaaat?" exchange is one of the memorable funny scenes, but it's not very believable that experienced fishermen would never have heard of a tiger shark, as they do occur on the east coast of the USA (although generally further south). Especially since a little earlier you can hear them suggest that it might be a mako - anyone who's heard of a mako shark would have heard of a tiger shark. Although they *do* pronounce it incorrectly, as "ma-KO" (it should be "MAY-ko").
    • The fisherman in question is obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed.
      • And the earlier scene of the chaos of the shark hunt (and Ben Gardener’s disparaging remarks on the participants) demonstrates that these were NOT experienced fishermen, just a bunch of yahoos out to score $3000.

  • Matt Hooper has a super-sophisticated James Bond-ian fish-hunting boat that has underwater cameras fore and aft, underwater lights, a radar scanner, sonar, and other gadgets we can only guess at. So of course, they leave that behind and take Quint's rust bucket out to hunt a shark that they *know* has severely damaged another fishing boat.
    • Because Quint is an experienced hunter of sharks. Just look at how Hooper smiles in excitement upon entering his house by the docks; not out of admiration per se, but as seeing another person so well acquainted with sharks, albeit in an entirely different way. They need Quint's expertise, and they know there's no way this crusty old sailor is gonna set foot in some snot-nosed college kid's fancy-ass modern boat.
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    • Also, Hooper's boat is completely unsuited to the task. Hooper's yacht is set up for finding and observing. It lacks fishing gear, lift rigging, and all other "industrial" tools of the trade and, despite its more modern build, may have less power than Quint's rustbucket Orca. End of the day, the boat best equipped for the job needs to do it, and since that job was killing the shark and not observing it, that pointed to Orca.

  • Why did Mayor Vaughn insist that people get in the water after the tiger shark had been killed? They had come to the island. They were on the beach. They were spending their money. Why did they have to get wet, too?
    • Because he honestly assumed the right shark had been killed, and because swimming is an essential part of the experience visiting a resort town like Amity. Not going swimming there would be like visiting Las Vegas, and not setting foot in a single casino.
    • He wanted the townsfolk to demonstrate that the water is safe now, so word-of-mouth and images of people swimming again will lure more visitors. They may not have had Facebook selfies back then but they certainly had newspapers and TV news reports; having reporters who come to document the shark's (apparent) demise capture views of swimming tourists might help bring in vacationers again.

  • Is there any reason (besides Rule of Cool) they didn't just shoot the shark in the head rather than shooting the tank in it's mouth? Seems its head would be a lot easier since it's a much bigger target.
    • The shark's head is large yes but its brain is not, and with limited ammunition of dubious penetration in water against such a massive shark then blowing it up is actually probably the best choice.

  • The scene after Hooper is shocked into dropping the huge shark tooth by the severed head in the hull of the boat consists of him and Brody confronting the mayor and demanding the beaches be closed. The mayor takes the absence of the tooth as the lack of evidence he needs to ignore their warnings - the two of them seem to forget they actually have stronger evidence in the form of the mutilated human remains aboard the wrecked boat! The reason for this gaping error is that the shot of the severed head was added by Spielberg at the last minute to wring "one more scream" out of the audience, but no script alterations were made to accommodate it.
    • There is a misunderstanding here - the scene was *always* part of the film. Spielberg has said (and it's backed up by Carl Gottlieb in The Jaws Log) that following test screenings he remounted *just* the single shot of the head appearing, because he decided that the timing of the reveal of the head in the original shot wasn't sudden and scary enough and wasn't getting the extreme reaction he wanted from the test audiences. It wasn't a jump scare and he wanted to make it one (hence the "one more scream" quote). Literally just that one shot of the head appearing was all that was refilmed; all the other footage from that sequence is from principal photography. And Brody *does* refer to Ben Gardner's body when talking to the mayor - "You should have seen him!"

    • The first shark victim wasn't enough evidence why should a busted up boat and a busted up body inside be proof of a shark to the mayor?
    • The mayor still hoped the (dead) tiger shark was responsible.
    • If you notice, there are worms in Gardner's eye socket, meaning he had been dead for awhile, even longer than Christie. Combine this with the fact that the Mayor had declared the shark dead, and that Hooper was saying a shark of an entirely different species was responsible for their deaths, and he would have needed the tooth.
      • Those aren't worms, they are tendrils that attached the eye to it's socket.
    • Gardner couldn't have been dead longer than Christine: we see him during the massive shark hunt. He's the one who rambles: "Wait'll we get them silly bastards down in that rock pile. There'll be some fun. They'll wish their fathers had never met their mothers when they start takin' their bottoms out and slammin' into them rocks, boy."

  • Quint was in the US Navy in World War II, but he wears a US Army M-1951 field jacket (introduced during the Korean War) with "Quint" nametag throughout Jaws. Did many World War II veterans remain in the military but switch services after the war? Sure, he could have obtained it as military surplus before the events of the movie and added the nametag himself, but the clear implication is that the jacket was issued to him.
    • It’s possible he signed up for the Army when the Korean War started because he probably wasn’t too fond of the US Navy at that point. Particularly since they didn’t notice the Indianapolis was overdue, and then to add insult to injury they court martialed the beloved Captain of the ship in a rather unjust fashion. Even the Japanese captain that sunk them testified there was nothing the captain could have done that would have prevented the sinking.

  • What was wrong with that shark? The shark in the movie displayed an unusual amount of tenacity and aggressiveness, which, unless I'm wrong, is not normal shark behavior. So is there any plausible explanation as to why the shark acted the way it did?
    • There are several ways to look at it. The most common theory is that the shark is a rogue animal and is more aggressive than normal since sharks don't actually attack people that often. Rogue animals are in fact a real world phenomenon, and there was even a rogue shark in history that is believed to have caused the 1916 Shark Attacks. While the shark in this film is far more aggressive than usual, even for most rogue animals, there is some credence to this behavior.
    • Another interpretation is that the shark is possessed by the Satan, and that He is using the shark to attack mankind. This would explain the super-shark feats that are being accomplished which the heroes can't account for or explain. The trailer also explicitly implies such.
    It's as if God created the Devil, and gave him jaws.

  • Why didn't Brody and Hooper decide to use both the Orca and Hooper’s boat to hunt the Shark? neither of them wanted the reward so that wasn’t why they went out to sea. They would have been better equipped to go after the shark by having the two vessels searching, so why limit themselves to one boat where they would be stuck with quint?

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