The Shark Is Still Working (DVD)


I’d gladly watch this again over a Michael Moore doco any day – it’s one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. A top class production with bite. Bravo.

Narrated by Roy Scheider. Starring Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Roy Scheider, Peter Benchley, Joe Alves, Steven Awalt, Steve Alten, Kevin Smith, Bryan Singer, Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth, Eduardo Sanchez

This is how I know I enjoyed a documentary about a movie’s history: I want to rip the film from my DVD tower and pop it straight into my player as soon as the doco is finished. And if “The Shark is Still Working” didn’t run for near 3 hours – and if my baby daughter hadn’t kept me up all week – I most definitely would’ve revisited “Jaws”.

I definitely will though – watch it again – not only because it’s a bloody classic, but because Erik Hollander’s new documentary on Spielberg’s 70s blockbuster reminded me just how bloody classic, and groundbreaking, it was… is. For a documentary to reinvigorate your already established adoration for a film, well, that Hollywood back-story has most certainly done its job.

The documentary about the making of “Jaws” that appeared on the laserdisc and DVD was good, and you learnt a couple of new things, but “Shark” is like a bricks-and-mortar library to the earlier doco’s mobile library, if you will, encompassing hours of fascinating information, fun facts and trivia about the beloved – and my god is it beloved, you should see the fans in this! – movie.

Over two discs – one marked “The Impact” and the other, “The Legacy” – we learn how the film came together, how they built the shark, how silly they were for filming in a real ocean and how the movie became the first ever ‘event’ movie pathing the way for many over-marketed blockbusters in the years to come. We also hear from not only those involved in making the movie, but from filmmakers like Kevin Smith and Eli Roth who are proud to admit that it was “Jaws” that set them on their respective paths.
It doesn’t stop at the customary behind-the-scenes stuff though, nope, it goes even deeper : we learn all about sharks, we learn a little about the sequels (personally, I would’ve liked to have heard a little more about the ill-fated sequels, particularly, “Jaws 3D” which was originally supposed to be a spoof), we learn about how the film was marketed, we’re reminded of the copycat movies (like “Orca”) that came out on the back of “Jaws” and finally, we’re introduced to a major “Jaws” fan fest held in Martha’s Vineyard – renamed ‘Amity’ for the festival; the name of the town in the movie – where boatloads of fans from around the world rocked up to meet the cast and creators, see some props and essentially just mingle with other fans of the movie.

Though it primarily concentrates on the first film in the series only (and I understand why, it was probably the only good one) and it may have been nice to have heard the back story’s of the sequels, too, “The Shark is Still Working” is a full-to-the-brim archive of facts and fun. I’d gladly watch this again over a Michael Moore doco any day – it’s one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. A top class production with bite. Bravo.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris