1941 (1979)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale (Screenplay) Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, John Milius (Story)

Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson

 

Plot: Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.


Tagline – As They Roared Into Battle, Only One Thing Was Missing…The Enemy!

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simply Not Good Enough

 

Story: 1941 starts in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour, The Japanese are searching for Hollywood for their latest attack, while the army are planning to create a defence on the Californian coastline, Sgt Frank Tree (Aykroyd) leads his men in preparations while pilot Captain Wild Bill Kelso (Belushi) travels the country to support his troops.

The preparations bring us comical happenings which lead to what is going on between the Americans and the impending Japanese.

 

Thoughts on 1941

 

Characters – We have so many characters in this film it is hard to pick out the main ones, we will though, Sgt Frank Tree tries to keep peace between his soldiers and not letting them fight with the locals. Ward Douglas is the man that sees it has an honour to host the army for prime location for defence. Captain Wild Bill Kelso is a pilot that enjoys a drink, he heads across country to join the battle. Where we have too many characters it is hard to see which one we are meant to be follow the most.

PerformancesThe performances are affected by the mass cast because no one gets to show their best skills, we have the comical actors that want to joke, only for them to miss, then the serious actors not hitting their moments either.

StoryThe story follows the Americans as they plan for a potential next attack on America from the Japanese in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbour attack. The problem I see with this story, it showing us how we make light of a devastating moment in history with the Pearl Harbour attack and shows how America did panic but didn’t seem to take the events serious, well that is what the film gives us.

Action/Comedy/WarThe action plays into the comedy which gets basic laughs but most of the laughs seem to have dated badly and even just give us toilet humour, all with the backdrop of World War II.

SettingsThe film puts us in LA for the events of the film which shows how Hollywoodland would react to the impending war.


Scene of the Movie –
Plane sex.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the biggest misses of Spielberg’s career, it has too many characters and doesn’t manage to balance out the comedy and action well enough.

 

Overall: Disappointing throughout.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Director: Joseph Sargent

Writer: Michael De Guzman (Screenplay)

Starring: Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles, Karen Young, Michael Caine

 

Plot: Chief Brody’s widow believes that her family is deliberately being targeted by another shark in search of revenge.


Tagline – On Friday June 17, man’s deepest fear will rise again

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Bad

 

Story: Jaws 4 The Revenge starts as we head back to Amity Bay, as Sean (Anderson) now works on the police department with Ellen (Gary) carrying on her life after Chief’s death (off camera), when Sean is killed in a shark attack, Michael (Gust) returns to offer as much comfort as he can.

Michael takes his mother of Barbados for a change of scenery with his family wife Carla (Young) and daughter Thea (Barsi), with an island full of characters including pilot Hoagie (Caine) and local Jake (Van Peebles), when a great white appears in research area, Ellen believe the shark is following and hunting down the family.

 

Thoughts on Jaws 4 The Revenge

 

Characters – Ellen Brody has lost her husband and now she has lost her youngest son to a shark attack, she believes the shark is now tracking down the family in an act of revenge, wanting Michael to give up his job in the ocean. She also starts a relationship with pilot Hoagie that shows her a new look on life. Michael is the eldest son of Ellen, he works in the ocean and has his own family in Barbados, he uses the opportunity to study the shark which has never been located in the waters around Barbados. Hoagie is the pilot and gambler living on the island, that starts a relationship with Ellen.

PerformancesLorraine Gary isn’t the strongest in her role, she had been a weaker part of the previous films and making her the lead doesn’t work for the film. Lance Guest is a forgettable with his performance because we don’t see anything fresh. Michael Caine enjoyed his payday here.

StoryThe story plays out like the shark is now following the family and hunting them down in an act of revenge, the family move to Barbados to escape, but it follow them. This is a low key story, that turns funny for the most part of the movie, it has the typical peril moments but never becomes the film you expect it to be.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure takes us to a new setting, which is fine, but the horror comes from sitting through the film.

SettingsThe Barbados settings was popular for Michael Caine, it does just end up being more water related location which is all you need.

Special EffectsThe effects are terrible and we even see the failure to remove the use of props for the shark.


Scene of the Movie –
Caine the pilot introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rest.

Final ThoughtsThis was a pointless sequel in an era where any movie that made money should only be made cheap so they can be funny bad, rather than big budget disaster.

 

Overall: Bad is being nice.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jaws 2 (1978)

Director: Jeannot Szwarc

Writer: Carl Gottlieb, Howard Sackler (Screenplay)

Starring: Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Joseph Mascolo, Jeffrey Kramer

 

Plot: Police chief Brody must protect the citizens of Amity after a second monstrous shark begins terrorizing the waters.


Tagline – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Tension

 

Story: Jaws 2 starts with Brody (Scheider) having to go back to the basic problems in the town again, noise complaints being the hardest part of his day, or the wife Ellen (Gary) who is happy their eldest son still doesn’t have a job.

When a string of unusual shark attack along the coastline start happening again, Brody must once again go against the orders of Mayor Vaughn (Hamilton) to stop people getting killed, but this becomes more difficult when his own son goes against his request and takes to the ocean in his boat.

 

Thoughts on Jaws 2

 

Characters – Brody is now open to going out to sea in search for any sharks, when things start to look clear again, he finds himself questioning attacks in the area, which leads him getting into trouble and losing his job, this time he must fight the shark alone, but to save teenagers, which include his own children stranded in the ocean. Ellen is the wife of Brody, she works for the town which only adds to the confliction between the two when Brody starts panicking too early. Mayor Vaughn keeps his same stance through everything and that is about his character. We have a lot of annoying teenagers breaking the rules and boating.

PerformancesRoy Scheider is the highlight of the performances here, he carries every scene he is in and you generally switch off when he isn’t on camera. The rest of the performances are average while most of the teenager characters and performances just annoy you.

StoryThe story does feel like more of the same, all is calm now, but Brody won’t rest and when the shark returns he must rescue stranded teenagers which include his own children. This story does seem to have increased peril but does have decreased tension level because you don’t find yourself caring about the teenagers in peril and lose the colourful characters we had in the first film.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure does side of things doesn’t connect enough, while the horror could be more intense.

SettingsWe are out at sea for longer point of the film, but it doesn’t help the film because it is just calm, attack, panic, calm, attack, panic calm on repeat.

Special EffectsThe effects are good for the time, but seeing the shark more takes away from the tension of the first film.


Scene of the Movie –
Brody versus the shark

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kids are annoying and stupid and I hate them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weaker sequel to much loved first film, it is carried by Roy Scheider while the rest of the cast struggle, but the final battle with the shark is a lot of fun.

 

Overall: Weaker sequel, but maybe not the worst.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jaws (1975)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb (Screenplay) Peter Benchley (Novel)

Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton

 

Plot: A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort.


Tagline – See it before you go swimming.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Suspenseful Classic

 

Story: Jaws starts as when a college student goes missing, Chief Brody (Scheider) believes it to be a shark attack and wants to close the beaches, but the Mayor (Hamilton) refuses to allow it, when the shark takes another victim, the town becomes a panic after a reward is put forward.

Quint (Shaw) offers to rid the town of the shark, but for a price, but random hunters from around America turn up to try and capture the shark. Marr Hooper (Dreyfuss) arrives in town to help with the higher level of knowledge even understand the species of shark behind it.

With July 4th around the corner Chief Brody must battle the mayor on whether to keep the beaches open until the latest appearance leaves Brody, Quint and Matt needing to hunt down the great white.

 

Thoughts on Jaws

 

Characters – Chief Brody is the police on the island, he is afraid of the water, he does want to do the right thing and close the beaches, but doesn’t get the support from the mayor, he must work on his fears to hunt down the shark. Quint is an expert hunter, he offers to kill the shark for a higher target, an outsider in society, a drunk, blunt with anyone he doesn’t like, which is most people. Matt Hooper is the expert that comes down to identify which shark species could be feeding off the shores, he knows his sharks and the danger, habits they possess.

PerformancesRoy Scheider is great in the leading role because he needs to be the fear between the three men, while also being the authority. Robert Shaw as the outsider works well, he makes us believe he is an outsider with each action. Richard Dreyfuss is great too which does complete the chemistry the three lead men need for the second half of the film.

StoryThe story follows a tourist island which finds itself being targeted by a shark, wanting to treat it as the new feeding ground. We follow the three different characters, from different fields that must work together to rid the waters of the shark before the tourist industry is ruined for the residents. This is a simple story to follow which is good because that is what it needs to be, it bottles down to needing to deal with a problem the quickest way possible.

AdventureThe adventure side of the film shows the three needing to work together to take on the shark, roaming the waters.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we have the land island surrounded by water which because the hunting ground of the shark, this could be any water related resort.

Special EffectsThis is where Spielberg became an icon, he knows how to handle the need for the use of effects, which is used only when required.


Scene of the Movie –
Bigger boat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mayor power.

Final ThoughtsThis is always going to go own as one of thee greatest movies of all time, still feeling timeless which is what we like in our movies, the simple story works and the use of music adds to the tension throughout the film.

 

Overall: Wonderful thriller.

Rating