Once upon a time there was a Towne of Tinsel, a Wood of Holly if you will. And much like the rest of America, its denizens were hit hard by the recession, none more so than Universal Studios who, declaring themselves near bankrupt of viable franchises in a world of caped crusaders and men of steel, was instead relegated to churning out entries in the Fast and Furious franchise with the vigor of a young Paul Walker.
Only Universal is a bunch of dumbasses because they’re sitting on the most viable franchise of all: a cinematic castle of undeniable grandeur and panache with the hutzpah and red, white and blue blood of an All-American cowboy.
Universal owns the rights to Jaws.
Jaws is the original blockbuster. Jaws put Steven Spielberg on the map. Jaws is about a shark.
Sure the reboot path induces eye rolls here and there, but for every one hundred Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights there’s a Batman Begins. Aren’t those odds worth a roll of the dice?
Steven Spielberg is a cinematic institution and there would undoubtedly be any number of modern auteurs ready to adapt his first masterwork with the care of a lifelong fan. J.J. Abrams could blind an octo-limbed, reptile-primate shark to death with lens flare. David O. Russell could pit an impoverished, down on his luck Mark Wahlberg against a colossal shark in Boston harbor. David Fincher’s Jaws could miserably rape and murder the innocent against beautifully shot backdrops of the exotically mundane.
The options are limitless!
A rogue man-eating Great White shark doesn’t have to be a senseless killing machine anymore. Villains have hearts now too. Maybe Jaws only eats rich white people after escaping an illegitimate Panamanian aquarium funded by corporate hacks as a front for overseas money laundering and the only man that can stop him is a young African American biology teacher who was brought up by an illiterate fisherman after the mysterious ocean-related death of his parents, all set against the backdrop of a racially divided Southern ghetto. Or maybe Jaws is the mother or brother or son or something of another dead Jaws whose fins were cut off by Japanese fishermen and now Jaws is seeking revenge by biting off people limbs like a boss. Or maybe global warming! Something about global warming or climate change or inconvenient truths has to have something to do with sharks somehow. Maybe Jaws decimates a bunch of noobs and there are guts and entrails and bodies all over the place and then some Native America fellah says something about the environment and then cut to black.
When the original Jaws was made in 1975 the animatronic shark was the pinnacle of movie monster majesty, but since then advances in movie making have made it possible to truly bring a living, breathing monstrosity of a shark to life like never before.
A reboot could make use of modern animatronics. Twenty years after Jaws Spielberg brought dinosaurs to life with the animatronic T-Rex in Jurassic Park. And now its twenty years from that!
Of course CGI is the most likely option in modern film, and what a masterpiece a CGI Jaws could be. If James Cameron can make a bunch of made up cat douche bags and their made up hair sex pets look like living breathing things with the magic of computer imaging, just image what computer imaging could make an actually existent living breathing thing look like! And who better to really sell the complex emotional nuance of a Jaws than one Andrew Clement Serkis?
Andy Serkis turned a creepy elf monster, a giant gorilla monster and a regular gorilla monster into believable, sympathetic characters. One can only imagine what such an artist would be capable of if he was put into his little spandex tennis ball suit, had his legs taped together and got thrown in a pull full of dead fish.
Hollywood gave the shark movie a shot in 1999 with Deep Blue Sea. And it was entirely, undeniably successful. Now, with Universal’s apparent dry well of reliable franchise titles and the movie-going public’s lust for murderer sharks at a nearly 15-year high, there is literally no excuse for Universal not to get the ball rolling on a Jaws franchise. You can only be so fast and so furious for so long and sooner or later rebooting one of their old franchises is going to be Universal’s only option. They can either get with it early or wait until they have no other choice.
Or come up with an original godamn idea.