Jamie Benning, creator of the Filmumentary feature-length documentary fan edit, is at it again. He’s following up 4 of my top movies with another of my favorite movies of all time, Jaws. Although the sequels had a steady decline into less-than-stellar territory, the original remains what I consider to be a perfect movie. I asked Jamie about his history with Jaws this morning:
I was born in 1976, so I didn’t see Jaws on the big screen. It was however a staple of British TV and I feel like I’ve always been aware of it. Initially in the form of the poster, something I didn’t quite understand at a young age, but I knew I didn’t like the look of it.I finally saw the film aged nine in 1985 and it had a huge effect on me. It scared the life out of me. My parents weren’t keen on me watching it, so I did what most nine year olds would do, I saw it at a friends house.As a teenager and for the film’s 20th anniversary I purchased the VHS and fell in love with the film. I watched it endlessly for a few months, trying to demystify it and to try to make it less terrifying. My plan didn’t work!I am not strong swimmer and I am sure Jaws contributed to my lack of confidence in the water. In fact in Kawaii in 2005, something about 6 feet long rubbed past my leg. To this day I think it was a shark. I’ll never know as I couldn’t bring myself to turn around. But I can tell you that Jaws was in the forefront of my mind at that moment and the moments as I rush back to shore on my board.With each Filmumentary I like to do something different. The Star Wars trilogy is my first love, Indy my second. All four of those filmumentaries were a big challenge in their own way. I wanted to challenge myself again, so I decided to tackle Jaws, a film I knew well, but I didn’t know about the making of the film all that much. Thanks to one particularly kind individual, I am now immersed in Jaws material with fifteen DVDs to work from as well as some great books I purchased online. I’ve spent the last three months watching, logging, reading, annotating, highlighting and underlining.Jaws holds particular interest to me as it was at the very early stages of Spielberg’s career. I can’t imagine being twenty six years old and shooting a Hollywood studio movie! His arrogance and determination were clearly a driving force behind this movie. Getting behind the movie is what this is all about for me. I want to make a new way to enjoy these films for fans everywhere. My remit is like that of Lord Reith of the BBC in 1927 – educate, inform and entertain.
While Spielberg doesn’t do commentaries on his movies because he feels like the movie should speak for itself, it’s always interesting to hear his thoughts. And no one is better than Jamie at using interviews to make his own unique style of commentary, which you can see here in this recently released teaser of the first couple of minutes of Inside Jaws: A Filmumentary.