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Jaws vs. Jurassic Park


John
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Jaws vs. Jurassic Park  

28 members have voted

  1. 1. Which movie do you prefer?

  2. 2. Which score do you prefer?



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Which Spielberg monster movie (and respective score) do you prefer; Jaws or Jurassic Park?

 

On a technical level, Jurassic Park handily beats the somewhat dated effects in Jaws, but so great is the power of the storytelling in Jaws that I personally find the later to be much more compelling. The suspense is crafted brilliantly. Every line of dialogue is pure gold. The characters are likable and well-written. The film has easily one of the greatest monologues in cinema history (Quint's story of the U.S.S Indianapolis). It succeeds not only as an entertaining popcorn flick, but also as a rich human drama and a chilling mortality tale. There's no doubt in my mind that Jaws is the superior film, by far.

 

Williams' score for Jurassic Park is truly great and memorable, but Jaws just barely edges it out, in my opinion.

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JP in both categories. It is, after all, the greatest film and score of all time! But damn, JAWS is a masterful film and score. I'd say that while JP goes more for the visceral, experience-oriented level, JAWS is superior as a cerebral, storytelling device.

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3 minutes ago, Thor said:

JP in both categories. It is, after all, the greatest film and score of all time! But damn, JAWS is a masterful film and score. I'd say that while JP goes more for the visceral, experience-oriented level, JAWS is superior as a cerebral, storytelling device.

I agree with Thor 90%.

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Having no nostalgic childhood attachments to either, I can honestly say I enjoy Jaws more. Jurassic Park has some great action sequences and jawdropping (perhaps even landmark) tension scenes, but Jaws, like you said, has so much more likeable characters that you truly fear for them and want them to succeed, while in JP, you can point at half the cast at the second they're introduced and say "You're gonna get eaten, and I'm going to enjoy every millisecond of it!".

 

As for scores: JP is one of the greats with many marvelous highlights, some of my favourite cues of all time. I personally don't really like the main theme all that much (how much better and more magical does this buildup sound than its resolution? 6:14-6:55) 

 

but the Journey motif is wonderful, and the Carnivore motif gets so many fun variations.

 

However, since I first gave Jaws a chance last summer, I hold it as one of the legendaries. My main worry was that it would only be a one-trick pony with its one gimmick already being incredibly overexposed, but that couldn't have been much farther from the truth. It's a more coherent score than JP, and Father and Son, Montage, Blown to Bits, Man Against Beast, End Title* all help raise it to legendary status, even though the recording quality may not exactly be the best.

 

*Completely unrelated note: I love movies/scores where the narrative finishes during the credits, like Jaws, CE3K, and even Return of the King to an extent. With the first two, they're essential in a listening order, you couldn't stop with Blown to Bits or Contact, they're not written to be fulfilling in their ending. With Jaws, you need that calm reading of that motif to ease you back into the real world after an hour of high tensions and action, and with CE3K, the score shows its best and most complete readings of the Mountain and the Five-Note motifs, that's what they've been building towards for the whole movie. In Return of the King, similarly, I think the Valinor motif is building towards Into the West the whole time, the one in The Gray Havens doesn't have that strong finality to it (neither should it, it's the beginning of a new adventure). When you take for example E.T. in contrast, you technically could stop with The Departure, it wraps everything up nicely, and has an incredible finale. The Credits feels more like an afterthought, or rather a dessert after a hearty and filling meal, that is still delicious, but you'd be sated wthout it.

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I truly love both scores and films.  


The scores are both among JW's many masterpieces.  The films are both among Spielberg's best.

 

In many ways I "get" why Jaws is a better film than Jurassic Park, but I really have to go with my heart and say I prefer Jurassic Park if I have to pick.  Seeing JP at a young age (I was 13 when we saw it the summer it came out) had more of an impact on me, and my life as a film score fan, than Jaws, which I didn't REALLY get into until the past few years (Seeing the movie as an adult made me realize how great it is, as a kid I liked it but never loved it.  The score I never really LOVED until the Intrada release).

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Its a tough choice between both scores, but I choose Jurassic Park because the main theme is, well, a theme, not a little ostinato. It just has more substance to hang on to.

 

As for the films, Jurassic Park is much more lighthearted, which to me makes it the lesser of the two films.

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Jaws, the humans and shark scenes are equally engrossing.

Jurassic Park, the dinosaur scenes are why we're here, but the humans are fun and colorful enough to warrant our stay.

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